A building permit is formal permission from the municipality to commence construction.
Building permits regulate types of construction allowed in the community and ensure that building standards are met. The building permit process protects each homeowner's interests, as well as those of the community at large, and provides for the erection of safe structures.
By obtaining a permit, you can also take advantage of the professional expertise of Building Department staff. Inspectors are good sources of information and can offer suggestions to help solve construction problems, often before they occur. They have extensive hands-on experience, so try to be around during their visits.
In many cases, your designer or contractor will get permits on your behalf. But remember, it is the building and or property owners' responsibility to ensure that a building permit is obtained when required. Be sure to keep a copy of all permits for your personal records.
The Building Code Act of Ontario defines a building as:
(a) a structure occupying an area greater than 10 square metres (108 sq. ft.) consisting of a wall, roof and floor, or any of them or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures and service systems appurtenant thereto,
(b) a structure occupying an area of 10 square metres (108 sq. ft.) or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto,
(c) plumbing not located in a structure, (c.1) a sewage system or
(d) structures designated in the building code.
You need a building permit if you plan to:
* construct a new building
* renovate, repair or add to a building
* demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
* change a building's use
* install, change or remove partitions and load-bearing walls
* make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
* build a garage, balcony or deck
* excavate a basement or construct a foundation
* install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems or fireplaces
* reconstruct a chimney
You do not need a building permit for:
* fences (other than for swimming pools)
* reshingle a roof, provided there is no structural work
* build a utility shed under 10 square metres (108 square feet)
* install or replace eaves troughs
* replace dry-wall or plaster
* minor repairs to masonry
* damp proofing basements
* kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing changes
* install siding on small residential buildings
* replace existing forced-air furnace or hot water tank (no duct work alterations)
* replacing siding or windows (provided there are no structural changes)
* pool heaters
* painting and decorating
* electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations)
*** Please note that although items listed above may not require building permits other municipal, provincial and federal laws and regulation still may apply. Please ensure structures meet the requirements of the zoning by-law. If you have questions regarding zoning restrictions please call the municipality at 519-631-4860 or the planning office at 519-633-2560.
The Building Code Act states that: “no person shall construct or demolish or cause a building to be constructed or demolished in a municipality unless a permit has been issued therefore by the Chief Building Official.” The Building Code Act also defines ‘construct' to mean the doing of anything in the erection, installation, extension, material alteration or repair of a building which also includes installation of a building unit fabricated or moved from elsewhere.
If you start construction but do not have the necessary permits, you may be ordered to stop work, prosecuted, fined, and even ordered to remove work already done. Your building permit fees may be doubled to compensate the Municipality for the additional work involved in processing your application and inspections. Contact the Municipality of Central Elgin if you are not sure whether you need a permit for your project.
You can make an application for any type of permit during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Central Elgin Municipal Offices located in the Elgin County Administration Building at 450 Sunset Drive.
What is required to obtain a permit?
450 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, ON N5R 5V1