Do I Need A Permit?

A few weeks ago, I talked about the frustrations of finding trades you can trust with any new construction or renovation. Obtaining building permits is another hurdle with most renovations, and many clients don’t know when a permit is required.

You will need a building permit if you plan to:

  • Construct a new building
  • Add an addition to an existing building
  • Make structural alterations
  • 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 or air-conditioning systems
  • Install or reconstruct chimneys or fireplaces
  • Add an accessory structure larger than 108 sq. ft. in area
  • Add a deck more than 24″ above ground
  • Install a wood burning stove/fireplace
  • Add a basement entrance
  • Add a second suite
  • Alter or add new plumbing

What the city is looking for are drawings properly documenting the type of work being done. If any demolition is involved, a drawing showing all proposed demolition work is required. Any new construction requires drawings indicating existing and proposed construction. If any new heating & cooling is required or alterations to existing systems are required, then HVAC drawings from a qualified mechanical engineer are required. Any new plumbing or electrical work will also require drawings from a qualified engineer.

Typically a designer or architect or general contractor can apply for a permit for your project, however they must be qualified to be able to “stamp” drawings as a professional.

I hope this sheds some light on the issue of building permits. Good luck with your renovations and if you have any questions, please drop me a line at

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