FAQ: Why Do I Need A Building Permit?

When do I need a building permit?

When ever you are building new, building an addition, or altering any building or structure with an area greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet) a building permit is required. Here is a link from the City of Ottawa with a list of projects requiring building permits. http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/building-and-renovating/do-i-need-building-permit/projects-requiring-building-permit

Why do I need a building permit & how does it protect me?

A building permit allows the municipality to ensure that your project is respecting all laws, rules and regulations. With a permit an experienced city inspector will inspect your job and he will ensure that the work is being done properly. Without a permit you are putting all of your trust in your contractor and no one is inspecting to ensure the work is done right.

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

If caught, the city will issue a “stop work” order and you will need to apply for a permit. Once you have the permit you will need to make all work available for inspections which means walls, floors and ceilings may need to be uncovered. If the work was not completed adequately you will be expected to demolish and rebuild accordingly.

 Who is responsible for the building permit?
The homeowner is legally responsible for obtaining any building permits. The homeowner can assign an agent to apply on their behalf. The agent can be the renovator, project manager or designer. The municipality may ask for a letter of authorization from the homeowner. Once the building permit is issued the actual permit is to be posted in a window so it is visible from the street.

 I am only renovating my kitchen. Do I need a building permit?
Why do I need a building permit if I’m simply replacing my cabinets? You don’t! But if you are adding or removing any walls or if you are moving the sink and dishwasher to a new location you need a building permit. If you are unsure you can contact the City of Ottawa at 311 or email at buildingpermits@ottawa.ca. If you are told no permit is necessary you should ask for a written response for your records.

Why Do I need a building permit if I am simply renovating my outdated bathroom?
A building permit is not required if plumbing rough-in’s are remaining. A building permit is required if you are moving your toilet, if you are moving your vanity and a new rough-in needs to be installed, if you are removing your tub and replacing it with a shower base. A building permit is also needed if you are changing (adding or removing) any of the walls in the bathroom.

Why Do I need a building permit if I am making a bedroom in my already finished basement?
Anytime you are adding or removing walls within your home you will need a building permit. A building permit is especially needed when adding a bedroom in a basement because there are specific building code requirements for bedrooms that you need to abide by. A bedroom requires a window of a minimum size to ensure passage in case of emergency.
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