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All You Need to Know About Ontario Building Permits

by JYC


In Canada, before doing any renovations, you will need to receive a Building Permit following the Building Code outlined by the government, which can be a very time-consuming process. Choosing a professional, reliable commercial design and renovation team before starting the process can reduce the complexity of the entire process and give the business a great start.

A building permit is a document issued by the agency responsible for enforcing Ontario’s Building Code in your area. A building permit is required when you want to construct, renovate, demolish or change the use of a building.

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Why Do You Need a Building Permit?

Building permits allow your municipality to protect the interests of individuals and the community as a whole. By reviewing and approving building permit applications prior to construction, the municipal government can ensure that buildings comply with the following:

  • Building Codes, which set standards for the design and construction of buildings in order to meet the goals of health, safety, fire protection, accessibility, and resource conservation.
  • Local zoning bylaws and other planning controls on buildings.
  • Other applicable legislation, including approvals from the Conservation Authority and certain requirements under the Environmental Protection Act.

When Do I Need to Obtain a Building Permit?

  1. Construct any new building over 10 square meters in size, or place another building on your property, such as a mobile home.
  2. Renovate, repair or add additional units to a building.
  3. Change the use of a building.
  4. Excavate or construct the foundation base.
  5. Construct a seasonal building.
  6. Perform work related to the installation, alteration, expansion or repair of the on-site sewage disposal system.

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Three Steps to Apply for a Building Permit

  1. You can consult with the appropriate city department personnel prior to submitting your application. They can provide you with more details on what information, drawings and plans need to be included in your application and whether you need any additional permits or approvals.
  2. Make sure that the drawings, plans and other documents are complete when submitting the application. There is also a chance that you will need to pay a fee.
  3. Submit the application on the website of the municipal government or Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in your municipality where you are applying. Please note that building permit applications are submitted to the Municipality, not to the provincial government.

Application Review Process

After submitting your application, your municipality’s staff will confirm that the proposed work complies with the Building Code and other applicable laws set out in the Building Code, such as local zoning bylaws. They may send your application to other local/municipal officials for additional comment.

Simple applications for alterations or additions can be processed fairly quickly, but more complex proposals may take longer. The Building Code requires that municipalities review complete permit applications within a certain time frame if the application meets the criteria set out in the Code.

For example, the time frame for a housing permit application is 10 days. For more complex buildings, such as hospitals, the time frame is 30 days. Within this timeframe, the municipality must either issue the permit or reject the permit and state the reasons for the denial.
In order to obtain a permit, the proposed building must comply with the Building Code and the applicable laws set out in the Code. If you require a zoning change or minor adjustment to the zoning bylaw (municipal zoning is considered applicable law), or if the proposed building does not comply with the Building Code, a permit will not be issued until the zoning change or minor adjustment is obtained, or the proposed building complies with the Building Code.

If your property falls under the Site Plan Control Bylaw, you may not be able to obtain a building permit until plans and drawings are approved by your municipality. For more information on zoning, minor variances and site plan control, you can read Zoning Bylaw No. 3.

Here’s What You Should Do If Your Application Got Rejected!

  1. If the government rejects your application for a building permit, you will be informed of the reasons. If you are unable to resolve the issues with the municipality, you may choose to appeal their decision.
  2. If the issue relates to technical requirements set out in the Building Code, you can appeal to the Building Code Board. The Building Code Council is an independent adjudication tribunal of the provincial government whose mandate is to hear disputes related to compliance with the technical requirements of the Code.
  3. If the issue involves compliance with other applicable laws, such as the interpretation of a zoning bylaw, you can appeal to a judge in the Superior Court, but it is advisable to talk to a lawyer first.

For new homeowners and anyone who is doing renovations for the first time, the process of applying for a building permit can be very frustrating and stressful. This is why we are here to help.

At JY Construction, we’re committed to create spaces that are functional, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing while meeting the specific needs of the client. We will use our in-depth knowledge and past experiences to best serve you in creating personalized plan for your home.

Please feel free to reach out to us through our website or give us a call, we are more than happy to answer any questions you have and set up a consultation.

  • # Building Permit
  • # Interior Design
  • # Building Permit Application
  • # JY Construction
  • # Toronto Construction
  • # the Building Code

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