Building Department

Building By-law 2022-17: To provide for the Administration and Enforcement of the Ontario Building Code Act Within the Township of Cramahe

Prior to starting your project, we strongly encourage you to discuss all of the requirements with building department staff so that we can assist you with the process you will need to complete in order to obtain a building permit. Once you have obtained this information you will be in a better position to apply for a building permit. Building permits allow you to legally build, add to or renovate a building.

All structures greater than 108 sq. ft require a building permit as described in Section 8(1) of the Building Code Act. Obtaining a building permit ensures that the construction meets all the requirements of the township by-laws including the zoning by-law and meeting the requirements of the Ontario Building Code

*** Some exceptions may apply, please contact the building department for further information ***

Building without a permit can lead to costly delays and fines. If your work is near a water source or wetland, you may need approval from a conservation authority.

Prior to building permit issuance, it must be shown that you are in compliance with any other agencies that may have jurisdiction with respect to the proposal.

Planning Approvals

Compliance with applicable law is part of the building permit review process and compliance with the Zoning By-law must be met as well as other associated by-laws.  It is very important for you or your designer to determine the zone you are located in so that you can  obtain the pertinent information such as the permitted uses and the zoning regulations.

Applying for a Building Permit

To obtain a building permit, visit our Applications, Licences and Permits page to download your permit application package. A Septic Permit Application may also be required if you're installing, replacing or repairing a septic system. It is recommended that you speak with the building department staff prior to your application. We can advise you what information, drawings and plans you will be required to include, and whether you will require any other additional permits or approvals including but not limited to Lower Trent Conservation Authority, County of Northumberland, etc. Applications are reviewed for zoning and building compliance upon receipt of a complete submission.

When do I need a building permit?

Contact our department if you are unsure if a permit is required. It is a violation under the Building Code Act to build without a permit. Ultimately the property owner is responsible for ensuring that all necessary permits are obtained prior to commencing work.

The objective of a permit is to protect the homeowner and community by ensuring the structure is safe, sound and legal. Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a permit is required for the following projects:

  • Construct a new building greater than 108 sf
  • Construction of any size of building if it contains plumbing
  • Renovate, repair or construction of an addition to an existing building
  • Demolish or remove all (or a portion) of a building
  • Change of use of a building
  • Install, change or remove partitions and load bearing walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • Construction of a garage, balcony or deck
  • Enclosing an existing deck
  • Installing new guards on an existing deck
  • Replacing an existing deck
  • Any deck or landing adjacent to an exit
  • Construction of a deck greater than two feet (0.61 meters) in height above ground level  that is detached or attached to the building
  • Construction of a utility shed over 108 square feet.
  • Excavate a basement or construction of a new or replacement foundation
  • Install or modify any life safety or fire suppression systems such as fire alarms, sprinkler or standpipe or fixed extinguishing systems
  • Install or modify plumbing
  • Installation of fireplaces, fireplace inserts and wood stoves
  • Installing kitchen or bathroom cupboards containing plumbing
  • Reconstruction of a chimney
  • Erect signage
  • To finish a basement or to convert a room into a bedroom
  • Construction of apartments and secondary suites (within a dwelling or an accessory building)
  • Installation of a new or replacement HVAC system which includes new furnace or duct work.
  • Installation of doors or windows that are larger than the existing openings- structural work may be required to address lintel sizes over increased widths of openings
Building Permit Exceptions

You do not require a building permit for the following:

  • Replacing an existing door or window (Permit would apply if the opening size is increased beyond the existing width of the opening)
  • Installing siding on small residential buildings
  • Construction of a building less than 108 square feet which does not contain plumbing (structure is required to conform with zoning provisions and setback requirements)
  • Installation of new shingles or steel roofing
  • Installation of eave troughs, if drainage is contained on your property
  • Damp proofing an existing basement
  • Painting or decorating, including interior finishes, but excluding insulation
  • Reinstalling kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Erecting a fence
  • Sheds not more then 160 Sq. Ft. in gross area;  not more then one storey in height; not attached to a building or structure; not contain plumbing, and will be used soley for storage purposes ancillary to a principal building on the lot.

Fees and Development Charges

Building permit fees are due and payable when the permit is ready for pick up and fees are calculated based on the Building Permit Fee Schedule.  Please see our Development Charges page for more information on new construction development fees.  Development fees are due at the time of permit issuance.  

Other Permits

Entrance Permits

Entrance Permits are required for new driveways or entrances to properties being proposed.

County Entrance Permits may be required if the property is located on a County Road.

Septic/Setback Permits

Northumberland County is responsible for septic permit issuance and through the process reviews plans, issue permits and performs inspections for septic systems.

Septic Permits
You may need to obtain a septic permit if you are:
  • Construction of a new building which contains plumbing
  • Construction of an addition which contains plumbing
  • Changing the use of an existing building
  • Taking out all or part of a plumbing or septic system
  • Finishing plumbing in a basement or room
  • Changing a room to a bedroom
  • Installing or changing a plumbing system
  • Installing, changing or fixing a private septic system
  • Installing a deck
  • Installing a kitchen or bathroom cupboard with plumbing
  • Installing a lawn sprinkler or soaker system
  • Installing a pylon, roof, billboard or fascia sign with plumbing
  • Installing a commercial or industrial equipment with plumbing
  • Installing a fountain with plumbing
  • Installing or changing a backflow preventer
  • Installing a municipal water service
  • Installing a fire main or hydrant
  • Installing a sanitary or storm drain outside
  • Installing or changing a fire sprinkler system
  • Installing a stand pipe system
  • Installing a glycol system
Setback Permits

Setback permits are required from any property located off of a County highway, prior to development. To learn more about this permit and how to apply, visit the County of Northumberland Road Permits website.

Conservation Authority Permit

If your property is located near a water source or wetland, you may need approval from the Lower Trent Conservation Authority, prior to any development or Building Permit being issued.

If you are not sure if your property has any environmental constraints, you can view your property on the Conservation Authority’s map viewer.

Building Inspections

Now that you have your Building Permit construction can begin. During the construction process mandatory inspections are required which may contain all or some of the following inspections:

  • Footings (prior to concrete)
  • Foundation and Weepers (backfill)
  • Plumbing rough-in beneath a slab
  • Plumbing rough-in for remainder of building
  • HVAC Rough-in
  • Framing (prior to insulation)
  • Fireplace/Wood stove Rough-in
  • Insulation and Vapor Barrier
  • Plumbing Final
  • HVAC Final
  • Occupancy
  • Final
How to book an inspection

Inspections can be booked by calling the Chief Building Official at 905-355-2821 extension 233, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Note: 48 hours minimum notice required for scheduling an inspection. Due to COVID-19 inspection protocols have changed. Please refer to the COVID-19 drop down at the top of the page. 

Inspection reports

It is the duty of the landowner to make sure all work is complete by getting copies of inspection results. To obtain copies of these reports, contact the Building department at the Municipal Office.

Closing a building permit

A building permit file can be closed with the approval of the building inspector once the final inspection is complete.




Don Butwell
Chief Building Official
1 Toronto Street
Colborne, ON
K0K 1S0
T.: 905-355-2821 Ext. 233
F.: 905-355-3430
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