Planning on making some changes to your house or property?
Most people know that to perform major renovations – adding a section on the back of your house, for instance, or topping up a bungalow to make it a two storey home – you need a building permit.
However, you may be surprised to find out that you need a building permit from the city even for changes that you consider minor, such as fixing a porch, installing or altering plumbing, moving partitions or load-bearing walls, etc..
It is important to be informed as to whether you require a building permit for whatever renovations or even minor home changes you plan, as this can affect several things.
To begin with, a building permit and the associated costs need to be included in your budget. You will also need to have it signed off on by a building inspector once the work is complete (a basement apartment, for instance, or even the addition of a window or door, may have building and/or fire codes to be met).
You may also face obstacles when selling or when attempting to insure a home if work has been done and no permit was obtained, if it was necessary to do so. For these and other reasons, always be sure to check with the City of Toronto (or whatever district you are in), to cover your bases, apply for and obtain whatever permits you need before you begin work on your home.
Buying a house or property that needs renovations?
It’s always a good idea to check with the City of Toronto (or whatever region you are in) beforehand and ask about generic possibilities; better to have a preliminary discussion with someone before you sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale than to go through with an offer and property purchase only to find out that your desired renovations (a second dwelling/income apartment is a good example) are not permitted by a local zoning by-law, etc.. If building permits are available for what you want to do, hopefully others have done so in the same neighbourhood and there will be a precedent.
Follow this City of Toronto link to begin your investigation as to whether or not you need a building permit for planned renovations.