Home renovations are quite popular in Toronto, but before you start planning the project it’s important to know if any building permits are required. Without the necessary permits you may be faced with fines or legal action. In some instances, the completed work may even need to be removed. According to the City of Toronto’s Building Code Act, a building permit is needed for the demolition or construction of any new building as well as for the material alteration of all existing structures and buildings.
This means there are laws in place for home renovation projects as they need to comply with the local regulations concerning zoning, electrical, plumbing, and building work. If the projected renovations meet with these bylaws then a permit will typically be issued. In addition, City of Toronto inspectors will look over the job to make sure everything is done according to the permit.
When a Permit is Needed
These are some of the more popular renovating projects that require a permit in the City of Toronto.
You’ll need a permit if you plan on renovating your basement by adding an entrance or a room as well as for altering or installing plumbing/heating systems. Other types of structural work also require a permit such as underpinning and excavating.
If you plan on building a pool house, solarium, workshop, garden shed, carport or detached garage you’ll need a permit if the structure will be bigger than 10 square meters. The same is true if you want to add an attached garage, porch, sunroom, or additional floor to the house.
A permit is needed for a deck if it’s more than two-feet above the ground as well as for enlarging doors and windows and removing or adding walls. In addition, you also need permission for installing a wood-burning stove/fireplace/chimney as well as making environmentally-friendly improvements including installing a green roof, solar systems, and storm-water systems.
If you plan on changing the use of a structure, such as turning your home into an office or changing it to a multi-dwelling building then you’ll require a permit.
When a Permit isn’t needed
There are some instances in which a building permit isn’t needed such as replacing or adding insulation or building a retaining wall which is under a meter in height, but the renovations still need to respect the local zoning bylaw.
You don’t need a permit when renovating a basement if you’ aren’t adding an extra room, new plumbing, or doing any material/structural work.
If you’re building a freestanding deck outside your house and it’s a maximum of two-feet above the ground then you don’t need a permit.
If you plan on installing sky-lighting in a home which is under four stories high and only one rafter needs to be removed, you won’t need a permit.
Building permits come with fees and you’ll also be charged an hourly rate for an inspection. For the most up-to-date costs, it’s recommended that you contact the City of Toronto.
If you begin renovating your home without the required permits you could face financial penalties over $25,000, depending on the nature of the infraction. In addition, your renovation work may be stopped and any project that has already been completed may have to be removed.
It’s certainly better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to obtaining building permits for renovations. This is just a general list and it’s highly recommended that you check with the City before starting any renovation projects. Or better yet, if you need help with your home renovations please feel free to contact us at York Construction Company and let us take care of all the required permits.
Have questions about your next renovation project? Contact York Construction today, we can walk you through the process and advise you on permit needs. We also offer a free in-home consultation.