Guide to the Building Permit Process
Building - General Information

GUIDE TO THE BUILDING PERMIT PROCESS


WHAT IS A BUILDING PERMIT?

The Township of The Archipelago is responsible for enforcing Ontario’s Building Code and issues permits for the construction, renovation, demolition and certain changes of use of buildings, and for the installation, alteration, extension or repair of on-site sewage systems.


WHY DO YOU NEED TO OBTAIN A BUILDING PERMIT?

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

  • the Building Code, which sets standards for the design and construction of buildings to meet objectives such as health, safety, fire protection, accessibility and resource conservation,
  • the Comprehensive Zoning By-law and other planning controls on buildings,
  • other applicable legislation, including Ministry of Natural Resources approval and certain requirements under the Environmental Protection Act.


WHEN DO YOU NEED A BUILDING PERMIT?

You must obtain a building permit before you:

  • construct any new building over ten square metres in area (if constructing a building under this size, be sure you meet the requirements of the Comprehensive Zoning By-law in regards to building use (for example a sleeping cabin must be greater than ten square metres), setbacks, lot coverage, etc.),
  • make renovations or repairs or add to a building,
  • excavate or construct a foundation,
  • construct a seasonal building,
  • install, alter, extend or repair an onsite sewage system.

Contact the building department if you have any questions about when a building permit is required.


HOW DO YOU APPLY FOR A BUILDING PERMIT?

You can get an application for a building permit from our website or office.  It’s a good idea to talk to staff at the Township before you apply.  The building department can tell you what information, drawings and plans you’ll have to include with the application and whether you’ll need any other permits or approvals.

 

 


WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR APPLICATION?

The building department will review your application to confirm that the proposed work complies with the Building Code and other applicable laws set out in the Building Code, such as the Comprehensive Zoning By-law.  Your application may be sent to other departments within the Township for comments.

 

Applications for a simple alteration or addition can be processed fairly quickly, but more complex proposals may take longer.  The Building Code requires that a municipality review a permit application within a certain timeframe where the application meets the criteria set out in the Code.  For example, the timeframe on a permit application for a house is 10 working days.  For a more complex building, such as a hospital, the timeframe is 30 working days.  Within this timeframe, the Township must either issue the permit or refuse it with full reasons for denial.

 

In order to be issued a permit, proposed construction must comply with the Building Code and with the applicable laws (such as the zoning by-law) set out in the Building Code.  If you need a zoning change or a minor variance from the zoning by-law, or if the proposed construction does not comply with the Building Code, a permit will not be issued until the zoning change or minor variance has been obtained, or the proposed construction complies with the Building Code.

 

If your property is covered by a site plan control by-law, you will not get a building permit until the plans and drawings have been approved by the Township.

 


WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOUR APPLICATION IS TURNED DOWN?

 

If the Township of The Archipelago refuses your application, you will be told why.  If you can’t resolve the problems with the Township, you have a few options for appealing the decision.

  • If the problem relates to a technical requirement set out in the Building Code, you may apply to the Building Code Commission.  The Building Code Commission is an independent adjudicative tribunal of the provincial government whose mandate is to hear disputes related to compliance with the technical requirements of the Building Code.  If you wish to apply to the Building Code Commission for a hearing you can find the Building Code Commission’s application forms and their Guidelines, Policies and Procedures on the Building Code website (www.ontario.ca/buildingcode) under “Appeals and Approvals”.
  • If the problem relates to compliance with other applicable laws, such as interpretation of the zoning by-law, you can appeal to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, who will review the zoning by-law.  You may want to talk to a lawyer first.

 

 

 

 


WHAT HAPPENS DURING CONSTRUCTION?

 

The Building Code sets out the stages of construction of which different types of buildings/sewage systems require inspections.  It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the Township for an inspection when the project is at the stages of construction set out in the Building Code.  The Township’s building official is required to carry out the inspection within two working days of being notified.   For construction of a sewage system, the inspector has five working days to conduct the inspection.  During the inspection, a building inspector will inspect the work to determine if it is carried out in accordance with the Building Code, your permit and the approved plans.

 

You will also be required to:

  • show your permit in a window or other place where it can be easily seen,
  • keep copies of the approved plans on site,
  • tell the Township about any changes to the proposed construction, which will also have to be approved by the building department.
 

The inspector must always be able to see the work.  If it’s different from the work that was approved and, unless you get permission for a revision to your plans, you will be told to correct it.  If you don’t, the Township can take enforcement action, such as issuing orders authorized under the Building Code Act, 1992.

 
 


WHAT ABOUT A DEMOLITION?

 

Before you take down all or part of a building, you will have to apply to the Township for a demolition permit.

 


WHAT IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE A BUILDING’S USE?

 

If you want to change the way you use all or part of the building, you may need a change of use permit, even if you’re not planning any construction.  A building evaluation may have to be done to make sure that the existing building can support the proposed use.  Different uses have different Building Code requirements.

 

Call the building department to find out whether you will need a change of use permit.

 


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CONTRAVENE THE BUILDING CODE ACT, 1992?

 

An individual who is charged and found guilty of an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992, such as building without a permit, can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences.  For a corporation, a first offence could result in a maximum fine of $100,000 and $200,000 for subsequent infractions.

 

Failure to comply with an order from the municipal building department is also an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992.

 

 

 


WHAT OTHER APPROVALS MAY BE REQUIRED?

 

In addition to the planning approvals and building permit which are required for a building project, other permits and approvals may be required in particular circumstances, for example Ministry of Natural Resources or Ministry of Environment  approvals.  These approvals are considered applicable law.  The applicable laws, which are set out in the Building Code, must be complied with for the building permit to be issued.

 


HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT MORE?

 

For more information about land use planning within the Township or the unincorporated townships within the jurisdiction of the Archipelago Area Planning Board, please contact the planning department.

 

For more information regarding the Ministry of Housing or the Ontario Building Code please click on the following links:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website:  www.ontario.ca/mah

The Ontario Building Code website: www.ontario.ca/buildingcode

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 09:47