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Do I need a building permit?

Submitting Building Permit Applications and the Issuance of Building Permits during COVID-19 - June 7, 2021

Effective June 7, 2021, Building Code Service counters at Ben Franklin Place and City Hall will reopen for personal service by appointment only. This includes the submission of permit applications, payment of fees and the issuance of permits.

For your convenience, complete permit applications will continue to be accepted electronically for smaller building permit applications or couriered for large format hard copy submissions. A curbside drop-off and pickup service is available at our Ben Franklin Place location only (101 Centrepointe Drive).

To follow are various methods for submitting applications:

1. Contactless Curbside Drop-off / Pickup (101 Centrepointe Drive)

A curbside drop-off/pickup service is available for clients only at 101 Centrepointe Drive. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 9 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 3 pm. We are unable to accept drop-offs or pickups outside of these times.

2. Electronic Building Permit Applications (in printable PDF format)

Smaller building permit applications, such as pool enclosures, sundecks, accessory structures, patio tents, finished basements, additions, plumbing only, and secondary dwelling units may be submitted electronically if they are submitted with a maximum drawing size of 11” x 17” (recommended scale of 1/4”=1’-0”). Building permit applications can be submitted electronically via The payment for all electronic building permit applications will be arranged upon submission.

Fee schedule.

Building permit applications for houses, semi-detached, duplexes, and large construction projects will not be accepted electronically. See hard copy requirements above for submission requirements.

Requirements for electronic applications are to be submitted as one-package and include the following:

  • A completed and signed building permit application form
  • A completed and signed Schedule 1
  • Electronic set of scaled drawings for the proposed construction project (minimum recommended scale of 1/4”=1’-0”).

Submission requirements and examples for residential building permit applications can be found at the following:

3. Courier Hard Copy Applications

Clients can submit their complete permit application submission packages with payment (cheque) via courier to:

City of Ottawa - Building Code Services
100 Constellation Drive
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8

Please note that all hard copy applications are to be submitted as a single package and include the following:

  • A completed and signed building permit application
  • A completed and signed Schedule 1
  • Two complete copies of the drawing package for the proposed construction project. Hard copies must be drawn and printed to a legible scale (minimum recommended scale of 1/4”=1’-0”).
  • Payment of application by cheque

All permit submissions will be reviewed for completeness upon receipt. Applications deemed incomplete will not be processed.

Applicants will be advised of the status of their submission within two business days of receipt. This may include a request for additional information. Once an application is deemed complete, the applicant will be notified of their application number and processing will begin.

4. In-person Appointments (Ben Franklin Place or City Hall)

For clients wishing to submit applications, make payments or pick up permits, at either Ben Franklin Place or City Hall, an appointment must be scheduled. Click on the link below to access the appointment scheduler. Note, clients will not be able to enter Ben Franklin Place or City Hall without an appointment and submitting applications electronically is still the preferred method at this time. The appointment scheduler will be available for clients starting June 2, 2021.

Appointment at City Hall – 110 Laurier Avenue West

Appointment at Nepean – 101 Centrepointe Drive

Masks are required to be worn in enclosed public spaces at City of Ottawa facilities as per the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law.

Fee schedule

Helpful tips in completing the building permit application form as a homeowner

Building Permit Application form 

Section F

As a homeowner, Tarion warranty requirements outlined in Section F are not applicable and can be checked as “No”.

Section G (Schedule 1)

The Ontario Building Code, under Part C article 3.2, allows for a homeowner to take design responsibility for design activities and drawings related to:

  • The construction or alteration to the house owned by the person or
  • An ancillary building (garage or shed) that serves the house owned by the person.

The Schedule 1 requirement for this exception must be acknowledged under Section D- Declaration of Designer, 3rd sentence, under the basis for exemption-insert “homeowner”.

Building Permit Application-Section H Completeness and compliance with applicable law

Under Section H, any declaration labelled as “No” will not permit the application from being processed. Exception during the COVID-19 situation, payment is not being requested at time of application, therefore the second line may be checked as “No”.

Application/Permit Fees and Payments

Currently the only method of payment for Building Code Services applications and permits is by cheque.  

Issuance of Permits

Permit applicants will be contacted when a permit is ready for curbside pickup.

Clients may contact Building Code Services at 613-580-2424, ext. 29312 or email for questions regarding their permit application.

Building Inspections

For public and inspector safety, Building Code Inspections staff will not enter occupied areas of the following building types for the purposes of carrying out their duties:

  • Personal dwellings, including homes, apartments and condo units
  • Long-term care facilities, seniors’ residences and retirement homes
  • Hospitals
  • Daycare facilities.

Permit holders are encouraged to speak directly with their assigned inspector regarding options for an in-person inspection. Inspectors are currently practicing enhanced health and safety protocols, including physical distancing, while on site.

Development Information Officers

If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please call 613-580-2424 ext. 23434 or

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 situation, the processing of applications may be delayed. We thank you for your understanding and patience.

The COVID-19 situation is very fluid. For up-to-date information regarding building and renovating in Ottawa, please continue to visit

Building Permit Projects

Under the 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). The following list provides examples of common projects that require building permits. If the scope of your project does not appear on the list below or you are unsure of the permit requirements please contact Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1 for more information. 

Other Projects requiring building permits

  • Change over from septic to sanitary sewer
  • Green building initiatives, such as:
    • Storm and grey water use
    • Roof top storm water retention systems
    • Structures used in the support of a wind turbine generator with a rated output of more than 3kW
  • Interior and exterior structural alterations, such as:
    • adding or removing walls, i.e., creating different room sizes and/or uses
    • one- and two-storey additions
    • new windows where there were none before
    • enlarging or relocating a window or door
  • Plumbing - Alterations, additions or extensions to a plumbing system (except replacing existing fixtures)
  • Structural foundation repairs and drain tile replacement
  • Structural repairs or alterations

Rural Projects

  • Hoop structures (i.e. fabric covered buildings)
  • Farm use buildings - barns, silos, manure storage structures (excluding earthen structures)
  • Riding Arenas

If the scope of your project does not appear on the list above or you are unsure of the permit requirements please contact Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1 for more information. You can also email

Where to apply: Building Code Client Service Centre

Application Forms: Application to Construct or Demolish

Adding an apartment (Secondary Dwelling Units)

Adding a single, self-contained rental apartment to your home provides your family with an additional source of income and provides your community (or a member of your family) with another source of affordable housing. These apartments – technically called secondary dwelling units  – are regulated by the Zoning By-law.

Learn More

Adding a Coach House (Secondary Dwelling Units in an Accessory Structure)

A Coach House means: A separate dwelling unit that is subsidiary to and located on the same lot as an associated principal dwelling unit, but is contained in its own building that may also contain uses accessory to the principal dwelling. These new housing units are permitted in Ottawa's urban, suburban and rural areas subject to Section 3.1 of the Official Plan and Section 142 of the Zoning By-law

Learn More


Under the 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).

The following are examples of additions:

  • Sunrooms
  • Solariums
  • Attached Garages
  • Porches
  • One and two storey additions
Learn More

Backflow Prevention Program

Effective January 1, 2018

For an overall description of Public Works-Environmental Services’ Backflow Prevention Program and prior to applying for a building permit please refer to Backflow Prevention Program or email

Learn More

Backwater Valves

All new single, semi detached, row house and townhome dwelling units in the City of Ottawa require the installation of backwater valves (BWVs) on sanitary service laterals (sanitary building drains). 

Learn More


Under the 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).

Learn More


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 applicable law, including the Ontario Heritage Act, the Zoning By-law and in some areas, the Demolition Control By-law. The review will also identify any legislative or safety requirements that may need to be adhered to during or after the demolition of the structure. Clearance authorization from utilities confirming services have been appropriately disconnected or capped must be obtained as well..

The demolition of certain building types (silos, and barns) and non-load bearing interior partitions does not require a demolition permit.

Any person who commences demolition prior to the issuance of a Permit to Demolish shall, in addition to any other penalty imposed under the Act or Building Code, pay a non-refundable administrative surcharge fee as set out in Schedule "A" of the City of Ottawa, Building By-law 2014-220.

Learn More

Detached garages and sheds

Construction of an accessory building (detached garages and garden sheds), including pre-fabricated buildings, occupying an area greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet) requires a building permit.

Learn More

Finishing a basement

Under the 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).

Learn More

Fireplaces and woodstoves

A Building Permit is required for the installation of a:

  • Masonry fireplace /masonry chimney
  • Woodstove and chimney
  • Pellet stove (wood, corn, grain, etc.)
  • Fireplace insert /chimney liner
  • Pre-manufactured fireplace and chimney
Learn More

Septic Systems

The Ottawa Septic System Office (OSSO) of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority coordinates the review and approval of any septic system installed, altered or repaired, anywhere in Ottawa. Pick up an information package (which includes the required application forms) from OSSO, or from the City's Client Service Centres.

Learn More

Solar Collector Systems

A building permit to install solar collector systems with a face area equal to or greater than 5 m² on any building except as provided below. Solar collectors consist of either photovoltaic systems used in the production of electricity or solar thermal collectors used for air or water. “Face area” of a collector system is considered the aggregate area of all panels or modules, either in a series or an array, mounted on a building.

Learn More

Solar Hot Water Systems

The Ontario Building Code distinguishes between Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDHW) systems that are factory-packaged and non-packaged systems.

Learn More

Tents, patios, awnings and canopies

A building permit may be required for temporary tents, patios, awnings and canopies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information and requirements on tents and patios can be found on the Right of Way web page. The following outlines the requirements for tents, patios, awnings and canopies including exemptions for when a building permit would not be required:

Learn More

Projects not requiring Building Permits

Some projects are exempted from having to obtain a building permit, however, your project must still comply with the Ontario Building Code and any applicable law, such as the Zoning By-law.

A detached accessory structure (gazebo, tool shed, etc.) that measures less than 10 square metres (approx.108 square feet) does not require a building permit.

Designated Heritage Buildings or buildings located within a Heritage District Overlay are not subject to exemptions and require that you contact a Building Client Service Centre representative for specific information.

The following is a list of projects that are exempt from having to obtain a permit:

  • Installing asphalt shingles on a roof
  • Damp proofing of existing basements
  • Replacing doors or windows (provided they are in the same size opening)
  • Replacing kitchen or bathroom cabinets (provided plumbing fixtures remain in same location)
  • New flooring
  • Installation of air conditioning units or heat pumps
  • Replacing an existing hot water tank
  • Fences (not enclosing a pool - see Pool Enclosure By-law 2013-39)
  • Pool heaters
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping
  • Deck less than 24 inches above grade, except main entrance

If you are unsure that the scope of your project does not require a building permit please contact Building Code Client Service Centre or 3-1-1 for more information. You can also e-mail

New COVID-19 procedures

Where to apply: Building Code Client Service Centre

Application Forms: Permit to Construct or Demolish, Pool Enclosure, Permanent Sign on Private Property, Access to Building Permit Records, 911 Blade