Toronto Building Permits and Home Renovation - FAQ

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Toronto requires building permits not just for new builds, but also for major renovations.

The permit system is designed to make sure that the renovation you are planning is safe and doesn’t violate your neighbourhood zoning by-laws. Submitting a renovation plan and getting a building permit is a legal requirement before starting a major renovation.

This guide breaks down the types of projects in Toronto requiring a building permit and everything you need to know about the city's requirements for major renovations.

What types of projects would require a Toronto building permit?

A building permit is required for various major projects, the most common of which we have listed here. It is important to research your building size limits, setbacks, parking and any other zoning requirements before you plan a major renovation.

Making adjustments to the structure of your home such as:

  • Building or knocking down interior walls

  • Adding windows and doors to new locations

  • Enclosing an existing deck or patio

Constructing an addition to the home such as:

  • A new floor to your house

  • Attached garage

  • Sunroom

  • Porch or deck

Constructing a structure on your property greater than 10 square meters such as:

  • Detached garage

  • Workshop

  • Storage Unit

  • Gazeebo

  • Pool House

Finishing a basement when the project includes:

  • Adjustment to the structural foundation of the home

  • Installing or modifying heat or plumbing

  • Building a new foundation or excavating the existing foundation

  • Basement underpinning

  • Building a basement entrance

Other improvements such as:

  • Demolishing all or part of a building

  • Adding a rooftop stormwater retention system

  • Construction of a green roof

  • Solar panel projects

  • Install or modify chimney or fireplace

  • Installation or modification of heating or plumbing systems

  • Add a backwater valve

  • Add a backflow prevention device

What needs to be included in a permit application?

While the documents submitted for different renovations are not the same, all Toronto building permit applications require you to submit the renovation plans.

A renovation plan will include a floor plan and site plan and/or cross-sections drawn to scale that show the existing space and highlights the proposed renovation. You will also need to include construction details and notes including all the material to be used and other specifications of the renovation.

Renovation plans can be drafted by:

  • A Designer registered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN)

  • An Architect qualified by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)

  • An Engineer qualified by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)

  • Yourself, if you have a good working knowledge of house construction and building codes

What other permits might be required?

Depending on the scope work and location of your home, other permits may be required. A complex project such as a home addition may require several permits.

Plumbing Permit and HVAC Permit

These are normally obtained from the City when the building permit is secured.

Electrical Permit

Required when any new outlets or circuits are added or modified. This permit comes from the Electrical Safety Authority

Landscaping Permit

Required when any landscaping work on your property would extend beyond your property line.

Street Occupation Permit

Required when the renovation will require the storage of materials or containers on the street.

Tree Permit

Required if you plan to remove a tree from your property or the possibility of damaging a tree exists during work.

Heritage Permit

Required if the home you are doing work on is considered a heritage property.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Permit

Required if your home is near a stream, river, valley, wetland or waterway.

When Must I Call For a Toronto Building Inspection?

Any project that requires you to submit a building permit will also need to be assessed by a city inspector. Depending on the scope of the project, an inspector may need to visit several times.

The City of Toronto has designated specific stages of a renovation for which an inspector must visit before work can continue. For a list of the renovation stages at which you must consult with a city inspector, visit the Toronto Building Inspections page.

Who Can I Contact to Build my Dream Renovation in Toronto?

Contact us at Bryant Renovations! Our designers work with our contractors end-to-end to ensure that your project is built to your specifications. We have the expertise to ensure we can build the project of your dreams within your home’s zoning by-laws and navigate the Toronto building permit system.

Click here to learn more about our dedication to providing our clients with finely detailed projects that reflect our commitment to superior design.