It seems to be common knowledge that a building permit is required for new construction of buildings and demolition of buildings. However, many homeowners do not realize that building permits are required for home renovations. If you are planning a home renovation read on to learn about the building permit process and ramifications of not obtaining required permits.
As a general guideline, a building permit is required whenever a home renovation will affect the plumbing or the structural integrity of a house. If you are planning bathroom remodeling project that involves moving the plumbing, a building permit will be required. Kitchen renovations that include structural changes to the house require a building permit. If you want to finishing your basement or building a deck you will need a building permit. Building permits are not required for home renovations that are considered decorative such as painting or installing hardwood flooring.
Building Permit Process
The building permit process begins with the homeowner talking to a municipal building official. The homeowner will need to describe their proposed renovation. The municipal building official will advise if a building permit is required. The official will also tell the homeowner where to obtain the building permit application and what information and drawings must be submitted with it. The homeowner will also be advised if other permits or approvals are required. For example, the Electrical Safety Authority issues their own permits for electrical work.
The city needs to know exactly what changes will be made during the home renovation. Detailed plans of the proposed renovation will be required. If the renovation will take place inside, original drawings of the house will also be required. If the renovation will take place outside a site survey will be required. If the homeowner doesn’t have original plans or surveys the Building Department may have copies on file. If not, the homeowner can measure and complete the drawings themselves. Alternatively, someone with a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) can be hired to complete the drawings on the homeowners behalf.
The homeowner must submit the building permit application and required documentation to the Building Department. It will be reviewed for completeness and compliance with the Ontario Building Code and applicable laws. Within ten days the building permit application will either be approved or refused it with a reason for the denial. If the application is approved the home renovations may begin. City inspections must be conducted at certain stages of the renovation. It is the responsibility of the homeowner/building permit holder to contact the city to arrange the inspections.
Ramifications of Not Obtaining Building Permits
At first glance the building permit process may seem overwhelming. However it is definitely worth pursuing as there are many ramifications associated with not obtaining required permits. The homeowner may be fined. Walls, floors or other parts of the house may have to be removed so the inspector can see if the renovation complies with building code requirements. In worst case scenarios the home renovation has to be completely demolished. The homeowner could also risk the sale of their home in the future. Buyers can request that a building permit be obtained for work previously done. They can also ask for a reduction in the purchase price due to the risk associated with not having required permits.
Building permits are required for home renovations. If you have questions regarding the building permit process contact Alert Restoration. We provide expert home renovations to customers in Oakville, Mississauga and the surrounding areas and we’d be happy to answer your questions!