Building permit approval process

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Applying for a Building Permit

Applications for a building permit must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Two sets of Plans - examples
  • Building Permit Fee payment
  • Specification documents if required (provide examples)

Application Form

Building Permit applications are submitted using the Provincial authorized Building Permit Application Form. Application Forms are also available at Client Service Centres located throughout the City.

We recommend that you take the time required to read and carefully complete the application form and schedules. It is important that you ensure that your application is complete, accurate and signed.

Plans, drawings and specifications

Building Permit applications must be submitted with two sets of the following documentation:

  • A building plan (floor plans, elevations and cross-sections and details, roof truss drawings, as appropriate)
  • A property survey or site plan
  • A grading plan where applicable
  • A septic permit plan where applicable

Please refer to residential sample drawings for more detailed information.

Fee payment

The fees are calculated by the Building Official or Technical Support staff at the counter and are based on the fee schedule as set out in the latest Building By-Law. 

The building permit fee is to be paid at time of application.  Once the building permit is ready to be issued, there may be additional building permit fees to be paid, along with applicable fees, such as development charges, Cash in Lieu of Parkland and sewer lateral fees.  Accepted payment methods include cheque, cash, debit cards, bank draft and money order only.

Note:  Effective August 1, 2017, cash payments will no longer be accepted for any services related to Building Code Services.  Accepted methods of payment will be debit card, cheque, bank draft and money order (made payable to the City of Ottawa).

Who to contact: Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1

Where to apply: Building Code Client Service Centre
Application Form: Permit to Construct or Demolish

Partial Building Permit applications

A phased approach to building permit applications for a project may be considered based on the following criteria for the proposed construction project:

  • New building or addition thereto
  • Large or complex building as defined by the Ontario Building Code, Division C, Article 
  • Project construction value is greater than $5,000,000

To request partial permits for a project outside the above criteria or if further information is required contact the area Program Manager in Permit Approvals.

Partial (phased) building permit applications for construction projects meeting the above criteria may follow some or all partial applications listed below:

  1. Excavation and shoring – site excavation and soil collapse prevention measures
  2. Foundation – construction of below grade storeys up to at grade storey including associated plumbing and minor mechanical
  3. Superstructure – construction of structure including columns and beams, exterior walls and building envelope
  4. Final – completion of full construction, interior walls, mechanical, electrical, fire protection and all remaining components

Building permit construction fees for new buildings are based on the gross floor area being constructed during that phase, and shall be calculated based on occupancy type and applicable Service Index per Gross Floor Area Fee Schedule (  For more information refer to explanatory note 10 and examples provided.

The building permit fee for the entire building may be paid at the earliest application where floor area is being proposed or may be partially paid based on the floor area of the phase. Fees are subject to change, please refer to the most current information and construction permit fees, Forms, applications and fees | City of Ottawa.

When dealing with partial permits, it is important to recognize that the approval and issuance of each permit applies only to the construction of that phase. Changes or modifications to the building design should be evaluated to ensure they do not adversely affect previous permit applications, discuss these or other issues with the Building Official assigned to the project.

Permit Review Process and Timelines

Your application will be reviewed to confirm that your project will comply with the Ontario Building Code and applicable laws. The review process may include:

  1. Zoning Plan Examination: staff will check for compliance with the regulations and provisions of the Zoning By-Law such as proposed use, minimum setback requirements, lot coverage and building height, etc.
  2. Building Code Examination: staff will review the proposed construction to ensure compliance with the Ontario Building Code, and applicable laws.
  3. Grading Approval: staff from the Infrastructure Approvals Division will review the grading plan for compliance with city specifications.

If during the review, additional clarification is required or deficiencies are identified, you or your authorized agent will be notified by using the contact information on your application form.

It is important to ensure that the requested information is re-submitted clearly addressing each request. Depending on the type of deficiency, the issuance of the permit will be delayed until all the requested/required information is received and compliance is determined.

Processing times vary depending on available resources, volume of applications and the completeness of your application. Technical staff at the counter will advise you of the projected time for providing you with a first response to your application.

When the review of your application is complete and all requirements have been met, you or your authorized agent will be notified by telephone, email, fax, or regular mail, that the permit is ready for pick-up at the Client Service Centre that is most convenient for you.

Permit Issuance 

The approved permit is issued upon the payment of all outstanding fees and charges.

Only upon the issuance of the permit, are you legally permitted to commence construction, including any demolition of existing buildings.

You must ensure that the permit is posted at the construction site and that the approved drawings are made available at the construction site for the Building Inspector to undertake the mandated inspections.


Building Permit to Construct

Approximate timeline

Based on the streaming of applications and the category of building as set out in the Ontario Building Code (Refer to Table in Division C), targets for the first review of a complete submission are:

  • Small Homeowner project: 5 business days Council approved timeline (i.e. Deck/Porch/Shed/Garage)
  • House: 10 business days (i.e. detached, semi-detached, row house)

Building Permit to Demolish

Approximate timeline

For all building types, the target for completing the first review of a complete demolition permit submission is:

  • All Building Types : 10 business days

Access to Building Permit Records

Approximate timeline

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

Who to contact: Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1

Where to apply: Building Code Client Service Centre

Application Form: Permit to Construct or Demolish


The City is mandated by the Ontario Building Code to provide building inspections associated with construction authorized by a Building Permit. The first step is to make sure that your building plans, drawings and specifications follow the Ontario Building Code and other applicable laws. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange inspections at key stages of construction.

Note: The building permit is required to be posted in a visible location at all times.

Where construction is outside the building, all construction sites, especially locations next to sidewalks, residences, occupied buildings, areas close to schools, parks, recreational or other public facilities must be fenced or boarded to prevent access. Before you start construction, contact the Building Inspector for specific requirements or consult the Building By-law.

Book your building inspections

If you are unsure of when to book an inspection, your building inspector would be pleased to discuss the required inspection program with you, either before or after the permit is issued.

You or your contractor is responsible for booking the Building Inspector — at least 48 hours in advance — to arrange for an inspection after each stage of construction has been completed. Your Building Inspector's name and telephone number are listed on your building permit.

To book a building inspection or contact the building inspector, please leave the following information:

  • Your name
  • Return phone number
  • Address of the construction project
  • Permit number
  • Inspection required
  • Date the inspection must be provided to ensure there are no delays

If you need to cancel a scheduled inspection, contact the Building Inspector as soon as possible.

Refundable Inspection Fee

A Refundable Inspection Fee (RIF) program was established under the Building By-law to address staffing implications and efficiencies relative to the mandated inspections under the Ontario Building Code(OBC).  It applies to NEW Single, Semi-detached and Row Housing dwellings.  In addition to the permit application fee, RIF is associated with operational costs of sending staff to sites where the inspection was not ready or requiring inspectors to carry out in excess of the maximum 15 site visits.  A refund would be eligible less any additional re-inspection fees only if the project is completed within four years from the date the permit was issued.  

It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the assigned building official, whose name is printed on the building permit, to schedule all inspections, including the final inspection.

 Inspection stages

The Building Inspector will need to review your project at several stages during construction. These stages are listed in the Notice to Permit Holder, which is provided to you when the permit is issued. The following inspection stages may apply to your building project.

Inspection stage Description
Sewer Lateral Prior to backfill of sanitary and storm sewers and water service. Your Building Official does not perform the lateral sewers and water service inspections. These inspections may be arranged by Development Bookings at 613-580-2424 Ext 33246 or
Excavation Required prior to placement of concrete footings. The geotechnical soils report confirming soil-bearing capacity may be requested by the Building Official, if warranted by on-site soil conditions.
Plumbing Underground Required prior to covering underground plumbing. (Test required)
Foundation Before the foundation is backfilled.
Plumbing (Rough-in) When plumbing is roughed in (includes drains, waste, vent and water piping system) (test required; direct to where available).
Framing and Mechanical Rough-in When structural framing and stairs, including fire separation and fire stopping components, are completed and the electrical system, fireplace, and ductwork for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, are roughed in.  Exterior of building must be weather-proofed.  A copy of the as-built survey plan must be provided to the Building Inspector at this time.
Air Barrier/Insulation/vapour Barrier When the insulation, air barrier and vapour barrier are installed.
Plumbing Final  When plumbing system, fixtures and appliances are completed (test required).
Occupancy A person may occupy a dwelling that has not been fully completed, provided an Occupancy Permit has been issued by the Building Official. To be eligible there must be no outstanding Building Code Orders and certain building components and systems must be complete and inspected.
Final When the building is complete, at which time the Building Inspector will issue a Final Occupancy Permit.

Other inspections

In addition to the City, other agencies may be involved in inspecting your building during construction.

  • Septic: The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority approves and inspects septic systems in accordance with the Building Code. Approval and acceptance of the installed septic system is required prior to occupancy of the building. Applications, septic permits and the inspection are coordinated by the Ottawa Septic System Office on behalf of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. 
  • Property: By-law provisions concerning zoningbusiness licences, and the maintenance and upkeep of existing buildings, including rental properties, are the responsibility of the City’s By-law and Regulatory Services Branch, Community and Protection Services Department. 
  • Food premises: The City of Ottawa Medical Officer of Health is responsible for inspecting premises where food is handled and prepared. 
  • Fire: The Fire Services Branch inspects existing buildings to ensure they comply with the Ontario Fire Code. 
  • Electrical: These inspections are under the jurisdiction of the Electrical Safety Authority
  • Oil and Gas: Appliances are under the authority of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority
  • Potable Water Well Information: New wells are to be designed carefully to protect our water resources. Wells must be drilled by a licensed well driller, who submits a water well record to the homeowner and the Ministry of the Environment. A copy of the well certificate indicating the potability of the water is required prior to occupancy.
  •  Workplace Health and Safety: In the workplace, health and safety and the regulation of construction sites are under the authority of the Ontario Ministry of Labour
  •  Utility: Ottawa Hydro as well as any other utility is in charge of their buried services. Remember to 'Call Before You Dig’ (1-800-400-2255) to locate buried cables. This FREE service for excavators and homeowners is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Who to contact: Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1

Where to apply: Building Code Client Service Centre

Application Form: Permit to Construct or Demolish