Why and when you need a building permit:

The Ontario Building Code act is legislation that allows your municipality to protect the interest of individuals and the community as a whole.

The Ontario Building Code sets the standards for design and construction for health, safety, fire protection, energy efficiency and accessibility for all persons.

Section 8. Building permits (1) No person shall construct or demolish a building or cause a building to be constructed or demolished unless a permit has been issued therefor by the chief building official.  1992, c. 23, s. 8 (1); 1997, c. 30, Sched. B, s. 7 (1).
Section 10. Change of use (1) Even though no construction is proposed, no person shall change the use of a building or part of a building or permit the use to be changed if the change would result in an increase in hazard, as determined in accordance with the building code, unless a permit has been issued by the chief building official.  2002, c. 9, s. 16.

Your municipality’s Zoning bylaws protect the interests of the community as a whole. Plans for construction must follow these bylaws. Amendments to your local bylaws can be done through your Committee of Adjustments.

A building permit is required BEFORE you:

  1. Construct any new building over 10 square metres (107.6 square feet)
  2. Make renovations or repairs to any building or portion of a building
  3. Construct an addition a building
  4. Excavate or construct a foundation
  5. Construct a seasonal building
  6. Construct an additional building to your property, such as a garage or large shed or mobile home
  7. Propose a change the use (as defined in the Ontario Building Code) of any existing building or portion of a building. For example: An owner of an existing small retail building wishes to turn a portion of the space to an office. Or an owner of an existing office space on a second floor wishes to change a portion of the space to a residential apartment.


Design constraints to consider when thinking about building

Zoning bylaws: Zoning bylaws are set by the municipality for each area of your community. Always check with your municipality to find out what zone your property falls under. Each zone has permitted uses, allowances from property lines and maximum height and minimum areas required to be landscaped etc.

Soil conditions: Knowing your soil conditions will allow your designer to advise you appropriately on your proposed foundation design. A professional geotechnical engineering company can provide soils testing and recommendations.

Ontario Building Code: The Ontario Building Code requirements are in place for your safety. Your design professional will know these requirements and use them to design your project.

Budget: Due to rising costs of materials and labour, knowing your budget can help you make decisions that you suit your needs.


When do you need a Professional Engineered design. (not limited to the following)

  1. Structural Floor Slabs (other terminology : floors on ground, slab on grade, monolithic slab, core floor, club footing).
  2. Structural floors on ground supporting walls 32’-0” or wider
  3. Structural floors on ground addition to existing structural floor.
  4. Glass handrail support fastening.
  5. Concrete Foundation walls higher than 3m (9’-10”)
  6. Foundations built in areas with high water tables
  7. Foundation built in foreign or new fill.
  8. Retaining wall higher than 36”
  9. As defined in Part 4 of the building code: based on the occupancy of the building and the specified load (<2.4kPa) For example. Warehouse floors and structure.
  10. Other than typical concrete basement or crawl space foundations.
  11. Concrete grade Beams
  12. Walls higher than 12’-0”
  13. Roof trusses and lintels that fall under Part 4 of the Ontario Building Code
  14. Beams, floor and roof truss spans that exceed tables in the building code.
  15. Underpinning of existing footings.