When you need a building permit

Most fences don’t actually require a permit

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Thinking of renovating your home this fall? Want to build a deck before the ground freezes? Before you pick up a hammer or enlist your friends to help consider, first,  whether or not you’ll need a permit.

To help you decide, here’s a little cheat sheet on when you do and don’t need a construction permit.

When you need a permit

While the specifics and details may differ from city to city, most planning departments will require home-owners and property investors to get a permit for the following remodel and renovation jobs:

→ Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building. This isn’t isolated to your home, but also applies to detached sheds and garages

When you change a building’s use. For example, if you renovate so that you can use your garage as an office you’ll need a permit

When you install, change or remove partition and/or load-bearing walls

When you install new doors and windows and you make new openings or change the size of the opening

When you build a garage, balcony or deck (however, you won’t need a permit if the deck is roofless and less than 24 inches above the ground and not attached to the home)

When you excavate a basement or construct a foundation

When you install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems

If you install a fireplace (of any sort)

If you install a pool or a fence around a pool

When you don’t need a permit

When you replace existing, same-size doors and windows (as long as the doors and windows still fall within your property line zoning restrictions)

When you install siding or other exterior cladding to a standard single residential home

When you build a roofless deck less than 2 feet off the ground and it’s not attached to your home (or other building)

When you build a utility shed under 100 ft2

To reshingle a roof, provided there is no structural work or install eavestroughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property

To replace or increase insulation, drywall or plaster

To damp-proof basements

To paint or decorate

To install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing

If you erect a fence (unless the fence surrounds a swimming pool)

Read more from Romana King at Home Owner on Facebook »

3 comments on “When you need a building permit

  1. Hope you have a typo since decks under 2 feet big is pretty small! Should it read under 200 sq ft or over 2 feet high?

    Reply

    • Colin,
      Yes, it was a typo. It should read less than 2 feet off the ground. Thanks!

      Reply

  2. And all this red tape and fees is exactly the reason I like living in the country on a farm in a rural municipality with more lax rules, and with a 300 meter plus driveway where the closest neighbour is around 500 meters from me so that nobody can see my house from the roadway or the neighbours.

    Reply

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