Building Permits A Guide for Homeowners

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1 Building Permits A Guide for Homeowners Why Bother With a Building Permit? Building Permits provide the means for Building Officials to ensure the health, safety and welfare of building occupants. The Building Permit process helps you understand what the local bylaws and regulations are. Before any construction or renovating work begins, a permit must be obtained. Building Officials use Building Permits as a vital step in their enforcement of codes. You have a major investment in the home or business you are about to build or remodel. When that home or business does not comply with the codes, the value of your investment could be reduced. Applying for a Building Permit notifies the Building Official that you are constructing or renovating a building so he or she can ensure the regulations in the Ontario Building Code are followed. When is a Building Permit Required A Permit is required to construct or demolish a building. Construction can include anything in the erection, installation or extension or material alteration or repair of a building. The following building projects require permits: NEW BUILDINGS - over 107 square feet (10 m 2 ) in area (i.e. houses, multi residential, commercial, industrial etc) ACCESSORY BUILDINGS - over 107 square feet (10 m 2 ) in area (i.e. detached garages, tool sheds, etc.) WOOD DECKS - greater than 24 inches (600 mm) above ground level or over 107 square feet

2 NOTES: ADDITIONS/EXTENSIONS - to existing building even if under 107 square feet (10 m 2 ) in area - (i.e. sunrooms, porches, carports, garages, dormers, second storeys, etc.) RENOVATIONS - (i.e. skylights, patio doors, rec rooms, family rooms, insulation, interior renovations to commercial/ industrial, etc.) CHANGES IN USE - to a use with an increased hazard (i.e. from office to retail) STRUCTURAL ALTERATION - (i.e. removing load bearing walls, beams or columns, repairing or reconstructing basement walls, foundations, floors, roof structures, etc.) PREFABRICATED BUILDINGS - over 107 square feet (10 m 2 ) in area (i.e. portable classrooms, kiosks, garages, tool sheds, patio roofs/enclosures, etc.) FARM BUILDINGS - (i.e. barns, hay storage, sheds, greenhouses, silos, grain bins etc.) MOBILE HOMES FIREPLACES AND STOVES - (i.e. wood stoves, solid fuel burning appliances, chimneys, etc.) MATERIAL ALTERATIONS alterations to, or new, fire separations (i.e. fire rated ceilings, wall or floors)alterations to, or new, exit facilities alterations to, or new, fire protection systems (i.e. fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipe and hose systems etc.) PLUMBING - alterations to, or new, plumbing systems SWIMMING POOLS STRUCTURES DESIGNATED BY THE BUILDING CODE, TENTS AND TEMPORARY STRUCTURES BUILDING RELOCATED OR MOVED The above list should not be considered all inclusive. There may be other situations which require a permit and if your project is not mentioned or you are not certain whether a permit is required, please contact your Building Department. All buildings are required to meet certain restrictions as to building location as set out in the applicable Zoning By-law. These restrictions apply whether a Building Permit is required or not. HOW DO YOU APPLY FOR A BUILDING PERMIT? Submit a completed application form with two sets of scaled construction drawings including a proposed site plan referenced to an up-to-date survey to the Building Department at the Municipal Administration Centre. The plans may be prepared in either metric or imperial values. The type of plans which are required vary with the type and size of the project. Common projects around the home are shown on the sketch below.

3 WHO MUST DESIGN THE PLANS? New Requirements for Designer Qualifications for House Projects Effective January 1, 2006 Under the Ontario Building Code Recent changes to the Ontario Building Code will now require, as of January 1, 2006, that the designers of certain construction projects must be pre-qualified in their knowledge of the Building Code by writing and passing technical exams. The qualifications will depend in part on the scope of the design activity being performed by the designer. Some projects may require several qualified designers to be involved, each one qualified in their limited scope of expertise (i.e. plumbing versus fire safety). This guide focuses on the designer requirements for house projects. For other project types, please see Div C. Section 3.2 of the Building Code. The requirements for qualifications will vary based on whether it is the property owner or someone else who is taking responsibility for the design, and based on the nature of the project. Where the design must be qualified, or must be a registered designer, please visit the web site of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing at to obtain more information about the qualification process. WHERE THE DESIGNER IS THE OWNER OF A HOUSE No Pre-Qualification Required The owner of a house is allowed to prepare and take responsibility for the design of the following projects, without having to be pre-qualified. The owner must

4 still prepare plans and specifications in sufficient detail to demonstrate the project will comply with all technical requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Construction of their own new house An addition to their existing house, including but not limited to the construction of a deck attached to the house A material alteration or repair of their existing house including but not limited to alterations to create a new bedroom, alterations to the structural, plumbing, heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems, or alterations to create a second suite (subject to Zoning By-law compliance) Construction of an ancillary building such as a deck, shed, gazebo, pool cabana, hot tub shelter or garage Qualified Designer Required An owner would need to possess the required technical qualifications to design any other building structure on their property. WHERE THE DESIGNER IS NOT THE OWNER OF A HOUSE No Pre-Qualification Required Persons who prepare plans and specifications and take responsibility for the design of construction projects related to a house need not be pre-qualified in their Building Code knowledge for the following projects. Construction of site services such as surface grading around a building, or the underground plumbing services outside of or underneath a building Construction of pre-engineered elements of a building provided that the design of the elements is carried out by a person competent and qualified in the specific discipline appropriate to the circumstances Construction of appliances, equipment and similar incidental components of a building such as furnaces and water heaters Construction of an on-site sewage system provided it is designed by the registered installer of the system Qualified Designer Required Persons who prepare plans and specifications and take responsibility for the design of the following construction projects related to a house (1) must possess the required technical qualifications (2), but need not be a registered designer (for which they would require liability insurance). Construction of a new house provided the designer is also the builder who must be registered under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (Tarion registered builder) An addition to an existing house including but not limited to the construction of a deck attached to the house

5 A material alteration or repair of an existing house including but not limited to alterations to create a new bedroom, alterations to the structural, plumbing, heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems, or alterations to create a second suite (subject to Zoning By-law compliance) Construction of a plumbing system for a house Construction of a heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning system for a house Construction of an ancillary building such as a deck, shed, gazebo, pool cabana, hot tub shelter or garage Extension or the material alteration or repair of an existing detached structure that is associated with a house where the structure is not an ancillary building Construction of a factory-built house certified to CAN/CSA-A277 Construction of mobile homes conforming to CAN/CSA-Z240 Construction of park model trailers conforming to CAN/CSA-Z241 Registered Designer Required Persons who prepare plans and specifications and take responsibility for the design of the following construction projects related to a house (1) must possess the required technical qualifications and must be a registered designer (for which they will require liability insurance) A new house (1) if the designer is not a builder registered under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act Construction of a residential building other than a house (1), a factory-built house, a mobile home or a park model trailer, such as a rooming house or a triplex Construction of a new detached structure other than an ancillary building Extension or the material alteration or repair of an existing detached structure >50 m 2 that is associated with a house (1) where the structure is not an ancillary building An on-site sewage system if the designer is not the registered installer Any projects not described in the previous two subsections (1) A house is defined to be a detached house, a semi-detached house, a town house or a row house containing not more than two dwelling units in each house. (2) The designer is exempted from being qualified if someone else who is either an employee of a registered designer under Div C (1) (d), or is otherwise qualified under Div C (1) reviews and takes responsibility for the design compliance with the Building Code, as per Div C (2) (a). The information contained in the articles above represents our current understanding of the new legislation and is prepared for the purposes of convenience only and is subject to change. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Your application and plans will be checked for compliance with the zoning bylaw, the Ontario Building Code and other applicable regulations. You will be

6 advised by the Inspector of any modifications required to your plans in order for your project to comply with the Building Code and Zoning By-laws. Your Building Permit will be issued when your application and plans comply and you have obtained all other necessary approvals. WHEN ARE YOU REQUIRED TO REQUEST AN INSPECTION OR PROVIDE NOTICE TO THE CHIEF BUILDING OFFICIAL OF THE VARIOUS STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION? The owner, contractor or authorized agent must notify the Building Department at least TWO regular business days in advance of the following stages of work: PRESCRIBED NOTICES as per Div C Sub Section of the Ontario Building Code Effective July 1, Readiness to construct footings 2. Completion of footings and foundations prior to backfill 3. Part 9 buildings - completion of: i. Framing ii. Ductwork and piping for HVAC system 4. Buildings other than Part 9 - completion of: i. Completion of structural framing ii. Rough-in of HVAC/air containment extraction equipment 5. Completion of insulation, vapour barriers and air barriers 6. Completion of all fire separations, closures and fire protection and fire alarm systems 7. Completion of fire access routes 8. Readiness for inspection/testing of: i. Building sewers and drains ii. Water service pipes iii. Fire Service mains iv. Drainage and venting systems v. Water distribution systems vi. Plumbing fixtures and plumbing appliances 9. Readiness for inspection of suction and gravity outlets, covers and suction piping serving outlets of public pools and public spas 10. Completion of circulation/recirculation system of a public pool or public spa before it is first filled with water 11. Completion of installation of plumbing not located in a structure before backfilling 12. Occupancy of unfinished building completion and installation of components required to permit occupancy by Div C (2) or Div C (1) 13. Final inspection 14. Grading inspection

7 FEES AND APPLICATION FORMS For details on building permit fees and a printable application form please see Municipal Government Departments Building and Planning Department Building and Planning Documents

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