JOHN’S RENO TIPS
A Guide to Building Permits
Navigating the world of building permits can be overwhelming for any homeowner. However, these permits can be a very important part of any home renovation or remodelling project. John Gordon, owner of Your Reno Guys, takes the guesswork out.
First of all, it is important to point out that in Ontario, anyone, regardless of qualifications, can practice construction. In order to increase quality control construction, the Ontario Building Code Act was enacted in 1976 to protect both municipalities and homeowners. There have been many amendments to it over the years. The Code is important to consider in your renovation projects.
There are two main reasons why a homeowner should get a building permit:
- Peace of mind that the work performed meets Building Code standards. A lot of trust must be placed in the renovator to do the plumbing, electric and mechanical work according to Building Code requirements. Because anyone can sell their services as a renovator, a second opinion is of the utmost importance.A city building inspector is very knowledgeable about Building Code regulations and will catch any mistakes.
- Peace of mind for homeowners so there will not be any legal consequences after a renovation. If a renovated home is sold, the new homeowner may sue if the renovations were completed without a permit. Acquiring a permit A Guide to Building Permits after the work was performed can be very invasive and in some cases the space may need to be completely demolished because the bones were not built properly, according to Code.
If you are a homeowner of a newly renovated home where the previous homeowner performed the renovations, it is best to ask for a copy of the construction plans and the building permit. If they cannot be given to you for whatever reason, you can ask the city to supply you with a copy. Fill out an application for a Compliance Summary Report, which will give you the history of the property, what had been applied for and at what time.
The Permit Process
When applying for a permit, the city requires a clear plan of what is being proposed. A plan is necessary when architectural, plumbing and/or mechanical work is being performed. Plans can be drawn by the homeowner or by a registered designer with a Building Code identification number (BCIN) – another measure developed by the government to help ensure that plans are completed in accordance to Building Code standards, making the review process easier and quicker.
Applying for a building permit can be fairly simple. The City of Ottawa website provides a great deal of helpful information to get you started on the right foot. If you are unsure of whether your project requires a building permit, the best way to determine your needs is to email email@example.com or call Building Code Services at 3-1-1. If you are told you require a permit, always ask to have an email sent to you so you have written confirmation.
Common renovation projects that do not require a building permit:
- Painting or applying wallpaper
- Installing new finished flooring (hardwood, tile, etc.)
- Replacing bathroom and kitchen cabinetry (when plumbing, dishwasher location and vents are not being affected)
- Replacing plumbing fixtures when they are staying in the same location
- Building a deck that is lower than 24 inches off the ground
- Complete a building permit application, which can be found on the City of Ottawa website. Bring the completed application along with two sets of plans to any of Ottawa’s Client Service Centres, which can also be found on the City of Ottawa website.
- The fees for building permits are structured as $11 for every $1,000 of forecasted project cost.
- The review period for a building permit varies by the complexity of the project but for residential renovations you should expect 5 to 10 business days.
- Once your permit is issued,it must be posted in a window so it is visible from outside your home. When picking up the permit, it will be explained to you that specific inspections will need to be scheduled as the work is completed.
- Building permits are essential for a successful renovation and city officials have made efforts to make the acquisition process as smooth as possible to ensure homeowners understand the process. Renovating without a permit can be as damaging as driving without respecting traffic signals. Protect yourself and your home by acquiring the proper building permits before your next renovation project.
Don’t miss the upcoming Ottawa Home + Garden Show, March 25-28 at the EY Centre, for more expert tips and advice. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www. ottawahomeshow.com.