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Frequently Asked Questions

November 2022
Why do I need a building permit?

The BCA explains per­mits are required to ensure the health and safe­ty of all occu­pants. Struc­tures must meet the min­i­mum require­ments of the Ontario Build­ing Code and oth­er regulations/​standards. 

Build­ing per­mits are nec­es­sary to ensure the design and con­struc­tion of build­ings meet objec­tives such as fire pro­tec­tion, struc­tur­al capac­i­ty, acces­si­bil­i­ty, resource con­ser­va­tion from a health and safe­ty per­spec­tive. Build­ing per­mits also con­firm the project fol­lows local zon­ing by-laws and oth­er applic­a­ble legislation. 

It is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the own­er and every per­son who caus­es a build­ing to be con­struct­ed to ensure a build­ing per­mit is issued pri­or to con­struc­tion or demo­li­tion starting.

Does my project require a permit?

To find out what types of projects require or do not require a build­ing per­mit, con­tact your local munic­i­pal build­ing depart­ment or vis­it your local munic­i­pal build­ing department’s web­site for build­ing per­mit requirements.

What happens if I do not get a building permit?
  • If con­struc­tion has start­ed pri­or to issu­ing a build­ing per­mit, con­se­quences may include:
  • Cost­ly repairs may be required to gain compliance.
  • Delays due to non-com­pli­ance of enforce­ment actions, zon­ing infrac­tions and oth­er exter­nal authorities.
  • Removal of work not done in com­pli­ance with the Ontario Build­ing Code and/​or oth­er applic­a­ble law. 
  • The build­ing per­mit fee may be increased, in addi­tion to oth­er admin­is­tra­tive charges.
  • This may affect insur­ance and/​or pend­ing real estate transactions.
  • Legal action may be ini­ti­at­ed by the build­ing depart­ment to gain compliance.
Why does it take so long to get a building permit?

Many aspects fac­tor into the time frame for build­ing per­mit approval. Scope and com­plex­i­ty of the pro­posed struc­ture, qual­i­ty of sub­mis­sion and resub­mis­sions, and the tim­ing of resub­mis­sions by own­ers and applicants.

How much does a building permit cost?

The total fee depends on the type and size of the project. Check your local munic­i­pal build­ing depart­ment to con­firm per­mit fee require­ments. Per­mit fees must be paid at the time of build­ing per­mit application.

How long does it take to get a permit?

This all depends on the scope, com­plex­i­ty and the qual­i­ty of sub­mis­sions. Sea­son­al issues with­in the rel­a­tive build­ing depart­ment may also affect the build­ing per­mit process. 

Appli­ca­tions for a sim­ple alter­ation or addi­tion can be processed fair­ly quick­ly, but more com­plex pro­pos­als may take longer. 

The Build­ing Code requires that a munic­i­pal­i­ty review a com­plete build­ing per­mit appli­ca­tion with­in a cer­tain time­frame where the appli­ca­tion meets the cri­te­ria set out in the Code. 

Divi­sion C of the Ontario Build­ing Code refers to time peri­ods rang­ing from 10 days to 30 days to issue a build­ing per­mit or pro­vide in writ­ing all the rea­sons for the refusal to issue.