When is a building permit required?

As the building owner, you are ultimately responsible for complying with all building requirements. Failure to obtain building permits can result in costly construction delays, legal action and/or the removal of work already completed.

The following is a list of common projects that require a building permit:

  1. Construct a new building

  2. Construct an addition to an existing building, such as: second or third story additions, attached garages, carports, sunrooms, solariums, porches, decks

  3. Make structural or material alterations, such as: adding or removing walls (i.e. changing room sizes and/or uses), new windows or doors where there were none before, enlarging or relocating existing windows or doors, enclosing an existing deck, porch or patio or any size

  4. Construct an accessory structure larger than 108 square feet in area, such as: detached garage, workshop, garden shed, carport, pool house or cabana

    *Note: If you are constructing an accessory structure and it is attached to an existing building and/or has plumbing, regardless of its size, a building permit is required.

  5. Finishing a basement, if the work proposed includes any of the following:  structural or material alterations, installing or modifying heating and or plumbing systems, excavating and/or constructing foundations, basement underpinning, constructing a basement entrance, adding a second suite

  6. Energy and environmental building improvements, such as: roof top storm water retention systems, green roofs, structures used in the support of a wind turbine generator with a rated output of more than 3kW, solar projects such as installation of solar collector systems and solar hot water systems

  7. Construct a deck more than 24 inches above ground

  8. Construct a retaining wall more than 3′-3″ in height (one metre) provided the retaining wall is on or adjacent to the public property (including streets), building entrances, and on private property accessible to the public

  9. Constructing a tent that: covers more than 646 square feet; and/or is attached to a building; and/or is within 9′-10″ (3 metres) from another structure

  10. Demolish or remove all, or a portion of a building

  11. Install or reconstruct a chimney or fireplace

  12. Install a wood burning stove or fireplace

  13. Install or modify heating and or plumbing systems

  14. Install a backwater valve

  15. Install a backflow prevention device

  16. Change a building’s use (i.e. from residential to office or single dwelling unit house to multi-dwelling unit house).  Even if no construction is proposed, if a change of use is proposed a building permit is required.

Source: City of Toronto

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