Building Permit Process

The Ontario Building Code Act necessitates a building permit for every construction project that impacts an existing structure, such as replacing plumbing fixtures or relocating permanent stud walls. Residential permit applications require architectural, structural, and HVAC drawing plans. Commercial project applications require architectural, structural, HVAC, plumbing, sprinkler, ceiling and electrical drawing plans. The city reviews building permit applications according to two major categories of compliance: the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and Zoning Bylaw regulations. This marks the beginning of a collaborative process between the city, the client and the designer to produce a set of drawings that meet client specifications, in conjunction with the city codes and policies. Surveyors, engineers, architects and other consultants are involved in this process. Once the city has delivered its evaluation of the project, the architect will work with the client and other consultants, to review any changes required to get an Ontario Building Code approval. Together, this team will help the client decide whether to comply with zoning variances, or whether to submit an application to the Committee of Adjustment (COA). Drawing plans may be submitted and reviewed several times by the city’s regulatory staff. Response time between submissions varies from 10 to 20 business days, depending on the city workload and the remaining action items. For instance, a permit application for a major addition to a residential house may take between one and three months, depending on the city’s workload, and number of re-submissions necessary for the project to move forward.