To plan your project you will need to:
- Meet with a Development Information Officer to discuss zoning regulations. Consult the planning and development webpage for additional information on approvals.
- Prepare your Building Permit Application Package for submission by including:
- Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish
- Applicable Fee
- Two complete sets of detailed plans that are legible and drawn to conventional scale
- Grading plan
- Infill Tree Conservation Program requirements if applicable
- Septic system requirements if applicable
- Review and address applicable law as required?
- Apply for a Building Permit
- Review Process and Timelines
- Obtain and post your permit in a visible location
- Construction Fencing
- Contact your inspector prior to starting construction
- Arrange for required inspections at various stages of construction
Obtaining a building permit can in some cases be a complicated process. If you feel you are not sufficiently familiar with the requirements and the preparation of drawings, we recommend that you hire an architect, qualified designer, or other knowledgeable individual experienced and familiar with the Ontario Building Code and municipal by-laws, to prepare your final plans and specifications. Before hiring a design consultant, please confirm their qualifications by contacting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or by accessing their on-line Public Registry (QuARTS).
If you have a good working knowledge of house construction and the Ontario Building Code, you may consider designing your own project. Many publications are available in bookshops, libraries and at lumber dealers that may assist you. You can purchase copies of the Ontario Building Code by contacting Orderline at 1-888-361-0003. The Building Code Act and regulations can also be viewed on the Province's website.
Examples of drawings in both metric and imperial are provided in this guide to illustrate the quality of submission necessary for a permit application. You can avoid delays in permit issuance if all drawings and specifications provide sufficient information for the Chief Building Official and/or Building Official to verify that the work will conform to the Ontario Building Code and other applicable law, such as the Zoning By-law, once constructed.
It is important to note that drawings for some pre-engineered structures require certification by a Professional Engineer licensed to practice in Ontario. Examples of buildings include: greenhouses and sheds. Whenever buying a prefabricated structure ensure that you are provided with a copy of the professionally sealed design drawings.
You may draw your own plans. However, single line or pencil drawings are not acceptable. All plans must be drawn to scale in either metric or imperial measurements. Incomplete applications or drawings may not be accepted.
Content requirement for plans, drawings and specifications
Plans, drawings and specifications must provide sufficient information to enable the Chief Building Official and/or Building Official to determine whether the proposed construction, once completed, will comply with the requirements set out in the Ontario Building Code and other applicable laws.
The Building By-law Schedule B sets out the specifications and documents required to be submitted along with the application form. If you have any questions, the Building Official or Building Technical Support staff at the Client Service Centre counter will be pleased to assist you.
- All drawings must be on durable material, drawn to scale and fully dimensioned (sketches are not acceptable).
- Original pencil drawings will not be accepted, photocopies of penciled drawings are acceptable.
Note: Your application form must be accompanied by the documents noted in Schedule "B" of the Building By-Law including:
- Two sets of building plans
- Two copies of your property survey or site plan
Your building plans may include:
- Site plan
- Foundation plan
- Floor plans
- Elevation views
- Structural framing details
- Roof plan for complex designs
- Drainage and grading plan
See specific Residential Construction Checklists for full details.
A site plan identifies buildings and other features in relation to property boundaries. The site plan must identify your existing house, other existing structures (i.e., garages, sheds, decks) and proposed additions or new structures.
Most or all of the information required for a site plan can be found on your property survey. You may have received a survey when you purchased your home. Plans of property can be obtained from the Ontario Land Registry Office.
The following information should be shown on a site plan:
- Title and scale
- Legal description
- Street name
- Setbacks (distance) to overhead electrical wires and conductors from proposed structures
- Property lines with dimensions
- Setbacks (distance) to all property lines from all existing and proposed structures
- Proposed construction (shaded)
- Overall building dimensions,
- Right-of-way and easements
- Location of well and septic system (if applicable)
For interior renovations, an interior plan (key plan) may be required showing the location of both existing and proposed construction. The Building Official or Building Technical Support staff at the Client Service Centre counter will advise you.
What should be illustrated on a floor plan?
Floor plans are required for each floor level to be constructed and/or that is affected by your project. For additions to existing buildings, floor plans of all or part of the existing building may be required. The following information must be shown on a floor plan:
- Title and scale
- All room names or uses (e.g., kitchen, living room, bedroom)
- Location of plumbing fixtures
- Size, direction and spacing of structural members (joists, columns, beams and lintels)
- Interior and exterior dimensions, including door and window sizes
- General specifications/materials to be used
- The extent and size of both the new and existing structures
Note: If your project includes the use of proprietary engineered floor joist systems, your submission must include a floor joist layout plan from the manufacturer.
Roof and ceiling framing members must be clearly noted on the appropriate floor plan. Spans of all prefabricated roof truss and joist systems, including the location of all hip or girder trusses, must be shown. For other than simply supported spans, a detailed framing or roof truss layout provided by your truss supplier may be required.
Existing loading conditions can also affect structural design for building renovations and additions. The existing roofing and ceiling details should also be indicated.
What should a cross-section detail show?
A cross-section presents a view of a house along an imaginary cut, showing the structural elements of the building and exposing what is hidden behind the walls. Cross-sections through the proposed and existing structure(s) may be required to show building materials and how they relate to one another. The location of the cross-section is shown by the cross-section symbol on the floor plans.
The following information must be shown on a cross-section:
- Title and scale
- Room names
- Heights and dimensions of doors and windows
- Size and types of materials and finishes
- Finished floor level and grades
- Extent of existing house and proposed additions
An elevation view is an illustration of a finished exterior of each side of the building or frontage. Elevation drawings are required for any project that may alter the exterior of your building.
The following information must be shown on an elevation:
- Title and scale
- Heights and dimensions of existing and new window and door openings
- Exterior finishes and materials
- Finished floor levels and grade
- Extent of proposed addition and existing house
- Overall height of building
- Slope/pitch of new roofs
A grading plan identifies the slope and drainage of the land with respect to the proposed building and surrounding properties. Depending upon the particulars of your proposed project, a grading plan may be required. When required, two copies of the proposed grading plan must be submitted along with your building permit application submission documents. The grading plan must be prepared by a professional Engineer, Engineering Technologist, or Land Surveyor licensed in Ontario. A grading plan will illustrate both the existing drainage pattern and the proposed drainage pattern.
A grading plan is required for all Building Permit Applications, in both rural and urban areas, where:
- The proposed construction may adversely affect the existing drainage.
- The proposed structure is a new building, an addition, or accessory structure greater than 55m2 (592 square feet).
- The proposed structure is within 1.2 metres (4') of the property line.
- Installation of a pool located is within 1.2 metres of the property line.
The exceptions to the above are as follows:
A separate grading plan is not required for the following projects; however, the site plan submitted must clearly identify all existing and proposed buildings and structures, including setbacks to property lines, easements and service utility locations.
- Construction of any second floor addition to an existing structure.
- Construction of a one-storey addition or detached accessory building 55 m² (592 square feet) or less in footprint area and set back greater than 1.2 metres (4') from all property lines.
- Construction of a balcony, deck, porch or veranda set back greater than 1.2 metres (4') to all property lines.
- Construction of any structure considered a permitted projection in the Zoning By-Law including a fireplace or chimney.
Grading plans that incorporate a septic system must include a septic permit obtained from the Ottawa Septic System Office (OSSO). The septic permit must be obtained before the building permit application is submitted.