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Construction in the right-of-way


Right-of-way refers to the City-owned portion of a piece of land. It is very often wider than the road and sidewalks that may abut your property and can extend to a considerable extent onto your property. The City maintains a right-of-way wider than the width of the road in the event that a road widening becomes necessary at some point in the future. 

Image showing City right-of-way

Notwithstanding this, a property owner is still responsible for maintaining the City-owned portion of their land, with respect to matters such as grass cutting and snow clearance. The exact extent of the City’s right-of-way can be determined through a Plan of Survey and the City’s GeoOttawa program can provide a rough guide as to the exact extent of the right-of-way.

Right-of-Way Permit Office

The Right-of-Way Permit Office is responsible for the issuance of various permits for construction related activities within the City's right-of-way (ROW). When work occurs within the ROW, it has an impact on mobility within communities and around the city, including disruption to morning and afternoon commutes as well as access to local businesses and residences. It is vital that the City coordinate work within the right-of-way to minimize these impacts.

Right-of-way damage deposit

City streets are essential for movement throughout Ottawa’s communities. Damage to asphalt roads and sidewalks make vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian movement more challenging, and hasten the need for repairs or replacement, and damage to grass and interlock boulevards impacts storm water drainage and the overall aesthetics of a neighbourhood.

Construction activities can present a risk of damage to the abutting street from such things as heavy machinery or material storage. The City has been collecting a Right-of-Way (ROW) Damage Deposit with every building permit application for the construction of a new residential, commercial or industrial building since September 2019.  The purpose of this deposit is to help guarantee that the City’s streets are left in, or returned to, their pre-construction state following completion of the project. In the event the City must repair or clean-up the street after construction, the ROW Damage Deposit will be used to fund this work.

The ROW Damage Deposit is being collected under the authority of the Road Activity By-law No. 2003-445. The ROW Damage Deposit does not apply to:

  • project already subject to Site Plan Control or Subdivision approval
  • where City staff determine there is no risk of damage to the abutting street.

Amount of ROW Damage Deposit

The amount of the ROW Damage Deposit is as follows:

  • single, duplex and triplex dwellings: $3000
  • semi-detached and townhouse: $3000 per unit
  • commercial or industrial building: $3000

The need for the deposit and the amount shall be determined as part of the building permit application at the time of the review of the Grading and Servicing Plan.

The ROW Damage Deposit will be collected as part of the fees payable for the building permit.

Before Beginning Construction

Before construction activities begin on the property, date stamped photographs recording the condition of the street should be taken. This helps to ensure a building permit holder is not held responsible for the repair of damage that existed before the project began.

If there is a need to store materials or stage construction activities on any part of the street, including the grass boulevard, or to construct temporary accesses to the property, the appropriate permits and approvals must first be obtained.

During Construction

Throughout construction, care should be taken to keep the street, sidewalk and boulevard in a condition that allows for the safe passage of motor vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic. The street, sidewalk and boulevard should be kept clean and safe at all times.

If there is any damage to the street, sidewalk and boulevard that must be repaired, a road cut permit must be obtained. This ensures the reinstatement of asphalt and sidewalks is done to City standards.

Prior to requesting an inspection

Ensure all construction works are completed on the property including any street, sidewalk or boulevard repairs. The ROW inspectors will be referencing the approved grading and servicing plan to conduct their inspection to return the ROW damage deposit.

Requesting an Inspection

To schedule an inspection please email with the following information:

  • Address of the property in question
  • Building Permit Number
  • Contact information

Resurfacing Requirement

Where road cuts are made within the roadway pavement as part of the construction, alteration, addition to, or repair of a building, the owner of the property may be required to resurface all of these road cuts.

A resurfacing involves milling and paving the top 40 mm of asphalt to the limits directed by the City.

A property owner is required to resurface cuts within the roadway pavement when there are more than two of these cuts made as part of the construction, alteration, addition to, or repair of a building. Where an existing service must be blanked within the roadway, this is included as a road cut.

When a resurfacing is required, each road cut within 12 metres of another road cut must be resurfaced together. The extent of the resurfacing will be to the nearest lane line, centreline or curb of each cut, as illustrated in the figure below.

Road resurfacing diagra,

All applicants who submit a Site Servicing Plan as part of either a building permit or development application must identify the estimated area of all cuts within the roadway pavement, and if applicable, the area of resurfacing based on the above criteria. In preparing the Servicing Plan, applicants must identify as many utility services as are known, particularly those to be installed in, or removed from the pavement. Further information on how to prepare a Site Servicing Plan can be found at Guide to preparing studies and plans.

Where a resurfacing is required and the project is not subject to Site Plan Control or Subdivision approval, the property owner will be required to enter into a standard form agreement to provide the resurfacing, and post security with the City to guarantee it is completed. The amount of security is based on a rate $50.00 per square metre times the area to be resurfaced.

While City staff will work to identify the requirement for a resurfacing at the time of Site Servicing Plan review, the City can require a resurfacing at any time during the development project if more than two cuts are made within the roadway pavement. Therefore, it is to the benefit of the applicant to identify as many utilities services as possible at the time of Site Servicing Plan preparation to know the extent of any resurfacing requirements.

Over-dimensional vehicle permit

Vehicles that exceed the standard or ordinary legal size and/or weight (as determined by the Highway Traffic Act) that wish to travel within or through the City of Ottawa require an Over Dimensional Vehicle (ODV) permit. Over Dimensional Vehicle Permits are issued under the authority of the Over-dimensional Vehicles on City Highways By-law No. 2003-497. Over-dimensional vehicles are those that meet or exceed the following dimensions:

  • Height: 13’-6’ (4.15m)
  • Width: 8’-6” (2.6m)
  • Length: 68’-9” (21m)
  • Weight: 140,000 lbs (63,500kg)
Learn More

Temporary construction related encroachments (TCEs)

Use of City property for the purposes of storing materials, equipment or other on, above or below the road, boulevard or sidewalk requires a Temporary Construction Related Encroachment (TCE) permit. Temporary Construction Related Encroachments are issued under the authority of the City of Ottawa’s Encroachment By-Law 2003-446.

Learn More

Temporary road closure

When conducting construction works or as part of development in the municipal right of way, a Temporary Road Closure may be required. City approval is required in advance of temporarily closing any city road, sidewalk or bike lane. Additional review is required for the closure of sidewalks and/or bike lanes and as a result may extend timelines to issue a permit.  Temporary road closures are governed by the Road Activity By-law No. 2003-445.

Learn More

Utilities approvals

Municipal consent drawing and circulation requirements

Submissions failing to meet these requirements may be returned to the proponent at the sole discretion of the City.

Circulation requirements

All soft copy documents (not included in Envista/Accela when applicable) shall be sent to the Utility Circulations e‐mailbox at

All packages must include a cover letter describing:

  • Comprehensive description of all work. Include length of installation and dimensions of any and all utility boxes, above or below grade;
  • Street locations and/or Municipal Address;
  • The City / utility project manager, or designated person leading the project*;
  • Clearly indicate if this is a preliminary or final circulation for City projects and, if applicable, for other utility projects;
  • Anticipated construction dates; and
  • Any known utility relocations, and any other information relevant to this aspect of the project anticipated construction dates.

Note For shoring and tieback submissions, both the City PM information and the Building Code Services contact information is required.

Drawing requirements

  • The Central Registry shall be used for all base plans where available. The Central Registry can be reached at or by calling 613‐580‐2424 x44455. It remains the responsibility of the proponent to verify the accuracy of site conditions.
  • Offsets must be shown for any utility within 2m of the proposed work, or on the same side of the ROW.
  • Plant location must be tied to a property line, curb or a permanent structure.
  • Proposed plant must be clearly identified and distinguishable from existing shown plant.
  • Depth of proposed plant and duct configuration must be shown in section or profile.
  • All utility plant / appurtenances within the road allowance must be shown when available per the Central Registry (CR) information. If no Central Registry information is available then a drawing must show proposed utility with ties to property line, centerline of ditch, edge of gravel or asphalt and any above grade infrastructure in the vicinity.
  • A key plan with cross streets and north arrow, must be included with the proposed work.
  • A drawing legend.
  • Drawings must be to scale. Scale shall be clearly indicated (typically 1:250 or 1:500). A bar scale must also be included.
  • Shoring drawings shall include shoring installation details (eg, tie‐backs) in plan and profile if entering the Public ROW above or below grade. Existing utilities in proximity to proposed shoring must also be clearly indicated in plan and profile.

Drawings shall be submitted digitally in PDF format. All plans must be grouped into files of 9.9MB or less (zip compressed packages are acceptable). There can be as many 9.9MB files as required to complete the submission.

An additional hard copy set of drawings may be requested for certain projects, and shall be submitted in one or both of the following formats:

• One full scale (24” x 36”) and/ or half sized scale (11” x 17”) sized set of plans. All hard copy circulation packages, when required, should be sent to the attention of:

Right of Way Branch
100 Constellation Drive, 6th Floor East
Ottawa Ontario, K2G 6J8
Internal mail code 26‐61


City Standards:

  • Ontario Design Guidelines – Water Distribution
  • Ottawa Sewer Design Guidelines
  • MOE Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual
  • Servicing (Site) Guidelines
  • City Specifications and Standards


  • Pool Enclosure – No. 2013-39
  • Private Approach – No. 2003-447
  • Road Activity – No. 2003-445
  • Sewer Connection – No. 2006-513
  • Sewer Use – No. 2003-514
  • Site Alteration – No. 2018-164
  • Tree Conservation – No. 2009-200
  • Water – No. 2013-360
  • Zoning – No. 2008-250