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Amanda Harvey
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How much do building permits cost: Toronto

Last modified: 2019/03/26 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Home renovation projects require plenty of research, careful planning, and detailed steps. Applying for a building permit is just one of the required necessities. Building permits cannot be overlooked, and depending on where you’re living the forms, fees and documentation needed will vary. We’re here to offer a way to help you navigate fees for building permits in the city of Toronto.

It’s crucial that if you’re taking on a renovation project, you abide by the law and follow the rules and regulations within your municipality. This will save you a serious headache later, and ensure that your renovation can go forward without (too many) bumps in the road.

How much do building permits cost? Toronto Edition!

Toronto waterfront view

source: unsplash

When is a building permit required?

Now, before you lift up a hammer and gather nails, you’re going to want to get the process started on your building permit application. When it comes to understanding the steps required for a Toronto renovation, the Building Code Act is the place to begin. The Build 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 will definitely 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 make sure your project requires a permit. In a nutshell, if you plan to do jobs that won’t really require structural changes, such as finishing a basement, installing additional insulation or roof vents, it’s likely you will not need a permit.

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

Building permit fees in Toronto are calculated by a specific formula and will come down to the perimeters of your project. The formula for calculating a permit cost is as follows:

Permit fee = SI x A

SI stands for Service Index of the proposed work and A stands for the floor area of m2 in the work involved. Confusing? As we stated, it will be important to get all of the specifications of your project in order to calculate the exact cost of your permit. If you’re having difficulty with this step, we’d suggest working with a professional in the field such as a general contractor or an architect.

Further, there is a minimum permit fee for Toronto-based renovations, and in 2019 all work regardless of size, style or dimension will cost $198.59.

If your renovation project requires inspection or an examination of sorts, you”ll be charged an hourly rate of $85.79.

How to prepare for permit applications

Toronto 401

source: unsplash

So, you’ve got a bit of a better idea of how to calculate the cost of a renovation permit in Toronto. Now what? You’re going to have to gather some documentation together in order to get your project rolling. The things you’ll need to move forward with your permit application fee are as follows:

  • A completed application
  • The total fee for your permit
  • Two site plan copies including floor plan, roof framing, elevation and HVAC systems
  • Additional approvals or references

All of your paperwork should be brought to the Toronto City Council, and following this, you’ll play the waiting game. Do bear in mind that your building permit approval will take time to come through. There will also be a review period that'll take place during your renovation process, and this will help the city ensure that you’re on the right track.

It’s also important to remember that Toronto is a big city and depending on where you live, the wait time for your permit approval will vary. It could be anywhere between two weeks and two months, especially if the renovation you’re planning is quite large or you're living in a quickly developing neighbourhood. Once you have received approval for your renovation project, do take precautions to abide by any on-site inspections or regulations. Again, building process inspections are mandatory, so do make sure to have the contractor you’re working with book these or take the booking on yourself. Happy renovating!

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