Building Permit Process - What You Need to Know

Part 1: Understanding why you need a Building Permit

Understanding why you need a Building Permit

Building permits ensure that the municipality has record of all development in the community in order to protect the interests of both the individual and the community as a whole. A building permit regulates construction so that health, fire, structural, and general safety standards are met.

It is illegal to start work without a permit. Anyone who starts work without a building permit is in contravention of the Building By-law and the Building Code Act and is therefore subject to financial and legal consequences.

When do I need to obtain a Building Permit?

Building permits are typically required for, but not limited to, the following projects:

  • New buildings over 10m² (107 ft²)
  • New buildings under 10m² (107 ft²) that contain plumbing
  • Additions
  • Renovations (including finishing a basement)
  • Demolitions
  • Installation of prefabricated structures
  • Installation of mobile homes and park model trailers
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC systems (heating, ventilation air conditioning)
  • Structures designated under Section1.3.1.1 Division A, i.e.:
    • retaining walls in specific circumstances;
    • pedestrian bridges;
    • a crane runway;
    • solar collectors larger than 5m²;
    • signs;
    • exterior storage tanks;
    • mounted dish antenna with output greater than 3kW;
    • an outdoor pool;
    • wind turbine generators;
    • outdoor public spa;
    • permanent nutrient storage facility
    • miscellaneous residential structures (i.e. fireplaces, chimneys, hot tubs, pools including inflatable pools, decks, carports, etc.)
  • Temporary buildings including tents over 60m² (645.6ft²)

What is the Building Code?

The Building Code is a regulation outlining the requirements for construction of new buildings and additions or alterations to existing buildings.  The Code is constantly evolving to reflect changes in technology, new building practices and the needs of the public.

The prime purpose of the Ontario Building Code is the protection of people, to allow them to enter, occupy and leave buildings safely. The standards in the Code are centred on Health, Safety, Accessibility and Energy Efficiency.

What could happen if I don’t obtain a Building Permit?

Failure to obtain a Building Permit prior to commencing construction may place both the homeowner and the contractor in contravention of the Building Code Act, which means both parties are breaking the law.

  1. Once discovered, you will still need to apply for a permit.  A fee will apply for commencing work without a permit and will be charged once the permit is issued.
  2. It is the owner or contractor’s responsibility to notify the Chief Building Inspector (CBO) that the construction is ready to be inspected.  It is an offence if the CBO has not been notified of the readiness for required inspections.
  3. It may be necessary to uncover components of the building so that these items can be inspected (e.g. remove drywall so that insulation and framing can be inspected, etc.). You may need to hire an engineer, at your own expense, to review the completed work that has not had the required inspections.
  4. The Building Code Act also provides the following penalties:
    1. “36. (3) Penalties. A person who is convicted of an offence is liable to fine of not more than $50, 000 for a first office and to a fine of not more than $100, 000 for a subsequent offence.”
    2. “36.-(4) Corporations. Is a corporation is convicted of an offence, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the corporation is $100,000 for a first offence and $200, 000 for a subsequent offence and not as provided is subsection (3).”
    3. “36.-(6) Continuing Offence. Every person who fails to comply with an order made by a Chief Building Official under subsection 14(1) or clause 15.9 (6) (a) is guilty of an offence and on conviction, in addition to the penalties mentioned in subsections (3) and (4), is liable to a fine of not more than $10, 000 per day for every day the offence continues and after the time given for complying with order has expired.”


Part 2: Getting Started

Will there be any restrictions, such as maximum height, lot coverage or building size that I need to take into consideration?

Your permit will need to be reviewed by the Building Department early in the planning stages to ensure that your project meets any requirements under the Municipal Zoning By-law (2011-100)

What is the minimum distance between a septic system and any other structure?

As per Part of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) the following minimum dimension must be maintained:

  • Distance from any structure to the distribution pipes is 5m (16’ 5”)
  • Distance from any structure to the septic tank is 1.5m (5’)

What is a Building Permit Plot Plan?

A building permit plot plan is a detailed scaled drawing of your property indicating the location and dimensions of all existing and/or proposed structures (e.g. new house, pool, shed etc.). The site plan must include but is not limited to:

  • Location of all existing and proposed structures
  • Dimensions of all existing and proposed structures
  • Separation distances between structures, septic and well
  • Proposed/existing location of septic and well (if applicable)
  • North arrow and street name
  • All water courses, ditches, municipal drains (if applicable)
  • Location of non-municipal services (hydro wires, gas lines, etc.)

What is Lot Grading?

All new residential lots created by plan of subdivision, and lots subject to site plan control, are required to comply with the approved lot grading plan.  Lot grading is important because it ensures that the flow of water is directed away from the land owner’s property and that of the neighbouring property. A copy of the lot grading plan will be provided by the Township when the building permit has been issued.  Final lot grading is carried out by the builder once the house has been completed. Upon completion of construction and lot grading, the owner / applicant must submit an As-built Lot Grading Plan and Certification prepared by a Lot Grading Professional (LGP), certifying that the grading on the lot is in conformance with the approved Lot Grading Plan before a final inspection can be approved.  For a list of qualified Lot Grading Professionals, please refer to the Township Lot Grading Policy.


Part 3: Obtaining the Building Permit

How do I apply for a Building Permit?

You can pick up a building permit application at the Township office (2 Milles Roches Rd., Long Sault) or download a copy from the Township website here. It is a good idea to review your proposed construction with staff from Building and Development before you apply. They can tell you what information, drawings and plans are needed to be submitted with your application.

Who should obtain the permit; the property owner or the contractor?

It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that a permit has been issued before work begins on a project. A contractor can apply for a building permit on behalf of the land owner with written consent. Once issued, the permit becomes effective only when payment is received and must be posted on site throughout construction.


Part 4: The Application Process

Preparing the permit forms and support documents

When applying for a building permit you will need to provide forms and supporting documents to complete your application.

The building permit application form is the standard form that is issued throughout Ontario. This form can be completed by the owner or contractor.

The application form consists of the following categories:

  1. Project information
  2. Purpose of the application
  3. Applicant
  4. Owner
  5. Builder (optional)
  6. Tarion Warranty Corporation (Ontario New Home Warranty  
  7. Program)
  8. Required Schedules
  9. Completeness and compliance with applicable law
  10. Declaration of applicant
    1. Schedule 1: Designer Information (to be completed by Designer)
    2. Schedule 2: Septic System Installer Information (Copy of septic permit issued from South Nation Conservation)
  11. Energy Efficiency Design Summary
  12. Plot Plan

What supporting documents are required?

Drawings Required With A Building Permit Application

Please provide 2 sets of plans drawn to scale with the following information: 

Residential/Commercial /Industrial/Institutional

  • Copy of land title (deed)
  • Site plan showing all setbacks, septic and well location (if applicable)
  • Foundation plan
  • All elevations
  • Floor plan
  • Cross sections(s)
  • HRV design
  • Required building details


  • Site plan showing all setbacks, septic and well location (if applicable)
  • Foundation plan
  • All elevations
  • Floor plan
  • Cross sections(s)
  • HRV design
  • Required building details

Accessory Buildings (Over 10m² (107 ft²) i.e. detached garages, sheds, etc.)

  • Site plan showing all setbacks, septic and well location (if applicable)
  • Foundation plan
  • All elevations
  • Floor plan showing all doors and windows
  • Cross section(s)
  • Required building details


  • Site plan showing all setbacks, septic and well location (if applicable)
  • Floor plan including dimensions and material to be used
  • All elevations
  • Required building details


  • All setbacks, buildings and nearest neighbours residence(s)
  • Foundation plan
  • Cross section(s)
  • All elevations
  • Required building details


  • If roof or floor trusses are used, a truss design must be stamped by a Professional Engineer.
  • A floating slab, including greater than 55m² (592 ft²) requires a design stamped by a Professional Engineer.
  • A soils test may also be required if it is deemed necessary.

NOTE:   The Building and Development Department makes every effort to ensure an efficient turnaround time for permit approval. Therefore, it is very important to submit a complete application in order for the review and approval process to be completed as quickly as possible.

Will I get the Building Permit right away?

No. Once your permit application has been received, it will be processed and reviewed to ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

When should I apply for my Building Permit?

It is recommended to apply for your building permit 6 to 8 weeks before your anticipated start date. Although it does not take that long for the Building Department to process your application, it does allow for the unexpected.

What are the most common factors that delay obtaining a Building Permit?

  • Missing information (i.e. application incomplete, dimensions missing)
  • Poor quality of plans (drawings)
  • Volume of applications (greatest volume is received between May and September)


Part 5: Building Permit Fees

How is the cost of a Building Permit determined?

Building permit fees are determined by the value of the proposed construction as detailed in the current Fees and Charges By-law

Depending on the type of construction, there may be a lot grading deposit, an inspection deposit, water and sewer connection fees, entrance permit fees, etc.


Part 6: The Drawings

May I draw the plans myself?

Yes. For some residential projects, such as dwellings, additions, garages, decks, and finished basements, the property owner may draw the plans themselves. With that said, the drawings must be to scale, neat and complete, showing all elevations, floor plan, cross section(s) etc. For all projects a clear understanding of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) must be evident. As of 2012 an Energy Efficiency Design Summary must be attached to all residential dwellings which summarizes the compliance used by a house designer to comply with energy efficiency requirements of the OBC.

If you do not have a clear understanding of the Ontario Building Code, please hire a qualified professional with a BCIN number. A qualified designer can assist with plans and review with Township staff, saving you time and delays through the project.

What is a BCIN?

A Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) identifies a qualified designer. These individuals or companies are listed on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing .

My contractor says they are qualified but don’t have a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN). What should I do?

The contractor cannot provide design services if they do not have a BCIN. Have plans prepared by a designer that does have a BCIN.

What if my contractor offers to do the drawings as long as I complete the Schedule 1?

This is fraud – please find a qualified contractor or designer.

What do I include in the Design Drawings?

In most cases, if you have to ask this question, you should probably hire someone who is qualified to draw the plans for you.

What happens if I want to make a change to my plans?

Any revisions to the approved plans must be reviewed prior to implementing the change. Submit two copies of the revised plans (with date) to the Building Department so that appropriate staff can make certain the changes will comply with Planning/Zoning and Ontario Building Code requirements. Typical examples of changes made after issuing a permit are:

  • Change pitch of roof
  • Increase height of walls
  • Change the engineered truss to conventional framing
  • Add an extra window or change a door opening

Please be aware that re-review of any plans takes time and are subject to the same time allotment as the original permit.


Part 7: Issuing the Permit

How will I know when the Building Permit is ready?

The Township will call you when the permit is ready for pick-up. The permit is effective once paid for. You can pay by cash, cheque or debit card. 

What do I get when I pick up the Building Permit?

  • Building Permit
  • Detailed list of charges
  • List of inspections required
  • Lot grading plan and policy (if applicable)
  • Recycle boxes (new homes only)
  • Water meter (if applicable)
  • Civic number (if applicable)

What do I do during the construction process?

  • Post the Building Permit so that it is visible from the street.
  • Ensure a copy of your plans are available on the construction site
  • Call for inspections when required
  • Notify the Building Department of any changes to your plans before making them
  • Remember to call for a final inspection (613-534-8889 Ext. 233) so that the permit can be closed


Part 8: Inspections

Where and when do I call for inspections?

When you pick up your building permit a list of applicable inspections will be indicated. After each step is completed, please call 613-534-8889 Ext. 233 to book an inspection, at least 48 hours in advance.

Please have the following information available when requesting inspections:

  • Building Permit Number
  • Project Address
  • Type of inspection
  • Requested date of inspection
  • Contact name and phone number

Is it possible to book a specific or general time for my inspection?

No. The Township of South Stormont covers a large territory and there may be many inspections booked. Each day’s route is determined by logical progression from one part of the Township to another. If the inspector gets held up on any one site, the entire schedule after that is affected. As a result, we state that generally, all inspections are conducted between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please schedule your trades accordingly.

Please note that there may be days when this schedule may change.

How will I know whether or not the inspection passed?

The inspector will complete an “Inspection Report” after each inspection. A copy of the inspection report can be faxed or emailed to you upon request.

If the inspection did not pass, make the corrections as noted on the inspection report in order to gain compliance with the Ontario Building Code. After the corrections are made, contact the Building Department to book a re-inspection before proceeding with your project.

What is an Occupancy Permit?

An occupancy permit is your permission to occupy all or part of a building. The Building Code requires an inspection to be made and a permit to be issued prior to persons occupying certain new buildings, which include detached, semi-detached and row houses.

The following minimum requirements for a single-family residence include:

  • The required exits, handrails and guards, fire alarm and detection systems and fire separations must be complete, operational and inspected.
  • Water supply, sewage disposal, lighting and heating systems must be complete and operational
  • Building water systems, building drains, building sewers and drainage and venting systems must be complete, operational, inspected and tested.

What is a Final Inspection?

A final inspection is carried out when the project is completed. The final inspection can take place at the same time as the occupancy inspection but the two can be separate.

In order to close the file and have your deposits refunded, a final inspection is required – don’t forget to call!


Part 9: Other Useful Contacts

Call Before you dig Ontario One Call (Includes Bell Canada, Enbridge, Hydro) 800-400-2255
Electrical Safety Authority 877-372-7233
Enbridge 877-420-8800
Land Registry Office 613-932-4522
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) 613-933-7249
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) 800-667-1940
Ministry of Transportation (MTO) 888-362-1770
South Nation Conservation 877-984-2948
Raisin Region Conservation Authority 613-938-3611
TARION (Ontario New Home Warranty) 877-982-7466
Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) 877-682-8772
Township of South Stormont 613-534-8889


Building Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)