A Building Permit is a document which grants legal permission to begin construction of any new structure, addition or renovation. A permit is issued only when the plans for construction comply with the Ontario Building Code, South-West Oxford’s Municipal By- Laws and other applicable laws and regulations. Building permits are necessary to ensure that zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards and other building standards are met, primarily for health and safety reasons. It is the building and or property owner's responsibility to ensure that a building permit is obtained when required.
The building department is an administration division of the Township that enforces the Ontario Building Code Act and Regulations. The Ontario Building Code (OBC) is a regulation that is set by the province and the Township is the administrator of the Regulations.
The Building industry is an ever evolving, ever changing industry that is always advancing with new techniques and new ideologies. Construction and building can vary greatly from building to building and as such the OBC is not set to be a ‘textbook’ or ‘instruction book’ for how to build as it is a standard to protect the health and safety of the public. The OBC’s main goal is to ensure all persons are protected and safe when in a building or using a space. In 2010 the OBC implemented energy efficiency as a main piece to work towards progressing buildings and their efficiencies.
When is a permit needed?
Building permits are required for the construction or alteration of any building occupying an area greater than ten square metres (108 sq.ft.) consisting of a walk, roof, and floor or any of them or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing works, fixtures and service systems appurtenance thereto.
But why do I need a permit for my own property?
Permits are required to not only protect yourself and other normal users of the space but to protect the public that may enter into a space or protect future owners and users of the space or building. If a person does work or makes changes to a space or building without a permit that person, company or owner may become liable for any future problems or issues that may arise. The process of obtaining a permit is to protect the health and safety of the public for the duration of the building’s life.
Projects that would require a building permit: (this list is not limited to these only)
- Detached garage, shed or accessory structure 108 square feet and greater (measured to the outside face of exterior walls)
- Attached garage, carport, shed or other roof structure of any size
- Decks greater than 24 inches above grade
- Finishing the basement of a house or adding a bedroom to the basement
- Additions to a building
- Enclosures for swimming pools with a depth of 24 inches or greater (including temporary or inflatable)
- Creating a duplex/additional dwelling/apartment (a.k.a. in-law suite, accessory apartment, granny flat)
- Plumbing fixtures added or relocated
- Removing a load bearing wall, column, lintel or beam
- Re-insulating walls, ceilings or floors
- Wood stove or wood burning fireplace
- Installing a new window or door when increasing the width of the existing opening
- Retaining wall that is greater than three feet and three inches in height, pending location
- Solar Panels that are mounted to a building
- Site servicing (water or sewer lines) for all building types
- New residential dwellings
- Demolition of a structure greater than 108 square feet in building area, except for farm buildings
- Tent or group of tents that is, more than 60 square metres (646 square feet) in aggregate ground area, attached to a building, or constructed within three metres (nine feet and 10 inches) of any structure
- Industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-residential construction or alterations or changes of use
- Backflow prevention device for lawn irrigation systems connected to potable water
- Farm buildings including: barns, bins, bunker silos, silos, sheds, etc.
Projects that would NOT require a building permit: (this list is not limited to these only)
- Structure less than 108 square feet measured from the outside face of walls (that does not contain plumbing)
- Gas fireplace
- Fence (must comply with zoning regulations)
- Water softener installations
- Painting, wall papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work
- Door and window replacements (within the existing opening, where no structural members are changed, or has no fire resistance rating)
- Installing new shingles on existing roof
- Replacing a plumbing fixture (i.e. toilet, bathtub or sink) with a new fixture in the same location
How do I apply for a building permit?
Building permit applications can be applied for by dropping the completed application off at the township office. Permit applications must be complete prior to it being submitted. In order to make sure that your application is complete there are a number of different checklists that are available to use. Once you have all the completed forms and documentation that is needed, feel free to submit.
Only completed applications will be accepted. If you are unsure or unaware of what is needed to apply please use our checklist as a guideline.
Please note that you do not need to make an appointment to apply for a building permit and please allow for the appropriate number of days for a plans review and permit issuance. For more information see our timeline policy below.
Click here for all available forms for the building department.
How do I book an inspection?
Inspections require 24 hour notice for booking. Please note that specific timing is not always possible but the building department can do their best to accommodate. Please see our timeline policy for more information.
To book please call: 519.485.0477 x228 or ask to speak with Deb Dawson, building department support.