What is a Building Permit?

A Building Permit is formal permission from a certified personnel in your Municipality. The Building Permit allows you to build, add on and/ or renovate an existing building. The Building Permit has to include a set of approved plans which will be reviewed by the Chief Building Official.

What Projects Require a Building Permit?

  • You must obtain  a building permit before you do any of the following:
    • Construct a new building
    • Renovate, repair or add to a building
    • Demolish or remove all (or a portion) of a building
    • Change a building's use
    • Install, change or remove partitions and load-bearing walls
    • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
    • Build a garage, balcony or desk, or enclose an existing deck
    • Build a utility shed over 108 sq. ft (10 sq. m)
    • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
    • Install or modify and life safety or fire suppression system such as fire alarms, sprinkler or standpipe or fixed extinguishing systems
    • Install or modify plumbing, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and wood stoves
    • Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards with plumbing
    • Reconstruct a chimney
    • Build a deck which is over two feet (0.61 meters) in height above ground level and that is not attached to a building
    • Building a deck, porch or balcony which is attached to a house
    • Erect signage
    • To finish a basement or convert a room into a bedroom

What Projects Do Not Require a Building Permit?

You  do not need a building permit to do any of the following:

  • Replace existing, same-size doors and windows, subject to distance from property lines
  • Install siding on a small residential building, subject to distance from property lines
  • Build a building under 108 sq. ft, but must conform to zoning setbacks
  • Re-shingle a roof, provided there is no structural work being done
  • Install eaves troughs, provided that drainage is contained to your own property
  • Damp-proof basements
  • Painting or decorating, including interior finishes, but excluding insulation
  • Reinstall/replace kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Erect a fence (except swimming pools/hot tubs)
  • Install an air filled swimming pool (that will be removed after the summer)

Why is a Building Permit required?

A Building Permit is required to ensure that the constructing taking place complies with the Ontario Building Code, National Farm Building Code, and the Municipalities Zoning By-law. These codes have to be followed to meet the minimum distance set-backs and the construction standards. This will ensure the health and safety of those living, working or constructing on site.

Working Without a Building Permit

It is an unlawful violation under the Building Code Act to carry out work for which a Building Permit is required without the necessary permits. The individual can be found guilty of an offence under the Ontario Building Code Act of 1992 (Building without a permit) and charged for the work that has already been done. The fine for an individual on the first offence can range from $50,000 to $100,000. A Corporation can be fined between $100,000 and $200,000 for a first offence. If you are caught without a building permit and plan on continuing to build, you will be required to obtain a permit from the office. The fees for the permit will double in this case.

Before you get started you should contact your Building Official to see if there are any building or zoning requirements you have to meet.

What is needed to obtain a Building Permit?

To obtain a building permit you need two sets of plans drawn to scale. The plans may have to be drawn by a certified designer. The plans must include a site plan (unless the construction is within an existing building). Elevation plans, Floor Plans and other plans that are necessary, plumbing heating...etc. If the site in which you are planning to construct on is in a regulated area, such as along a river or near a water course, the Conservation Authorities must be contacted. Lower Trent Conservation 1-613-394-3915

A Site Plan
The information found on a site plan can also be found on a survey. The Site Plan shows everything to scale. It will have the legal description, street name, north arrow, property lines with dimensions, setbacks from all property lines and structures, proposed construction, building estimations, right-of-ways and easements. If there is no site plan a surveyor can be contacted.

Floor Plans
The floor plans are a bird's eye view of all the floors in the building. The plans will be to scale showing the directions in which the building faces and what the measurements of the building. The plans will also show the materials that are to be used.

Cross Sections
A cross section presents a view of a building along an imaginary cut, showing the structural elements of the building and exposing what is behind the walls. The Cross section can compare an existing structure's materials to a new structure or even an addition's materials. It can show what material you need such as sheets of galvanized steel, beams...etc. The plan will have the room names, heights and dimensions of the doors and windows, size and type of materials and finishes.

Elevation Plans
The Elevation Plans will show all exterior walls of the building. It should show all the windows and doors and their measurements. Exterior finishes and materials, finished floor levels to grade. It should also have the height of the building with the slope/pitch of the roofs.

There is often more required than just the Building Permit. You need other permits for certain jobs that have to have plans of their own to meet certain specifications. Such as:

  • Plumbing Permit
  • Electrical Permit
  • Septic Permit or Water/Sewer Hook Up
  • Entrance Permit
  • Demolition Permit (If Applicable)

Once any other permits needed are approved you will receive your building permit and the go ahead to start building.

I Have My Building Permit, Now What?

Now that you have your Building Permit you can go ahead and start building. While

building there are steps you have to take and mandatory inspections that have to be

done. Not every project will need all of the inspections. The inspections are:

  • Footings (prior to concrete)
  • Foundation and Weepers (backfill)
  • Exterior Drains
  • Interior Drains
  • Plumbing Rough-in
  • HVAC Rough-in
  • Framing (prior to insulation)
  • Fireplace/Wood stove Rough-in
  • Insulation and Vapor Barrier
  • Plumbing Final
  • HVAC Final
  • Occupancy
  • Final

Final Occupancy Permit

An Occupancy permit confirms the new construction and/or renovation with the Ontario

Building Code. The permit is based on the inspections that are taken through the key

stages of the construction. This permit does not certify or warrant the work or the workmanship

of a builder, only general conformance with the Ontario Building Code.

How Do I Apply for a Building Permit?

Applications can be found at the Municipal Office located at 1 Toronto Street, Colborne or under Municipal Government, Applications, Licences & Permits.  It is a good idea to speak with the Building staff prior to your application. They can tell you what information, drawings and plans you will have to include, and whether you will need any other permits or approvals such as Lower Trent Conservation Authority, Ministry of Transportation, etc. Applications are reviewed for zoning and building compliance upon receipt of a complete submission.