Knowledge Corner

Guide to the Building Permit Process in the GTA

Guide to the Building Permit Process in the GTA

Planning Your Project: Project planning is important, determining requirements and resources, including whether your project needs a building permit or not. If it is required, then understanding which zoning requirements and applicable zoning bylaw...

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Second Suites: Is it for You?

Second Suites: Is it for You?

Second or 'Secondary' Suites are self-contained residential units which are generally allowed in single detached, semi-detached and townhouses. They are also allowed in ancillary structures (i.e. Garage, laneway house or garden suite).  Many...

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Thinking Energy Efficiency in Homes

Thinking Energy Efficiency in Homes

What is an energy efficient home? Energy efficient homes reduce unnecessary energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and demands for nonrenewable resources. They simultaneously provide healthier living conditions and offer homeowners...

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Building Pemit?

A building permit is a document issued by the body responsible for enforcing the prevailing Building Code in your area. A building permit is necessary when you wish to construct, renovate, demolish or change the use of a building.

Building Code enforcement, including issuing building permits, is generally carried out by municipal building departments, although in the case of on-site sewage systems, enforcement in some areas is conducted by boards of health and conservation authorities.

When Do I Need a Building Permit? When is it NOT Required?

Whether permits are required or not, depends on your project. Different cities/municipalities has their own regulations so it is always best to look them up. For example, you can read up the City of Toronto list here:

When Do I Need a Building Permit or NOT?

What are the submission requirements for building permit applications?

The list of documents and kind of drawings you need to submit for a  building permit varies from different municipalities and the type of project you are undertaking. However, most cities/municipalities require very similar list of documents/drawings for building permit applications. (See the typical list below for reference).

  • Site Plan
  • Floor Plans
  • Elevations and Sections
  • Construction Details
  • Permit Forms

It is always best to check with your local municipality building department or have a professional help in getting a building permit. For example, for renovation work most often you will need architectural, structural and mechanical drawings. In any exterior work like addition projects you need those plus a Site Plan, Grading Plan, Survey and sometimes and Arborist Report (if there are trees that are affected).

Below are some links to GTA cities and their requirements:

City of Toronto     Markham      Richmond Hill   Aurora   Ajax    Brampton   

Oakville    Oshawa    Mississauga   Newmarket   Whitby   Vaughan

What is a Development Permit?

A Development Permit is a permit approved by the Authority (or Authorities) Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) that specifies how development is to occur on a given parcel of land with or without existing buildings.

A Development Permit is required when the property to be developed is situated within a Development Permit Area designated in an Official Community Plan. A Development Permit is not a building permit. A building permit must be obtained prior to any construction.

What is a Stop Work Order / Order to Comply?

A Stop Work Order (SWO) is issued when a building inspector observes unsafe work or conditions on a property. In addition, a Stop Work Order may be issued in conjunction with a violation and when a scope of the construction work is not part of what was permitted.

When you receive an Order To Comply (OTC) stating that your property violates Code, read the order carefully to identify which items:

  • require a permit

  • find contact information for the inspector or supervisor

  • determine what fees may be applied and penalties if not paid on time

  • determine appeal/remediation procedures

Both notices need a professional to assist the owner in resolving any issues raised. Permit Plans is here to put its experience and know-how to offer a solution to this obstacle.

What is the typical process & timeline for a project?

We identified 8 distinct phases/process steps in any project. These steps are not necessarily followed EVERY project and can be shortened per project type and requirements:


  • Zoning Search

  • Preliminary Project & Requirements Review

2. Project Documentation of Existing Conditions

  • Site Visit & Site Measurement (if required)

  • Prepare Existing Drawing for next phase


  • Preliminary Design Review

  • Programmatic studies & Cost analyses

  • Design Reviews with client up to all stakeholder approval


  • Prepare Preliminary Design Drawings

  • Apply for Preliminary Zoning Review Application and revise/update set as per Zoning comments

  • Obtain Zoning Certificate 


  • Use preliminary design to prepare Building Permit Drawings

  • Structural & Mechanical Engineering coordination

  • Create one documents/drawings package for building permit submission


  • Prepare all building permit forms required

  • Submit drawings & all application documents to city/municipality on clients behalf

  • Track, follow-up & ensure application is moving forward through the city process


  • Baby sit the application by monitoring and tracking city reviews as per law timelines

  • Satisfy and comply with any city/municipality comments & revise/update drawings for re-submission

  • Acquire Building Permit Approval


  • Contractor assistance for any questions on the drawing set.  We will respond and clarify any requests for information

  • For any design changes during construction, a permit revision service can be provided