Are you looking for a contractor?

Submit our quick form and get quotes now!

Table of Contents

All About Building Permit Costs in Ottawa

All About Building Permit Costs in Ottawa

Interior renovationsAll About Building Permit Costs in Ottawa

All About Building Permit Costs in Ottawa

Regardless if you’re a renovation novice or an expert, a contractor even, the world of building permit requests is tricky to navigate. Of course, if you’ve taken on a renovation project or two, then you’re most likely aware of everything that's of importance, like applying for permits in the first place. In 1976, Ontario established the Building Code Act, to regulate and increase renovation quality control while offering homeowners protection. Therefore, if you’re renovating a structure in the City of Ottawa, you have to determine whether or not a work permit is required.

Building permits were first established to ensure health, safety, structural soundness, as well as peace of mind during the construction process. Not only can a permit offer an additional level of comfort but it can prevent significant city-related issues down the line. Read on for all of the crucial information regarding building permit costs in Ottawa.

When and Why You Need and Should Apply for a Building Permit in Ontario

building permit

Source: Canva

What requires a building permit for house renovations in the City of Ottawa?

Now, before you get carried up with your hammers and nails, or even consider drawing up blueprints, you’re going to want to get your building permit application process going. Everything has to be factored in. As mentioned briefly in our introduction, when it comes to understanding the steps required for an Ottawa-based renovation project, 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 changes. These changes include material structures, not just buildings alone.

This means that taking on pretty much any renovation project requires a permit. Even if you think that the renovation you’re planning is on the smaller, or simpler, side of things, chances are you're still going to need a permit to proceed legally. So definitely look into permit requirements. Check with certified contractions, they often have all the information you're looking for. And, as it so happens, there’s a long list of construction work done on a house that requires a permit, no matter what, and they're as follows:

  • Building a new structure;

  • Building an addition to an existing structure;

  • Minor and major structural or material alterations;

  • Finishing a basement;

  • Eco-friendly building renovations or improvements;

  • Decks that sit more than 60 cm above ground level;

  • 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 highly recommend heading to your local municipal office or checking with your city's urban planner to determine whether the project you're planning requires a permit. Nowadays, almost everything can be found online, the Internet is a real information gem. You'll be able to gather details regarding your municipality, inspections/inspectors, contractors, building height requirements, etc. In a nutshell, if you plan on proceeding with a home improvement project that won’t require structural changes, such as finishing a basement, or installing additional insulation or roof vents, you'll most likely not need a permit.

The common renovation projects that don't typically require a permit are as follows:

  • Applying paint or wallpaper;

  • 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 near ground level (below 24 inches).

How much does a building permit cost in Ottawa?

There's a long list of different building permits, each with their respective 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, for specific permits, click here.

The basic building permit fee calculated by the Building Department of Ottawa is $11  for every $1,000 of the project's accessed valuation. The minimum fee for a permit application is always $100.

For new buildings or additions to existing structures: the minimum fee is always $100.

Demolition: $1,000 - $3,000

Change of use: $108 per application

Plumbing work: $100 per application

Building a fence or pool enclosure: $200


How to Contact the City and Prepare for Your Renovation Permit

building permit

Source: Canva

When submitting permit applications, whether in person or via their website, representatives of the City of Ottawa will need to see a clearly defined plan of the planned project. Nothing can be left open to questioning. This is especially true if any architectural, plumbing or mechanical work is being done. Renovation plans can be drawn by you or by a certified architect, depending on the details needed. Alongside these, you’ll need a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN). This number will help speed up the process.

Depending on how complex the project you’re planning is, the review period for your permit will vary. However, for the majority of residential renovations, the waiting period typically falls between 5 and 10 business days. Once accepted and with plans in hand, you’ll need to stick your permit somewhere that's visible streetside, place it either in a window or in a visible area on your home. On another note, in Ontario, specific inspections are required for different steps of the renovation process. Meaning, you'll have to bring in an inspector. When you pick up your permit, the specifications of this should be provided to you. Be sure to carry out plenty of research leading up to the renovation; ask questions, as this will prevent setbacks and any difficulties experienced during the completion of your project.


Get 3 renovation quotes for your home renovation project can help you get quotes for your home renovation project. By submitting your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Last modified 2023-11-07

List of sources

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Looking for something else?

Table of contents

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Download the price guide for renovations

We’ll be emailing you the latest market price guide for renovations.

Related articles

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

6 min read

Amanda Harvey • 07 Nov 2023

Renovating a kitchen in Toronto and the GTA | Renovation Quotes

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the home, a place for the family to congregate after a long day of work and play, to cook a meal and to enjoy time together. There are plenty of moving parts that go into the construction and operation of your kitchen, and for things to run smoothly everything has to be laid out in a functional way. For this reason, it is important to update the surfaces, appliances and layout of your kitchen to suit the needs of yourself and your family.

7 min read

N/A • 07 Nov 2023

10 renovation projects to transform your basement

The basement is a space fairly separate from the rest of the house, a particular environment that some enjoy while others tend to avoid it as much as possible. It can be used as a storage space or it can also be used as an extra unit, a family room, a laundry room and so on.

5 min read • 07 Nov 2023

Contractors: Acquiring New Clients Through Social Media

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for construction or renovation contractors to promote themselves or recruit qualified employees. In fact, right now, there’s an imbalance between supply and demand, especially since the 2020 pandemic. 

4 min read

N/A • 07 Nov 2023

Contractor: How to Pass a Safety Inspection

As a contractor working in the industry, you’ll understand the time, energy and dedication every aspect of the job requires. Regardless of your field, the health and safety of workers are of the utmost importance.

4 min read

Léa Plourde-Archer • 07 Nov 2023

Deck Building Materials and Designs

If you’re looking to spend more time in the great outdoors this season, adding a deck to your backyard is a great way to give you, your loved ones and your family a further incentive to do so. Between talking, reading, eating, drinking and enjoying quality time together, there isn’t a better way than by building a beautiful deck outside your home.

Looking for a contractor?

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes now!