A building permit is an important document which is required by homeowners in Canada who want to change, demolish, renovate, or construct a building. The municipal building department is the building code enforcement agency that is responsible for issuing building permits. The Building Code Act has made it is mandatory for construction and demolition of buildings to only be done when one has a building permit. Building owners are responsible for meeting the building requirements as failure to obtain the required building permit will result in the removal of work completed, legal action, and costly construction delays. The following common projects require a building permit.

  1. To Construct a New Building

If you want to construct a new building, you will need to obtain a building permit from the relevant inspection office. No new building can be constructed without it.

  1. To Construct an Addition to an Existing Building

Another situation where you will need to obtain a building permit is when you intend to construction an addition to an existing building such as a deck, porch, solarium, sunroom, carport, attached garage, or an additional storey.

  1. To Make Material or Structural Alterations

If you plan on making material or structural alterations to your home such as in case of the following, you will need a building permit.

  • Enclosing a patio, porch, or deck of any size.
  • Relocating or enlarging existing doors or windows.
  • New doors or windows where there were none in the past.
  • Removing or adding walls (changing the use of the room or its size).
  1. To Construct an Accessory Structure

When you want to construct an accessory structure which is larger than 10 sq meters in area such as in case of a cabana, pool house, carport, garden shed, workshop, or detached garage, you will need to get a building permit.

  1. Completing a Basement

If you are completing a basement and the work involves any of the following, you will need to obtain a building permit.

  • Addition of a second suite.
  • Construction of a basement entrance.
  • Basement underpinning.
  • Excavation or construction of foundations.
  • Installation or modification of plumbing systems or heating systems.
  • Material or structural alterations.
  1. Environmental and Energy Building Improvements

In addition to the above, a building permit is required in case of environmental and energy building improvements as mentioned below.

  • Solar projects like installation of solar hot water systems and solar collector systems.
  • Structures for supporting wind turbine generators that have an output of over 3kW.
  • Green roofs.
  • Roof top storm water retention systems.
  1. To Construct a Retaining Wall of Over One Meter

Finally, you will also need a building permit for constructing a retaining wall of more than a meter in height.



Once you have gone over this post, you will know when to get a building permit. Keep the above situations in mind if you are considering home improvements or repair.