If you are planning a home addition to your residential property in Toronto, you are probably going to need to apply for a building permit before the construction company you hire can start work. However, not all home improvement projects require a building permit so we have created this handy guide to help you determine if one will be necessary for the work that you have in mind. If after reading it you still have questions about your plans, please feel free to call or email us and we will do our best to answer them. Alternatively, you can contact the Toronto Building team directly and ask them for the information you require.
Home Additions That Require a Building Permit
Among the home improvement projects for which a building permit is required, are the following:
- Second or Third Story Additions – If you are planning to extend your property upwards, i.e. add an additional story, you will definitely need to apply for a building permit before you can start work on your project. Such additions often involve major structural alterations, including the strengthening of foundations, which is why planning permission is always required.
- Solarium – A new solarium may not seem like a large construction project and in most cases it isn’t but you still need a building permit before you can begin work on one. The same applies to covered porches and decks as they are home additions that materially alter the external appearance of your property. Even an uncovered deck requires a permit if it is going to be more than 60 centimetres above the ground on which it is constructed.
- Attached Garage – If you would like to add a garage to your property, so that you can park your car and walk straight into your home in the cold winter months, you will need to apply for a permit before you get started. This is because, in common with solaria, covered decks and porches, it will affect the external appearance of your home.
When a Permit Is Not Required
Some types of home additions or improvements do not require a building permit, including those listed below:
- Basement Remodeling with No Plumbing or Structural Alterations – If you are planning to create new living space by remodeling your basement, you will only need to apply for a building permit if you wish to include plumbing in the new living area or you will be making structural alterations, such as underpinning the foundations, to facilitate the remodeling project.
- Uncovered Decks 60cm or Less Above the Ground on Which They Are Erected – For home additions or improvements consisting of backyard decks that are uncovered and do not exceed 60cm in height, there is no need to apply for a building permit before construction work starts.
- Replacing Existing Windows & Doors – If you are re-purposing a space that was perhaps previously used for storage and you want to install new windows and doors to make it more attractive, it will not be necessary for you to apply for a permit to do so (assuming window or door dimensions remain unchanged).
Applying for a Building Permit
For a full list of what type of home additions and improvements require a building permit you can contact the local authorities. Assuming that you need one, you will have to submit a site plan, floor plans, and a roof plan if applicable, along with detailed elevations and sections. If you decide to use VitzReno for your home improvement project, we will, of course, take care of all the necessary paperwork on your behalf.