building permits

Top 5 Mistakes Homeowners Make While Applying for a Building Permit

If you build a new home or renovate your existing home in Canada, you need to get approval beforehand from the local municipality. So, the first thing you need to get is a building permits.

What is a Building Permit?

In Canada, many rules and regulations govern the construction or renovation of properties. And, you have to follow them during your home renovation or construction project.

In this content, the Ontario Building Code comes into the picture. The code mandates the requirement of a building permit to carry out new constructions, additions, demolitions or structural changes to an existing property of over 10 square metres.

If you undertake such a project, you need to get a building permit for your project.

The body enforcing the Ontario’s Building Code in your area is responsible for issuing building permits.

As we said already, a building permit is an approval document to allow you to construct a property or renovate, demolish or alter the use of a property.

In Canada, municipal building departments are responsible for enforcing the Building Code, including issuing building permits.

How to Apply for a Building Permit?

Before you apply for a building permit, you should know the procedure of applying for one.

First, you need to collect an application form for applying for a building permit. You can get an application form from the municipality office or the website of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of Canada.

You should submit the filled application form to the municipality, but not to the provincial government. And, you need to attach drawings, plans, and other relevant documents with the application form. Apart from that, you need to pay the necessary fee.

If you have never applied for a building permit before, you can ask a municipality official about the detailed procedure. In that way, you will get to know the documents to include, and also if any other permissions are necessary for your project.

Consequences of Not Obtaining a Building Permit

It often happens that many people renovating their homes or building new houses tend to undermine the need for building permits Toronto.

They seem not to realize that engaging in any type of construction or renovation work without a building permit is unlawful in Canada. And, that will attract significant penalties subsequently.

According to the existing Ontario building code, you may have to pay up to $50,000 for the first offence. And the fines for subsequent offences can be up to $100,000.

Again, the fines may not be the end of penalties. Your city administration may destroy all the work you do at your expense.

Therefore, you should not start your project straight away. Instead, you should spend some time educating yourself about the possible mistakes and the ways to avoid them.

The Significant Mistakes to Avoid

The best way to avoid significant mistakes is to plan your project correctly with the right steps. And, you should ensure that you do not make the following mistakes:

Not Hiring an Experienced Design Consultant

It might so happen that you might not want to hire a design consultant to save money. As a result, you need to construct the plan for your project by yourself. And, in that case, you are susceptible to mistakes and that can cost you dearly.

As such, you should hire a professional design consultant to craft the plan for your project. Such a professional knows the existing laws and regulations to plan your project accordingly.

An experienced professional can not only help you to obtain a building permit but also estimate how long your project will take for completion. In addition, the professional can also provide an estimate of the total expenses of your project.

In this context, you should be careful of the fact that you should get the cost estimate as per the drawing, and not per square footage. Moreover, your design consultant should provide the quote after a complete physical inspection of your property.

If you get an estimate based on per square footage, it might so happen so that the things, such as electrical or plumbing systems, might not be included in the estimate. As a result, it can not only cause delays to your project but also add to the costs.

Drawings are Incomplete

You should avoid the common mistake of having incomplete drawings. Remember that your project can include plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work. In addition, relevant authorities are likely to inspect your project at different stages of your project progress.

If your design consultant provides drawing for only structural drawings, you need to avail the services of another professional to prepare the drawings for electrical or HVAC. As a result, there will be wastage of time and an extra expenditure.

Therefore, you should deploy a design professional who can provide the complete design for your project.

Not Considering the Limitations

It might so happen that you think of a layout for your project, but eventually, you realize that actuating the layout is not possible due to the limitations imposed by the relevant authority.

For example, you want to add a second floor to your house, but you live in an area with bungalows. In such as case, the addition might not be possible because of height restrictions. So, what you can do is, you can build a second unit or convert your basement into a living unit.

You need to think from all the possible angles while deciding the key aspects of your home renovation.

It is a good idea to finalize the design your consultant prepares because such professionals know the best practices of home renovation or construction. Moreover, they can save you time and money by working in your best interest.

Expecting Quick Approvals

The fact is that approvals for Toronto building permits need some time. So, it does not make sense to expect a shorter timeline to get a building permit for your project.

Understandably, your project completion time will also get extended in proportion to the time required for getting the building permit.

It does not matter whether your renovation project is a major or minor one. And, a minor project can also involve significant issues, such as HVAC or structural problems, which call for detailed examinations, consuming significant time. As a result, the corresponding approvals can take time, resulting in a delay in getting the building permit.

Because of this, you should not hire a consultant if he promises you quick project completion without the time for obtaining the building permit. Such consultants could be frauds.

Hiring a Consultant With a Very Low Fee

When you undertake a home renovation or construction project, you are likely to try to save money wherever possible. And, the tendency is likely to work while hiring a consultant to execute your project.

It can so happen that you prefer to hire a consultant with the lowest fees to save money. But, there can be negative consequences you do not realize beforehand.

Remember that cheap price implies cheap work. A contractor with low fees might not be experienced enough to handle your project properly.

Therefore, you should not look for a cheap contractor, and instead, hire a qualified and experienced contractor for your project.

You should ensure that your consultant knows the ins and outs of the industry. Also, he should be able to distinguish quality work from bad construction work.

Your consultant should give you item-wise quotes required for your project. Furthermore, the contractor should negotiate for the best prices to ensure your project attains timely and the best to your satisfaction.


Now, you have come to know what possible mistakes you can make unknowingly while applying for a building permit. So, you should avoid them as that will make your home renovation or construction project a smooth affair.