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How much do building permits cost: Ottawa

Last modified: 2020-01-10 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Amanda Harvey

Regardless if you’re a renovation novice or expert, the world of building permit applications is tricky to navigate. Of course, if you’ve taken on a renovation project or two, then you’re aware of the importance of applying for permits in the first place. In 1976 Ontario, the Building Code Act was created in order to regulate and increase renovation quality control while offering protection to homeowners. Therefore, if you’re renovating in Ottawa, it’s crucial to determine whether or not a permit is required.

Building permits are in place for health, safety, structural soundness as well as peace of mind. Not only can a permit offer an additional level of comfort but it can help you to avoid getting into future trouble with the city. Read on for all of the crucial information regarding building permit costs in Ottawa.

How much do building permits cost in Ottawa?

painting supplies

source: unsplash

When is a building permit required?

Now, before you lift up those hammers and nails or even consider drawing up architectural plans, you’re going to want to get the process started on your building permit application. As mentioned briefly in our introduction, when it comes to understanding the steps required for an Ottawa renovation, the Building Code Act is the place to start. The Building Code Act states that a building permit is required for any construction and/or demolition of a new building, and addition or material alteration. These alterations include material structures and not just buildings alone.

This means that taking on pretty much any renovation project is going to require a permit. Even if you feel like the renovation you’re planning is on the small or simple side of things, chances are you should still look into permit requirements. There’s a long list of jobs which need a permit, no matter what, and they are as follows:

  • Constructing a new building;

  • Adding an addition to an existing building;

  • Minor and major structural or material alterations;

  • Finishing a basement;

  • Environmental building improvements or renovations;

  • A deck that sits more than 60 cm above ground;

  • Demolition or structural removal;

  • Installing a fireplace or chimney;

  • Installing a wood burning stove;

  • Installing or modifying heating or plumbing;

  • Installing, moving or modifying electrical wiring;

  • Changing the function of a building (from residential to commercial).

We’d recommend walking into your local municipal office or checking with your city planner to determine if your project requires a permit. In a nutshell, if you plan on completing jobs that won’t involve structural changes, such as finishing a basement, installing additional insulation or roof vents, it’s likely you will not need a permit.

The common renovation projects that likely will not require a permit are as follows:

  • Painting or wallpaper applications;
  • Installing new flooring;
  • Replacing cabinets in your bathroom or kitchen;
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures, as long as nothing will be moved from the current location;
  • Building a deck low to the ground (below 24 inches).

What’s the cost of a building permit in Ottawa?

building renovation

source: unsplash

There is a long list of various building permit costs as regulated by the city of Ottawa. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the more common project costs. However, for a full list of all costs involved in individual permits, refer here.

The base level fees for Ottawa building permits are $8-$11 for every $1,000 of the project valuation. The minimum fee for a permit application is always $80.

New building construction including an addition: $8- $11 for every $1000 projected costs

Demolition: $1000 - $3000

Change of use: $80 for application

Plumbing work: $80 for application

Building a fence or pool enclosure: $200

Preparing for your renovation permit

When applying for permits, the city of Ottawa will need to see a clearly defined plan regarding the project you’re proposing. This is especially true if any architectural, plumbing or mechanical work is being done. Renovation plans can be drawn by you or by a registered designer, depending on the detail needed. Alongside these, you’ll need a Building Code identification number (BCIN). This number will help your project to move forward quickly.

Depending on how complex the project you’re presenting is, the review period for your permit will vary. However, for the majority of residential renovations, the waiting period will generally fall between 5 and 10 business days. Once accepted and in your hands, you’ll need to place it in a window or a visible spot in your home. Another note is that in Ontario, specific inspections are required for different steps of the renovation process. When you got to pick up your permit, the specifications of this should be offered. Just be sure to carry out plenty of research leading up to the renovation, as this will help you to avoid setbacks and difficulties completing the project. 


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