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Applications, Fees, Guides & Permits

This general information applies for both residential and commercial properties

What is a building permit? 

A building permit is formal approval from the Municipality to construct, demolish, add to or renovate a building or part thereof on your property. 

Why do you need a building permit? 

Building permits allow a Municipality to protect the interests of both individuals and the community as a whole. By reviewing and approving plans before any work is done, the Municipality can ensure that buildings comply with: 

  • Ontario Building Code, which sets standards for design and materials 
  • Local Zoning By-law and its controls on buildings and uses that are suitable to the area 
  • Other health and safety regulations

When do you need a building permit? 

A building permit must be obtained before

  • constructing any new building or additional structure such as a detached garage or garden suite on your property;
  • repairing or adding to an existing building; 
  • excavating or constructing a foundation;
  • installing heating, plumbing, air conditioning or a fireplace; and
  • erecting temporary buildings

If you're not sure whether you require a building permit or you wish to change the use of your building, contact Planning & Development at 613-687-5536 for assistance.

How do you apply for a building permit?

An application for a building permit can be obtained from your Municipality (or from the links below), but it's helpful to speak to Planning & Development employees prior to applying. They can advise of the type of information, drawings and plans that are required with the application and whether other permits or approvals may be required. 

When applying, all required drawings, plans and other documents must be submitted in order to deem an application complete. Building permit fees must be paid in full upon issuance of the permit. Also noting, there may be separate fees for other services such as; connecting to Municipal water supply or if a property survey is required by an outside agency (survey's are not provided or conducted by the Municipality).

What happens to your application? 

Planning & Development employees will review an application to confirm that the proposed work complies with the Ontario Building Code and the local Zoning By-law. It may also be circulated to other Municipal Officials for comments. If there are problems with the application or the plan, employees will advise of any necessary adjustments, if applicable. 

Applications for an alteration or addition can be processed fairly quickly, but complex proposals may take longer. If a zoning amendment or a minor variance is required from the Zoning By-law or if the work does not comply with the building code; a permit cannot be issued until all requirements are met or the proposal of work is brought into compliance. 

What happens during construction? 

Building permits list the inspections that are to be completed during construction. A Building Inspector will inspect the work to determine if it has been completed in accordance to Building Code, the original permit and approved plans. 

It is the Owner's/Applicants responsibility to: 

  • have the permit available on site;
  • keep copies of the plans on site;
  • contact the Municipality at the appropriate stages of construction for inspections; including a final to close the permit; and
  • inform the Municipality about impromptu changes; to obtain approval prior to constructing

In order for the Building Inspector to complete inspections, each stage of work must be visible during the inspection.  If it's different from the original approved application, the necessary corrections will have to be completed in order to proceed with the project.  If the corrections are not completed, the Municipality can take legal action. 

What about demolition? 

Before taking down all or part of a building, ensure to apply to the Municipality for a demolition permit. The process is much the same as applying for a building permit.

What if you want to change a building's use? 

If you want to change the way all or part of a building is used, a change of use permit is likely required, even if construction is not planned.  As there are different code requirements dependent on the use (hazard identified with the use) of a building; a building evaluation may have to be conducted to ensure that the existing building can support the proposed new use.  If the hazard is deemed greater to the building construction, then a building permit will be required to effect construction to bring the building to the standard necessary for the new use.  If the hazard is deemed the same or less than the previous use and no significant construction needs occur on the property then a change of use permit is approved.

What happens if you don't get a building permit? 

The Building Code Act, 1992, states; anyone who is charged and found guilty of building without a permit can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for later offences. 

In addition, if you are found in violation of building without a permit you will be required to obtain the permit, pay the penalties and the permit fees of the current pricing schedule, not of the pricing schedule when the work was determined to have occured.  This will add significant additional costs to the process.

As per By-law 1410/21; a Starting without a permit - Administration fee of $308.00 can be applied, if it has been found that construction commenced without the appropriate permit. 

What other approvals may be required? 

In addition to the required planning approvals and building permit for a project, there are other permits and approvals required in particular circumstances.  Permits may include but are not limited to;

  • Septic Permit is required for new or replacement septic systems;
  • Sign Permit is required for any new, altering of existing signs, including portable signs; See By-law 794/12
  • In cottage areas, a permit may be required from the Ministry of Natural Resources before any construction in the water (e.g. a dock or boathouse with solid foundation).
  • For properties along the water, a survey showing flood plain design elevation may be a part of the permit submission requirement.

For all general inquiries or to submit electronically contact Planning & Development Administrative Assistant, Amy Brazeau at abrazeau@petawawa.ca or for specific building code related inquiries, please contact RSM Building Consultants at info@rsmbuildingconsultants.com.