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Do I need a building permit?

If you are unsure if you need a building permit for your project, contact us at 905-335-7731.

Here are some examples of projects that require a permit:

  • Accessory structures such as garages and sheds over 10 square meters
  • Additions to existing buildings
  • Decks and porches, including existing decks, porches and patios
  • Demolition
  • Finishing unfinished areas including basements, attics and commercial areas
  • Installation of new plumbing fixtures requiring drains and vents
  • Construction of a new building
  • Repair or strengthen foundations
  • Replacement of exterior cladding material with stucco
  • Septic installations and repairs
  • Panels
  • Solid fuel appliances, including modifications to existing appliances
  • Structural modifications, new openings for doors and windows in existing walls
  • swimming pools

Here are some examples of projects that do not require a permit:

  • Electrical work (contact the Office of Electrical Safety)
  • Fences (contact us at 905-335-7642 for location and height regulations)
  • Painting, decoration, carpentry and replacement of plumbing fixtures
  • Patios and landscaping
  • Replacing doors or windows in an existing opening
  • Replacement of siding or shingles with the same material
What are the consequences of not obtaining a building permit?
  • Additional fees under building permit regulations
  • Expensive repairs or removal of construction that does not comply with the Ontario Building Code, Zoning Bylaw or Grading and Drainage Clearance Certificates Bylaw
  • Inspections by professional engineers
  • May affect your ability to refinance or sell the property
  • Possible fines and legal action against all parties involved
Can I make my own designs? Yes. As the owner of the property, the Ontario Building Code exempts you from creating your own drawings. However, if the drawings are substandard or lacking in information, you will need to resubmit them or hire a designer with the appropriate qualifications. I am moving to a new house and I want to do some construction work there. Can I apply for my building permit before becoming an owner? No. You must own a home before applying for a building permit in Burlington. If you bought a house under construction from the previous owner, you must apply for a permit transfer. How long is my license valid? Your license is valid for six months. If work has not started after six months, your permit may be revoked. Do I need a permit for my landscaping work? Most types of landscaping do not require a permit, such as hedges, patio stones, etc. Items such as retaining walls, patios and gazebos larger than 10 square meters (or 108 square feet) may require a permit. Contact us at 905-335-7731 if you are unsure. Do I need a permit for my electrical work? Contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) for an answer. They are responsible for electrical work permits and inspections throughout Ontario.