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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.

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 call 613-580-2424, ext. 29312 or dioinquiry@ottawa.ca

Approximate cost

Permit fees are calculated based on $10.75 per $1000.00 in construction value. The minimum permit fee is $98.00.

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.

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.

There are various methods for submitting applications.

Application Forms: Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish