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Building permits and renovating

Building permit to construct

Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction of a new building, an addition, or alteration of any building or structure with a building area of over 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet).

Approximate cost

Approximate timeline

Based on the streaming of applications and the building category as set out in the Ontario Building Code (Refer to Table 1.3.1.3 in Division C): 

  • Small Homeowner project:  First review 5 business days
  • Tenant Fit-up:  First review 10 business days no matter the building category
  • House:  First review 10 business days
  • Small Building:  First review 15 business days
  • Large Building:  First review 20 business days
  • Complex Building:  First review 30 business days

Approximate timeline based on City Council approved enhanced service level:

  • Small Homeowner project:  First review 5 business days
  • Tenant Fit-up:  First review 10 business days no matter the building category 

Permit requirements

Additional information

Who to contact

 Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1 

Where to apply

Building Code Client Service Centre

Building permit to demolish

You need to obtain a building permit to relocate or demolish an existing building or structure.  Your demolition application will be reviewed to ensure compliance with safety requirements that may need to be adhered to during or after the demolition of the structure, as well as with applicable law (e.g., Demolition Control By-law and the Ontario Heritage Act) Clearance certificates from utilities confirming services have been severed and capped must be obtained as well.  

Approximate cost

Approximate timeline

Based on the building category as set out in the Ontario Building Code:  House, Small Building, Large Building and Complex Building:

  • House:  First review 10 business days
  • Small Building:  First review 15 business days
  • Large Buildings:  First review 20 business days
  • Complex Buildings:  First review 30 business days

Permit requirements

Development charge credits

A municipal redevelopment credit may be available if demolition of an existing structure occurs within 10 years of the issuance of a building permit for a new building. After this period, no credit is possible. The time limit was set at 10 years with the enactment of the City's 2014 development charges by-law (Section 9 Redevelopment of Land Credits). Beginning January 1, 2019, the time limit will be limited to development that occurs within a five year period. Thus someone who demolished a building on or before December 31, 2013 will have no entitlement to a credit as of January 1, 2019.

Who to contact

Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1 

Where to apply

Building Code Client Service Centre

Building retrofit water and/or sewer service connections

Is the existing water and sewer services adequate for their proposed business or building use? If no, or if you are uncertain, contact City of Ottawa, Right-of-Way Information and Approvals Unit for verification.

Approximate cost

Dependent on requirements

Approximate timeline

Dependent on requirements

Permit requirements

Description of current building use

Description of proposed building use

Estimated water consumption needs

Type of fire suppression installation if applicable

Who to contact

City of Ottawa, Right-of-Way Information and Approvals Unit, 100 Constellation Drive, 6 East, Phone: 613-580-2424 ext. 13629

Where to apply

City of Ottawa, Right-of-Way Information and Approvals Unit, 100 Constellation Drive, 6 East, Phone: 613-580-2424 ext. 13629

Access to Building Permit Records

The City of Ottawa’s Access to Building Permit Records, (also previously known as View and Release), allows general access to building and sign permit records, while ensuring that the access to the information requests respect the intent of the Copyright Act, without the necessity of a formal request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Approximate cost

Approximate timeline

  • 10 business days – dependent on the complexity of the search

Permit requirements

Who to contact

buildingrecords@ottawa.ca or 3-1-1

Where to apply

Building Code Client Service Centre, or by mail, send to:  Building Code Services, 101 Centrepointe Dr, Nepean, On, K2G 5K7

Changes to designated heritage properties

Alterations

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, all alterations to designated heritage properties and to properties located within a Heritage Conservation District require the approval of the City of Ottawa. Alterations that require approval include, but are not limited to construction of additions, window replacement, partial demolition, and porch replacement or restoration.

How to Apply

  1. Applicants should discuss their proposal with staff in the Heritage Section who will be able to provide advice and determine the documentation required for a complete application.

City Council approval is required before any work on a heritage property that will affect its heritage attributes is undertaken. A Heritage Planner will provide a complete list of the requirements for an application, however, the following documents are generally required:

  1. Application for Permit under the Ontario Heritage Act
  2. Site Plan
  3. Landscape Plan
  4. Elevations
  5. 3D renderings
  6. List of building materials or material samples
  7. Cultural Heritage Impact Statement (may be required, consult with a heritage planner regarding this requirement)
  8. Staff review applications to determine if they meet all City requirements. Upon acceptance of a complete application, the City issue a notice of receipt. A report will be prepared and sent to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC), Planning Committee or the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and then City Council. Council may approve the application with or without conditions, or refuse it.

Plans and Studies

Guide to preparing cultural heritage impact statements

Appeal

If City Council refuses an application or imposes conditions on its approval, the owner of the property may appeal City Council's decision. There are two appeal bodies for designated buildings:

  • Appeals to applications to alter for individually designated properties (Part IV) are referred to the Conservation Review Board.
  • Appeals to application to alter properties located in a Heritage Conservation District (Part V) are referred to the Ontario Municipal Board

Appeals must be received by the City of Ottawa within 30 days of the receipt of notice of Council's decision. Appeals must be accompanied by the fee prescribed by the Ontario Municipal Board or Conservation Review Board. More information about the appeal process can be found on the websites of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Conservation Review Board.

Other Approvals or Permits that may be required

  • Zoning By-law amendment or Minor Variance.
  • Consent for Severance
  • Site Plan Control
  • Building Permit - Required for most construction. Approval of an application under the Ontario Heritage Act must not be construed to meet the requirements for the issuance of a building permit.

Demolition

City Council approval is needed before a demolition permit can be issued for an individually-designated heritage property or a property in a Heritage Conservation District.

How to Apply

1. Applicants should discuss their proposal with staff in the Heritage Services Section, who will be able to assist in determining the information required for an application.

2. Application for Permit under the Ontario Heritage Act. A Heritage Planner will provide a complete list of the requirements for an application, however, the following documents are generally required:

    1. Photographs documenting the building proposed for demolition
    2. Cultural Heritage Impact Statement may be required, consult with a heritage planner regarding this requirement)
    3. Plans for replacement building (if located in a Heritage Conservation District)

Plans and Studies

Guide to preparing cultural heritage impact statements

3. Applicants must submit a request in writing to the City, along with any required information and drawings. Staff will review the your application and a report will be prepared and sent to the City of Ottawa Built Heritage Sub-Committee, Planning Committee or Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and then City Council. City Council may either approve the application with conditions or refuse it.

Appeal

A property owner can appeal the refusal of an application to demolish a designated heritage property or the terms and conditions of approval to the Ontario Municipal Board within 30 days of receiving the notice of Council's decision.

Other Permits or Approvals that may be required

  • Demolition Permit - Required for all demolitions. An approval of an application under the Ontario Heritage Act must not be construed to meet the requirements for the issuance of a Building Permit.
  • Demolition Control Approval - if property contains residential dwelling units and is in an area to which Demolition Control applies.

For more information please contact:
Sally Coutts, Senior Heritage Planner
Heritage Services Unit
Right-of-Way, Heritage and Urban Design
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
613-580-2424 ext. 13474
E-mail: heritage@ottawa.ca