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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

  • Kanata: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Nepean: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Central: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Orléans: ext. 29312 (bilingual)

Where to apply

  • Kanata: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Nepean: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Central: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Orléans: ext. 29312 (bilingual)

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

  • Kanata: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Nepean: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Central: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Orléans: ext. 29312 (bilingual)

Where to apply

  • Kanata: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Nepean: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Central: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Orléans: ext. 29312 (bilingual)

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

Please contact one of the Senior Engineers or Senior Project Managers regarding your new service connection, or if you have questions related to this process. Use the City’s ward mapping and/or Development Review Areas map to verify the location of your development property.

Development Areas Senior Engineer or Senior Project Manager contact: Manager

Central (Wards 12, 13, 14, 15, 17)

Abdul Mottalib or Cody Oram

Saide Sayah

East (Wards 1, 2, 11, urban part of 19)

Natasha Baird

Jeff McEwen

West (Wards 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 23)

Gabrielle Schaeffer or Eric Surprenant

Erin O'Connell (A)

South (Wards 3, 10, 16, 18, 22)

John Sevigny or Jeffrey Shillington

Lily Xu

Rural (Wards 5, rural part of 19, 20, 21)

Damien Whittaker or Kevin Hall

Adam Brown

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

  • Kanata: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Nepean: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Central: ext. 29312 (bilingual)
  • Orléans: ext. 29312 (bilingual)

Changes to 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

Applicants should discuss their proposal with staff in the Heritage Planning Branch who will be able to provide advice, and determine the documentation and applicable fees required for a complete application.

City approval is required before any work on a heritage property that will affect its heritage attributes is undertaken.

As of January 1, 2021, the City of Ottawa is implementing a new fee schedule for applications made under the Ontario Heritage Act. These are divided into two categories: staff-issued permits and City Council-issued permits.

Heritage Permits: Staff-level authority

This category includes alterations and additions to properties designated under Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act such as changes to window openings, modifications to porches, new dormer windows or additions. All permits in this category may be processed at the staff level through the authority delegated by City Council under the Ontario Heritage Act. These fees are charged per application, but one application may include multiple alterations. Staff in the Heritage Planning Branch will advise you of the applicable fee for your application.

  1. Alterations and Small Additions: $268.00
  • Alterations to Contributing/Grade 1/Part IV properties that impact the heritage attributes of the property or the heritage conservation district
  • Alterations of Non-contributing/Grade 2 properties that have an impact on the character of the heritage conservation district
  • Additions less than 15% of the gross floor area of existing building
  1. Large Additions: $803.00
  • Additions between 16% and 30% of the gross floor area of the existing building.
  1. Other: $0

The following types of projects are exempt from application fees:

  • Projects that meet the definition of restoration, rehabilitation, or preservation according to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
  • Building maintenance projects
  • Landscaping projects
  • Applications related to demolishing or rebuilding existing buildings affected by catastrophic events

Heritage Permits: Council-level authority

Alterations

This category includes alterations to properties designated under Part IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act such as partial demolition, additions and new construction that incorporates the heritage resource. All applications under this category require approval of City Council after consultation with the Built Heritage Sub-Committee. These fees are charged on a project basis, only one alteration fee is charged per application. Alteration fees may be combined with demolition or new construction fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.

  1. Minor Alteration: $2,243.00

The criteria for this category includes:

  • Minor alterations or additions to the existing property
  • Involves only one designated property
  • Partial demolition up to 30% of the gross floor area of the designated building
  1. Major Alteration: $8,560.00

The criteria for this category includes:

  • Significant alterations or additions to the existing property that impact the cultural heritage value or attributes of the property or heritage conservation district
  • Any application that involves more than one designated property

Demolition

This category includes fees for demolition of designated resources. The fees are based on the cultural heritage value of the resource as defined through a Part IV designation or the property’s assigned category in a heritage conservation district. These fees are cumulative, if an applicant is proposing demolition of three designated properties a fee will apply per building. Demolition fees may be combined with new construction or alteration fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.

  • Part IV/Grade 1/Contributing: $13,375.00
  • Grade 2/Non-Contributing: $2,675.00

New Construction in Heritage Conservation Districts

This category includes fees for new construction in heritage conservation districts designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. The fees are divided into small, medium and large scale depending on the size of the project. Fees are charged on a project basis, not per property and there will only be one new construction fee per application even if multiple properties are involved. New Construction fees may be combined with demolition or alteration fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.

  1. Small-scale new construction : $3,210.00

The criteria for small-scale new construction includes:

  • Applications for new single detached houses
  • Applications in this category have no associated Official Plan Amendment or Zoning By-law amendment.
  1. Medium-scale new construction: $5,350.00
  • Applications for new low-scale residential construction including but not limited to: townhouse dwellings, duplex dwelling, semi-detached dwelling, stacked dwelling
  • Applications for new construction of low-rise apartment buildings
  • Applications for new construction of non-residential or mixed-use low-rise buildings
  1. Large-scale new construction: $8,560.00

The criteria for major new construction includes:

  • New construction of mid-rise and high-rise buildings
  • Any application that requires a Zoning by-law amendment (with the exception of an amendment related only to use) or Official Plan Amendment

Fees

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 - Staff-level authority      
    Application for Permit under the Ontario Heritage Act - Council-level authority
  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)

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

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 Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) 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.

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 Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) 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.

For more information please contact:

Heritage Planning
613-580-2463
Email: heritage@ottawa.ca