By Admin 25 May, 2016

Everyday, hundreds of homeowners across Canada undergo renovations to their homes. Some are minor upgrades and others are complete guts and restructures that require Building Permits. HGTV superstars like Mike Holmes have been advocating for years the importance of obtaining a building permit before you start any renovation. In his words, “ Most homeowners leave the building permits up to their contractors. They figure the contractor will get one if the project requires one". Sorry folks, but that’s not the case. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility.

This is why Building Permit & Design Specialists at retained the Digital Marketing Services of WSI eStrategies to help educate homeowners and contractors alike in the city of Ottawa on the importance of obtaining a building permit to protect their biggest financial asset and educate them on the legal ramifications that can occur if a job is not completed to the current municipal building code standards .

WSI eStrategies began by building a simple yet well structured website where both homeowners and contractors can go to find the information and resources they need to help in the building permit process as opposed to the traditional city resources which can be overwhelming and complicated.

This continued partnership, which includes industry elite professionals like Your Reno Guys   and 360 Renos is aimed at educating homeowners about the building permit process and also provides value to local contractors and construction companies by having an accountable partner like Ottawa Building Permits in the construction industry who can fulfill the permit design and application duties on their behalf. This white glove service allows both homeowners and contractors to focus on what’s important to them…making their renovating dreams a reality while also ensuring the clients rights and safety are protected. “It’s a win-win for both the client and the contractor” says Tim Moore, President of Ottawa Building Permits .

For more information on how Ottawa Building Permits can help your contracting business gain a competitive edge on the competition, contact us today!

By Admin 02 May, 2016

I was talking with a contractor lately and he told me that he doesn’t normally get building permits for his construction jobs . I asked him why and here is the list of reasons why he is not an advocate of Ottawa building permits with my replies:

1.     He expressed his opinion “that getting a building permit slows down projects”. I told him that we could acquire a building permits in less than a week. He then explained, “that building permits slow the building process because of the inspections”. I then told him that most of my contractor clients are able to schedule inspections two days before and if the work is done properly, inspections always pass. With a little planning and construction done right building permits do not slow down renovation projects.

2.     He said that, “he doesn’t work with building permits because they cost a lot of money and he would rather have his clients save that money”. I asked him if he knew what the consequences were of completing construction work without a permit. He did not know that the municipality has a right to fine the homeowner and then enforce that the residential owner get a building permit . The necessary inspections may have a large cost associated with them due to exposing the construction that has been covered up. If the work was not performed in an acceptable matter the City of Ottawa may enforce demolition which now more than doubles the work and the cost to the project.

3.     The third reason he gave me was that “getting a building permit through the city of Ottawa would up the municipal assessment of the house costing the homeowner more in municipal taxes”. I explained to him that this is only the case when adding finished space like finishing an unfinished basement. If the house is going through a renovation that is not adding living area, the renovation will not affect the homeowner’s municipal taxes. Finishing a non-finished basement will affect the home’s value, which will affect the municipal tax assessment.

I then asked this contractor if he would encourage someone to drive a car without a driver’s license. He laughed and asked why I was asking him this. I told him that renovating without a building permit is similar to driving without a driver’s license… Both scenarios could potentially harmless unless or until you get caught or someone gets hurt. If caught both scenarios involve fines and potential significant financial loss.

The reality of building or renovating without a building permit is that there are serious and costly consequences. It has never been easier and more cost effective to acquire a building permit as it is now. The Building Services department at the city can help clarify what is required for a building permit or you can hire a company like Ottawa Building Permits who will give you the red carpet treatment so you have no worries and an approved permit in just a few days.

For more information on acquiring a building permit for your Ottawa construction project, contact the expert at Ottawa Building Permits today!

By Admin 15 Apr, 2016

As the snow melts and the days are getting warmer many of us are thinking about upgrading our outdoor space. Ottawa has a very large backyard deck construction industry that keeps many carpenters busy every summer. A few days ago I did business with a local Ottawa carpenter who’s business is predominantly designing and building decks during the warmer months around Ottawa. We discussed a deck that was up against a home and had a smaller deck leading up to the back door of the house. He was under the impression that no Ottawa building permit is required for this deck construction because the main part of the deck is less than 2 feet from grade. A deck lower than 24” from finished grade does not require a residential building permit but if an additional deck is built on top of it the new structure is now higher than 24”. This carpenter that I was speaking with is a very experienced and competent carpenter so he was not trying to hide something but there are many deck builders out there that are trying to hide something. Inferior and illegal deck building is the most common type of non-permitted construction.

Here is a list of illegal deck construction methods that will tell you if your deck is conforming or not

  • If your deck is being supported on deck blocks and not foundations such as sono-tubes or helical piles it should not be physically attached to your house. If your deck is attached to your house it will heave damaging your home and risking to fall and hurt someone.
  • Decks higher than 24” from finished grade need a 36” high railing.
  • Decks higher than 5’ from finished grade need a railing 42” high.
  • Decks should never be built with non-treated SPF lumber. All spruce, pine or fir wood should be treated or else it will rot very quickly. Cedar can be used non-treated to finish a deck.
  • Stairs connecting to the ground should sit on patio stones or concrete pad. If the stairs are sitting directly on the ground they may sink affecting the levelness of the treads and in some cases it may increase the speed of decay of the stair stringers.

If you are considering building a backyard deck you may want to consult the city of Ottawa website or better yet, visit our website for common building permit questions.

It has never been easier to get a building permit in Ottawa for your new sun deck construction. Simply call us and we will take care of everything. We can have the building permit and approved plans delivered to you in less than 10 business days.

By Admin 29 Mar, 2016

Most renovation projects require a City of Ottawa building permit but often homeowner and contractors assume non-is needed.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a panicked homeowner who had went forward with a renovation and didn’t get an Ottawa building permit . This homeowner did the responsible decision by hiring a Designer and a Structural Engineer but was misled by his Engineer who told him that none of the walls being removed were structural so no building permit was required. This is a gray area with most municipalities because some smaller towns have a more lenient or “don’t want to be bothered” kind of approach to renovations. Cities like Ottawa however see renovations in a different light. The City of Ottawa website clearly stipulates that a building permit is required when removing or adding walls. The city’s angle for this is to ensure that the structure of your house has not been compromised but also ensures that other components like heating vents, cold air return vents, plumbing vents and any other infrastructure that can be found in your walls remain conforming. I often see and hear of older homes having ventilation issues due to not having a cold air return on the second floor. Newer homes have multiple return vents on the second floor because it ensures proper air circulation in your home. When renovating, it’s important to do the work properly and getting a building permit will ensure that the minimum standards of the Ontario Building Code are being met.

Getting back to my story – the homeowner went through with the demolition and most of the framing when the contractor noticed that the ceiling joists were being held up by the demolished walls. This is a common structural issue encountered in older home renovations and most likely it would have been questioned and caught during the building permit application . I was asked to acquire a building permit so that the concerned homeowner can be assured his renovation is being done legitimately.

I was involved at the perfect time where I was able to ensure that none of the work contradicted any building code practices and this resulted in smooth going inspections keeping the renovation progression on schedule. Most renovations actually require building permits but if you are unsure I would encourage you to contact the city of Ottawa Building Code Services at 3-1-1 and inquire. The city of Ottawa website also lists projects that require a building permit.  The risks of renovating without an Ottawa building permit are much greater than renovating with a permit.

Ottawa Building Permits provides a full service solution for homeowners and contractors for the building application process. Our service includes an onsite visit to measure to specific locations. We then gather all the information required by your municipality to ensure the application process gets processed as planned. We then submit and pay for the application to the city and once approved, drop it off to the specified location.

Protect your interests and contact Ottawa Building Permits today!

By Admin 16 Mar, 2016

Spring is in the air and some of us are thinking of spending some time on a new backyard deck. In many cases a sun deck can act as an extension to your living space so it would make sense to have an this space meet all the strenuous standards as your interior space. Here is a list of types of decks that need Ottawa building permits in order to construct them.

·     -A deck that has a greater area than 10 square meters

·    - A deck that is greater than 600mm in height

·     -A deck that is attached to your house

·     -A deck that is elevated that provides principal access to a building

Why You Should Insist on a Residential Building Permit

Too many decks are built every year where building permits are not issued so the construction methods are inferior and in many cases illegal resulting in structural failure.

Deck failures usually happen when the deck is being used such as parties where the weight of many people lay on the deck. We can probably all remember parties in our college and university days where loud music and strong beverages were being abused on someone’s backyard deck. I remember one party in particular in Sandy Hill where there were at least 100 people standing on a 40 square meter deck. After the party the landlord explained to me that when he had the deck built he had an engineer size the structure so he can park his SUV on it and the deck would not move. Investing in this type of deck were better than fixing a collapsed deck and/or someone getting hurt.

Many decks are still being built resting on deck blocks, which creates a floating structure that can move with the seasons. This means that you may have to adjust the pillars to maintain a level deck surface. This construction method is fine as long as the deck is not fastened to your house or any structure that have a foundation that reaches below frost. The reason is simple – a structure that has a foundation will not move while a floating structure will so if they are attached together there will be some damage done at the connection.

Most decks now days are being built attached to houses creating a convenient platform outside a patio door or garden doors. This type of deck should be sitting on foundations such as sono-tubes with appropriate footings or pre-engineered helical piles. With these proper foundations the deck can be fastened to the house ensuring a sturdy and level surface.

Railings on sun decks are often designed to be a convenient platform to put a cold drink on but the building code requirements are for safety . The minimum height of a railing is determined by the height of the deck. If the deck is lower than 600mm there is no railing required. The minimum railing height on a deck that is higher that 600mm but lower than 1800mm is 900mm. If the deck is higher than 1800mm but lower than 10m the minimum railing height is 1070mm. The higher the deck the higher the railing… A higher railing will discourage users to climb or sit on it resulting in fewer injuries.

In conclusion, this spring when you are planning the construction of your new deck you should ensure it is built properly and the best way to ensure that is to have a building permit.

For more information regarding the needs for building permits in Ottawa or the Building Permit Application process , contact the experts at Ottawa Building Permits today and let us show you how we can protect your most valuable investment.

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