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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:

Update

Fact Sheet [ PDF 122 KB ]

Tents, awnings and canopies require a building permit unless exempted below.

Council has extended the Temporary Zoning By-law amendment for patios on private property to December 31st to align with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s (AGCO) temporary extension for liquor licensing. The City continues to engage in discussions with the Province regarding the need for a continued AGCO temporary extension into 2021. Tents to remain erected beyond this date will be subject to the current and amended Zoning By-Law. For site specific Zoning inquiries, contact a Development Information Officer listed below.

The following exemptions are applicable to tents, patios, awnings and canopies:

Tent Exemptions

A tent or group of tents is exempt from a building permit if all the following are met:

  • The tent or combination of tents is not more than 60 m2 in aggregate ground area,
  • The tent is not attached to a building, and
  • The tent shall be constructed more than 3 m from all other structures, including buildings on the same property.

Regardless of the exemption for a building permit, the structure and its components, connections and fabric must be designed to resist snow and wind loads for Ottawa. As per the Ontario Building Code, an allowance for the removal of the snow should not form part of the design. All fabric, textile or film is required to be certified to CAN/ULC-S109 “Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films” or NFPA 701 “Fire Tests for Flame Propagation”.

Awning or Canopy Exemptions

An awning or canopy is exempt from a building permit if the following are met:

  • The awning or canopy is attached to the building and does not project more than 300 mm from the face of the building.

Patio Exemptions

A patio is exempt from a building permit if all the following are met:

  • The patio structure is supported directly on the ground (not raised nor constructed on deck blocks),
  • The patio must not have an occupant load exceeding the aggregate sum of the occupant loads permitted for interior and exterior spaces,
  • The patio must not adversely impact the existing exiting arrangement from building(s) or patio(s), and
  • The patio must not adversely impact the existing barrier-free accessibility to building(s) or patio(s).

Building Permits

Any tent, patio, awning and canopy that does not satisfy all requirements for an exemption is required to be erected under the benefit of a building permit. Where a building permit is required, site specific pre-consultation with a Building Official is recommended and may be arranged by calling 613-580-2424 extension 14259 or via email at BuildingPermits@ottawa.ca.

Location Requirements

  • Ontario Building Code requires tents constructed under the benefit of a building permit to be located at least 3 m away from property lines and all other structures, including buildings on the same property.

Structural Requirements

  • The structure and all components, connections and fabric, as applicable, are required to be designed by a Professional Engineer. The design must be able to resist all snow and wind load requirements for Ottawa.

Fabric, Textile or Film Requirements

  • All fabric, textile or film, as applicable, is required to be certified to CAN/ULC-S109 “Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films” or NFPA 701 “Fire Tests for Flame Propagation”. The certification of the fabric must form part of the design documents submitted for permit.

Mechanical Requirements

  • Tents, awnings and canopies that are intended to be equipped with a fuel fired appliance or heater, as applicable, shall comply with the clearance and ventilation requirements provided by the manufacturer and all applicable standards.

Enclosure Requirements

  • At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers as per Provincial legislation.

The Ontario Building Code outlines the minimum requirements for all building construction and can be viewed on the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website.

Development Information Officers

If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please reach out as follows:

Approximate cost

Permit fees are calculated based on $10.50 per $1000.00 in construction value. The minimum permit fee is $96.00.

Approximate timeline

Approximate Timeline for first review - 5 business days

Upon issuance of the building permit, please contact the Building Inspector, listed on the permit, to discuss required inspections.

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. 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.

Please select a location to book an appointment time:

Laurier Client Service Centre, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Nepean, 101 Centrepointe Drive

Hard Copy Applications

Clients can also submit their complete permit application submissions 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

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.

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.