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Do I need a building permit?

Submitting Building Permit Applications and the Issuance of Building Permits during COVID-19 - Update July 3, 2020

Effective July 6, 2020, Building Code Service counters at Ben Franklin Place and City Hall will be open 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 to Ben Franklin Place or City Hall.

To protect the health and safety of our staff and visitors, safety protocols are in place. Sneeze guards have been installed, physical distancing markers have been affixed to the floors and hand sanitizer dispensers are available.

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.  Effective July 15, 2020, masks are required to be worn in enclosed public spaces at City of Ottawa facilities as per the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law.

Appointment at City Hall – 110 Laurier Avenue West

Appointment at Nepean – 101 Centrepointe Drive

Below is information with respect to:

  • Submitting Building Permit Applications
    • Schedule an in-person appointment
    • Electronic
    • Courier
  • Fees and Payments
  • Issuance of Permits
  • Building Inspections
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Submission of Building Permit Applications

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.

Hard Copy Applications

Clients can submit their complete permit application submissions via a personal appointment at Ben Franklin Place or City Hall Client Service Counters or by courier with payment (cheque) to:

City of Ottawa - Building Code Services
101 Centrepointe Drive
Ottawa, ON K2G 5K7

or

City of Ottawa - Building Code Services
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1

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

Fee schedule 

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 buildingpermits@ottawa.ca. 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:

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

The preferred method of payment for Building Code Services applications and permits is by cheque. Should you wish to inquire about alternative payment options please contact us at 613-580-2424, ext. 29312 or buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

Issuance of Permits

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

Clients may contact Building Code Services at 613-580-2424, ext. 29312 or email buildingpermits@ottawa.ca 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 reach out as follows:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What construction activities are permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Effective May 19, 2020, all construction can resume, as essential workplace limits for construction have been lifted by the Province of Ontario.

Are residential additions or renovations allowed?

Yes.

Is the construction of new single detached homes, semi-detached homes or townhomes allowed?

Yes.

Is the construction of residential apartment and condominium buildings allowed?

Yes.

Can I obtain a Pool Enclosure Permit at this time?

Yes. More information.

Can I obtain a Sign Permit?

Yes. More information.

Can I access building or sign permit records?

Yes. More information.

Who should I call about unsafe work practices on construction sites?

To file a complaint or call to report unsafe work practices, call 1-877-202-0008.

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

Future updates may occur as corresponding Provincial emergency orders are amended.

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

Rebuilding or repairing flood damage in your home

Below is a list of questions you may have about rebuilding or repairing flood damage in your home. Please contact City of Ottawa's Building Code Services if:

  • You are unsure whether you need a Building Permit
  • Your home or any other structure on your property has experienced structural damage
  • You want to arrange for a Building Inspector to visit your property
  • You have any questions at all about rebuilding, or need clarification on any of these points

Phone: 613-580-2424 ext. 29312, between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm for any Flood/Tornado Building Code Services related inquiries.

Email: buildingpermits@ottawa.ca

Home Safety Quick Reference Guide [ PDF 56 KB ]

How do I obtain a Building Permit?

A Building Permit may be obtained by visiting any Building Code Client Service Centre. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • 110 Laurier Avenue West
  • 255 Centrum Boulevard
  • 101 Centrepointe Drive
  • 580 Terry Fox Drive
  • Metcalfe, 8243 Victoria Street, open one day a week on Tuesdays
  • Kinburn, 5670 Carp Road, open one day a week on Wednesdays
  • North Gower, 2155 Roger Stevens Drive, open one day a week on Thursdays

My home or cottage has been damaged as a result of flooding. Do I require a Building Permit for the associated repairs?

If your home or cottage has experienced any of the following, a Building Permit is required:

  • Soil erosion adjacent to foundations, settlement of piers or posts, deformation or deflection of structure.
  • Removal of interior finishes and insulation, vapour barriers or air barriers where flood waters have enveloped the lowest habitable floor level.
  • Removal or replacement of structural framing, including support posts, piers, cribbing, beams and joists.

A Building Permit is not required for the following repairs:

  • Replacement of flooring.
  • Removal of drywall or other interior finish to permit drying of insulation.
  • Replacement of windows or doors one-for-one in the same location and size.
  • Replacement of cladding (siding, brick, etc.), deck boards or shingles.
  • Reinstalling displaced exterior stairs, landings or decks that are less than 1.2 metres (approx. 4 feet) in height from grade.
  • Reinstalling displaced accessory buildings such as sheds that are less than 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) in area.

There are many other repairs that may be undertaken without requiring a Building Permit.

How do I know if my septic system has been damaged as a result of the flood?

Your septic system should be used sparingly until the groundwater level has dropped below the level of the drain field and tank. If surface water is still present above the drain field and tank, the septic system should not be used. If you are concerned that the flood may have damaged your septic system, please contact the Ottawa Septic System Office (613-692-3571, info@rvca.ca) to obtain more information.

The Ottawa Septic System Office, of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority co-ordinates the review and approval of any septic system installed, altered or repaired, anywhere in Ottawa.

My home’s foundation is showing signs of structural damage. What should I do?

If structural damage is suspected, it is recommended that you contact a suitably qualified professional (such as a professional engineer) to assess the situation and provide direction on the required repairs.

Does the City of Ottawa have copies of construction plans for my home?

Depending on the age of the home and its location, the City of Ottawa may have copies of the plans for the original construction and/or subsequent renovations. Copies of these plans may be viewed through the Access to Building Permit Records process.

Please note that some older Building Permit information may take several days to retrieve.

Do I need a building permit to reconstruct detached structures on my property?

A Building Permit is required for construction of any structure occupying a space larger than 10 square metres (approx. 108 square feet) in area. This includes reconstructing an existing structure.

When do I have to begin rebuilding structures on my property?

Buildings that have been damaged as a result of the flood are not necessarily subject to a timeline for reconstruction, however access to severely damaged structures must be reasonably restricted in order to ensure safety.

Can I rebuild my home on its existing foundation?

An existing foundation may be used when rebuilding a house provided the foundation is in good condition and capable of supporting the imposed loads. A professional engineer may be required to confirm if reuse of the existing foundation is appropriate.

Can I rebuild retaining walls that were damaged or destroyed in the flood?

Questions about rebuilding retaining walls for homes that lie within flood plains should be directed to the appropriate local Conservation Authority.

Note: Any changes to your lot grades, driveway and/or buildings may also require a permit from the local Conservation Authority.

What happens if I don’t get a building permit?

By authority of the Building Code Act, a property owner is required to obtain a Permit prior to construction or renovation. Obtaining a Building Permit ensures that the minimum standards for health and safety, fire protection, structural adequacy, energy performance, and accessibility are met. Failure to obtain a Building Permit for construction may result in enforcement under the authority of the Building Code Act and, in the case of a building failure or loss, insurance coverages may be void.

Do I need a Building Permit if my front porch was damaged?

A Building Permit is required for the structural repair of buildings, including their associated porches, sunrooms, additions and decks.

How do I arrange for a Building Inspector to attend my property for an inspection?

Building Code Services will conduct inspections of homes affected by the recent flooding in order to determine whether the homes are fit for safe occupancy and to provide information on the Building Permit process, as necessary. Inspections will be scheduled once the waters have receded to safe levels.

How quickly can an Inspector attend my home or business for an Inspection?

Once flood waters have receded to safe levels, Building Code Services will make every effort to attend to your home or business as promptly as possible. Inspections will be scheduled within one business day following a request; however, priority will be given to properties where flood damage has compromised the structural integrity of dwellings.

Do I need any approvals other than a Building Permit?

It is most likely that your property is in the flood plain overlay in the City’s Zoning By-law. Properties in the flood plain overlay should note the following considerations.

Home or cottage

Should you wish to move the location, increase the size and /or change the configuration of the building, you may need planning approvals through a Zoning By-law Amendment or Minor Variance.

Accessory Buildings (i.e. sheds, detached garages)

Provided the accessory buildings are further than 30 metres from the watercourse, only one storey, and the total floor area for all accessory buildings is less than 50 square metres, no planning approvals are required.

For accessory buildings that do not meet the criteria noted above, you may need planning approvals through a Zoning By-law Amendment or Minor Variance.

Be Careful When Pumping Out Flooded Basements

Removing all of the water at once may cause serious structural damage to the house.

The water must be drained slowly to equalize pressure on both sides of the wall. The water in your basement is pushing back. If you drain your basement faster than the water in the ground is draining, the outside pressure will be greater than the inside pressure and may cause the foundation, basement walls or floor to crack or rupture.

  • Begin pumping when floodwaters are no longer covering the ground outside.
  • Pump out one foot of water. Mark the water level and wait overnight.
  • Check the water level the next day. If the level went back up (covered your mark) it is still too early to drain your basement.
  • Wait 24 hours and then pump the water down one foot again. Check the level the next day.
  • When the water in the basement stops returning to your mark, pump out two to three feet and wait overnight.
  • Repeat daily until all the water is out of the basement.
  • It is recommended, that for residents on sandy soils, during pumping of water from the basement the homeowner should keep an eye at the end of the discharge lines to ensure that sand is not being discharged along with water from the basement, as it may be an indication of the sand bearing soil being drawn from below footings. It is suggested, that when pumping water from the basement, to set pumps on the slab instead of pumping directly from the sump pit until the water in the basement has been removed.

For further information, please visit Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Tornado/Windstorm Damage - Frequently Asked Questions

Building Code Services Fees

The City of Ottawa has suspended demolition and building permit fees for those residents affected by the tornadoes of Friday, September 21, 2018.  The suspension of fees include the Permit to Demolish, Permit to Construct, Applications for Access to Building Permit Records, Fees for 9-1-1 Replacement Blade Signs and Sewer Permit Fees for affected residents. 

My home has been damaged as a result of the tornado.  When is a Building Permit required for the associated repairs?

If your home has experienced any of the following, a Building Permit is required:

  • Deformation or deflection of structure.
  • Removal, repair or replacement of structural framing, including trusses, rafters, support posts, piers, beams and joists. 

If you are unclear whether or not a Building Permit is required to address your specific scenario, please contact Building Code Services.

My home has been damaged due to the tornado.  Are there any scenarios not requiring a Building Permit for the associated repairs?

A Building Permit is not required for the following repairs:

  • Replacement of flooring.
  • Removal of drywall or other interior finish.
  • Replacement of windows or doors one-for-one in the same location and size.
  • Replacement of cladding (siding, brick, etc.), deck boards or shingles.
  • Reinstalling displaced exterior stairs, landings or decks that are less than 1.2 metres (approx. 4 feet) in height from grade.
  • Reinstalling displaced accessory buildings such as sheds that are less than 10 square metres (approx. 108 square feet) in area.
  • Repairs to sheathing and shingles.

There are many other repairs that may be undertaken without requiring a Building Permit.  If you are unclear whether or not a Building Permit is required to address your specific scenario, please contact Building Code Services.

Where do I obtain a Building Permit?

A Building Permit may be obtained by visiting any Building Code Client Service Centre.

  • 110 Laurier Avenue West
  • 255 Centrum Boulevard
  • 101 Centrepointe Drive
  • 580 Terry Fox Drive
  • 8243 Victoria Street
  • 5670 Carp Road
  • 2155 Roger Stevens Drive

 

My home is showing signs of structural damage as a result of the tornado.  What should I do?

If structural damage is suspected, it is recommended that you contact a suitably qualified professional (such as a professional engineer) to assess the situation and provide direction on the required repairs.  Please contact Building Code Services for more information on how to proceed if structural damage is suspected.

How do I obtain a Building Permit?

A Building Permit may be obtained by visiting any Building Code Client Service Centre. For information regarding processing, submission details, forms etc., please contact Building Code Services or visit our website.

Does the City of Ottawa have copies of construction plans for my home?

Depending on the age of the home and its location, the City of Ottawa may have copies of the plans for the original construction and/or subsequent renovations.  Copies of these plans may be viewed through the Access to Building Permit Records process. Please contact Building Code Services for more information, or visit our website. Please note that some older Building Permit information may take several days to retrieve.

Do I need a building permit to reconstruct detached structures on my property?

A Building Permit is required for construction of any structure occupying a space larger than 10 square metres (approx. 108 square feet) in area.  This includes reconstructing an existing structure.

How much time do I have to begin rebuilding structures on my property?

Buildings that have been damaged as a result of the tornado are not necessarily subject to a timeline for reconstruction, however access to severely damaged structures must be reasonably restricted in order to ensure safety.  Please contact Building Code Services for more information if you have severely damaged structures on your property.

Can I rebuild my home on its existing foundation?

An existing foundation may be used when rebuilding a house provided the foundation is in good condition and capable of supporting the imposed loads.  A professional engineer may be required to confirm if reuse of the existing foundation is appropriate.

Why do I need a Building Permit?  What happens if I don’t get one?

By authority of the Building Code Act, a property owner is required to obtain a Permit prior to construction or renovation.  Obtaining a Building Permit ensures that the minimum standards for health and safety, fire protection, structural adequacy, energy performance, and accessibility are met.  Failure to obtain a Building Permit for construction may result in enforcement under the authority of the Building Code Act and, in the case of a building failure or loss, insurance coverages may be void.

Do I need a Building Permit if my front porch was damaged?

A Building Permit is required for the structural repair of buildings, including their associated porches, roofs, sunrooms, additions and decks.  Please contact Building Code Services if it is unclear whether or not a Building Permit is required for your project.

How do I arrange for a Building Inspector to attend my property for an inspection?

Please contact Building Code Services to discuss your specific situation and arrange for your inspection. 

How quickly can an Inspector attend my home or business for an Inspection?

Building Code Services will make every effort to attend to your home or business as promptly as possible.  Inspections will be scheduled within one business day following a request, however priority will be given to properties where tornado damage has compromised the structural integrity of dwellings.

Where can I find information on construction fencing?

Construction Fencing must be provided to enclose the area where existing buildings have been significantly damaged, are unsecured and may cause a public safety risk. This includes open pools, hot tubs and outbuildings.

LOCATION OF FENCING: The fence must be structurally sound and fully surround all of the site’s activities.

HEIGHT OF FENCING: When the site is located 3.0 metres or less from a public pathway or where the public congregates, the fence must be at least 1.8 metres high measured from grade outside of the enclosure. The fence height may be reduced to a minimum of 1.2 metres high only if the activity involves a residential building of no more than 3 storeys and is also located more than 3.0 metres from an adjacent public walkway.

EXCEPTIONS: There are certain circumstances where the construction fencing requirement may be exempted. Please contact the Building Official noted on the inspection report prior to applying these exceptions. These activity site conditions may be:

  • Low Hazard Areas/Areas of Low Human Occupancy:
    • large lots in the rural areas where the neighbouring properties are sufficiently far apart, and the public does not have any reason to frequent the site.
  • Site Activities Are Contained Within Secured Premises:
    • where the openings into the building are secure when the site is not attended.
  • Activity Has Progressed To A Stage That No Longer Requires Protection
  • Existing Fencing Is In Good Order and Already In Place

CONSTRUCTION SPECS: There are several acceptable options for the fencing that the property owner/permit holder may elect to construct. These are:

  • 12.5mm thick exterior grade plywood, wafer board or OSB, close boarded
  • PVC plastic mesh safety fence supported top and bottom
  • galvanized chain link
  • prefabricated modular fencing of welded metal frame with wire mesh infill
  • combination of the above with equivalent performance level
  • smooth exterior face to deter climbing
  • no openings in the fence that will allow a spherical object of 100mm to pass through
  • gated entry/exits must be clearly identified and securely closed and locked during off hours
  • the fence must comply with the applicable OHSA provisions for “Public Way Protection” where applicable

Questions concerning the above should be directed to the Building Official noted on the inspection report, or by calling 613-580-2424, ext. 29312

Construction and Health and Safety Resources:

Ministry of Labour Health & Safety contact centre: 1-877-202-0008

Owner’s Duties-Designated Substances on construction projects (IHSA)

Ontario Ministry of Labour - Asbestos FAQs

Health Canada - Asbestos in the Home

Canadian Centre for Occupational Heath and Safety

Directory to the Environmental Abatement Council of Ontario

Contact:

Building Code Services Tornado Information Line:  613-580-2424 ext. 29312
Note:  This line is only for queries related to the Tornado
Email: buildingpermits@ottawa.ca

For all other Building Code Services inquiries, please call 3-1-1.

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 buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

New COVID-19 procedures

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

Addition

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 backflow@ottawa.ca.

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

Decks

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

Demolition

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 for restaurants and retail businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information on patios or tents can be found on the Right of Way page. The following outlines 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 buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

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