Do I always need a building permit?

There are lots of things that can be done without a building permit.

Examples of when you don’t need a building permit:

  • If you are building a small garden shed on your property, and the area of the shed is 10 square meters or less, you won’t need a permit.
  • What about building a deck and if it is less than 600mm off the ground? In some municipal jurisdictions, you won’t need a building permit.
  • The windows are really old and you want to replace the windows, what then?  Again, no building permit is required as this is considered to be building maintenance.  Same thing as replacing a door.
  • No permit is required for re-roofing with shingles or painting, or for new floor finishes.
  • Replacing the siding on a house would normally not require a permit unless the material used was heavy enough to require additional support.  For example, replacing vinyl siding with brick veneer would require a building permit.  In some cases, the brick, or stone veneer is very thin and requires no additional support.  No building permit is required.

Examples of  when a permit may be required:

  • Any change to plumbing where a fixture is being added or relocated would require a permit.
  • The addition of a fuel-burning appliance such as a wood stove or built-in space heater or fireplace would require a permit.
  • Any change to a building where walls are being removed or relocated would require a permit.
  • The addition of a new window, door, or a change in size for either of these would require a building permit.
  • Any building or structure that is greater than 10 square metres, including a building that has no walls but has a roof, would require a permit.
  • A new deck that is 24″ or greater height from the ground, or is attached to the house would require a building permit.
  • A new fence may require a building permit if the fence is required because of a bylaw.

Here is when you do need a building permit

  • Building a home
  • Demolish a building (garage, house, shed larger than 10 square metres)
  • Building a deck that is attached to a home
  • A deck that is 24 inches or taller
  • Any change to a room size
  • Moving or adding a plumbing fixture
  • Any structural change to a building (homes, garages or sheds)
  • Adding a new window or door

Additional information from the Ontario Building Code, which governs all municipalities in the Province of Ontario:

8.(1) No person shall construct or demolish a building or cause a building to be constructed or demolished unless a permit has been issued therefore by the chief building official. 1992, c. 23, s. 8(1); 1997, c. 30, Sched. B, s. 7(1).

This includes renovations that require a change to a building that is not considered maintenance.  It should be noted that complete drawings must be included in the application for a building permit, and once the permit has been approved and issued, the construction must be in accordance to the approved drawings.  No changes are permitted without permission of the Chief Building Official (the head of the building department of each municipality.)

8.(13) No person shall construct or demolish a building or cause a building to be constructed or demolished except in accordance with the plans, specifications, documents and any other information on the basis of which a permit was issued or any changes to them authorized by the chief building official. 1992, c. 23, s. 8(13).

So at the end of the day, if you need a building permit, call 905 409 8487 for help with your project.  Measurite can provide a smooth path to assist in getting the permit with the right construction documentation, and permit application.