Building Permits

construction site

When do I need a Building Permit?

View the Town's Building Permit Application.

In Ontario, a building permit is your formal permission to begin construction or demolition. It means that plans for any new structure, addition or renovation have been reviewed by the municipality, and that they generally conformity with the Ontario Building Code, the local zoning by-law and any other applicable laws and regulations.Why are Building Permits necessary?

Building permits regulate construction in a community and help to ensure applicable building standards and regulations are met. The building permit process protects the individual’s interests as well as those of the community at large, and provides for the safe erection, removal or alteration of buildings and other structures, in accordance with the Ontario Building Code.

By obtaining a permit, you can also take advantage of the professional expertise of Building Department staff. Inspectors are good sources of information and can offer suggestions to help solve construction problems, often before they occur.

When do I need a Building Permit?

When considering any kind of construction on your property, it is a good idea to discuss your plans with municipal staff first. They can advise you about any other permits or approvals you might need, such as demolition permits, zoning or minor variances and electrical permits.

Projects to Single-Residential Unit Buildings

(Note: for buildings with basement apartments or duplexes, or more than two dwelling units see the “multi-residential buildings” section)

A building permit is required to:

  • construct a new building
  • change all or part of a building's use i.e. converting part of a home to an office in which the public will be admitted (e.g. massage therapist office)   
  • renovate, repair or add to a building
  • demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • install, change or remove non-load bearing partition walls
  • install, change or remove load-bearing walls
  • make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • build a balcony or deck or enclose an existing deck
  • build a garage or a utility shed over 108ft2 (10m2)
  • excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • replace or repair a drainage membrane or weeping tile system 
  • install or modify heating, plumbing, and air conditioning systems, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and woodstoves
  • install kitchen or bathroom cupboards with plumbing
  • install new or modify existing plumbing
  • install, repair or modify a septic system
  • reconstruct a chimney
  • to finish a basement or convert a room to a bedroom

You do not need a building permit to:

  • replace existing, same-size doors and windows, subject to distance from property lines
  • reinstall siding, subject to distance from property lines (NOTICE: In some cases aluminum or steel siding cannot be replaced with vinyl, wood, or other combustible cladding materials)  
  • build a utility shed under 108ft2 (10m2)
  • reshingle a roof, provided there is no structural work
  • install eavestroughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property
  • paint or decorate
  • reinstall/replace kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing.
  • erect a fence (note: a fence to enclose swimming pools and outside hot tubs do require pool enclosure permit)
  • to install a pool or hot tub (note: a pool enclosure permit is however required)
  • electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations)

Projects to Multi-Residential Buildings

A building permit is required to:

  • construct a new building
  • renovate, repair or add to a building
  • demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • change all or part of a building's use (i.e. creating additional apartment units)   
  • install, change or remove non-load bearing partition walls
  • install, change or remove load-bearing walls 
  •  make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • build a garage, balcony or deck or enclose an existing deck
  • build a utility shed over 108ft2 (10m2)
  • excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • replace or repair a drainage membrane or weeping tile system 
  • install or modify any life safety or fire suppression system such as fire alarms, sprinkler or standpipe or fixed extinguishing systems.
  • install or modify heating, plumbing, and air conditioning systems, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and woodstoves
  • install or modify any portion of a plumbing system (including fixtures) 
  • install, repair or modify a septic system
  • reconstruct a chimney
  • to finish a basement or convert a room to a bedroom 
  • to install a pool or hot tub (note: may require a building permit or a pool enclosure permit, but not both)
  • erect signage

You do not need a building permit to:

  • build a utility shed under 108ft2 (10m2)
  • paint or decorate
  • erect a fence (note: a fence to enclose swimming pools and outside hot tubs does require a pool enclosure permit)
  • electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations)

Projects to Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Buildings

A building permit is required to:

  • construct a new building
  • renovate, repair or add to a building
  • demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • change a building's use (including adding additional suites)
  • install, change or remove non-load bearing partition walls
  • install, change or remove load-bearing walls
  • make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • replace or repair a drainage membrane or weeping tile system 
  • install or modify any life safety or fire suppression system such as fire alarms, sprinkler or standpipe or fixed extinguishing systems.
  • install or modify heating, plumbing, and air conditioning systems, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and woodstoves
  • install or modify any portion of a plumbing system (including fixtures)
  • install, repair or modify a septic system
  • reconstruct a chimney
  • to install a pool or hot tub (note: may require a building permit or a pool enclosure permit, but not both)
  • erect signage

You do not need a building permit to:

  • paint or decorate 
  • erect a fence (note: see applicable site plan agreements for requirements or restrictions)
  • electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations) 

If you are not sure whether you need a permit or not, simply call your local Building Department and ask. Either you will get an answer over the telephone, or a Building Inspector may arrange to visit your site in order to advise you about what is required.

For further information, please contact our Planning & Community Development office at 705-549-2673.

What happens if I do not get a permit?

It is unlawful to start construction without the necessary permits. If you start construction without the necessary permits, you may be ordered to stop work, ordered to remove work already done, or prosecuted.

Contact the Building Department if you are not sure whether you need a permit for your project.

For further information, please contact our Building Department at 705-549-2673.

How do I apply for a Building Permit?

You can make application for any type of permit, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at the Building Department counter, located on the upper level of Townhall, 10 Robert Street West.  Along with an application, you will be required to submit sketches, building drawings, plans and other documents to the municipality for processing. You may have to pay an application fee and additional charges for such services as water connections.To check the exact requirements of the permit application, contact the Building Department at 705-549-2673 

How are Building Permit Applications processed?

Municipal staff review your application to ensure that it is complete and that it complies with the Building Code, the local zoning by-law and all other applicable laws. It may then be sent to other municipal officials for their consideration.Applications that involve simple alterations or additions can usually be dealt with fairly quickly, while more complex proposals naturally take longer to process. If a zoning change or minor variance or site plan approval is necessary, or if building plans must be altered to comply with the Ontario Building Code, the changes must be approved and in place before a building permit can be issued.Where there are problems with your proposal, local building officials will usually discuss them with you in detail before considering refusal of a permit.The following represents a summarized version of the building permit process:

1. BEFORE APPLYING

Before submitting an application, consult with municipal Building Officials.

2. THE APPLICATION 

Submit Application with supporting documentation to our Planning & Community Development office, along with fee(s) and deposit(s).

3. CONSIDERATION

Application is reviewed for completeness and against local zoning by-laws, the Ontario Building Code and other legislation.

4. DECISION

Application may be approved or refused.

For further information, please contact our Planning & Community Development office at 705-549-2673

 What can I do if I am refused a Building Permit?

If you are refused a building permit, the municipal Building Official will advise you of the reasons. If you have discussed the matter with them beforehand and have not been able to resolve the problems, you can follow one of several options:1. If the problem has to do with the interpretation of the technical requirements of the Building Code, you may appeal the application to the Building Code Commission (care of the Ministry of Housing, Buildings Branch). Reasons for the appeal must be given.2. If problems involve materials and construction techniques, you may appeal to the Building Materials Evaluation Commission by writing to the Secretary of the Commission (care of the Ministry of Housing, Buildings Branch). Reasons for the appeal must be given.3. If the problem arises out of the interpretation of the zoning by-law, you may apply to a District Judge, who will review the zoning and decide if a building permit should be issued. (In this case, you will want to consult a lawyer).

Council does not have the authority to amend, change or ignore matters prescribed under the Building Code Act and the Ontario Building Code. 

For further information, please contact our Planning & Commuity Development office at 705-549-2673.

What are my obligations during construction?

Building Permit documents often list inspections that are required under the Ontario Building Code. These inspections are carried out by a Building Inspector, who checks each major phase of your construction. The Inspector’s duty is to make sure that the work is being carried out according to:

  • The Ontario Building Code;
  • Your permit;
  • Your approved building plans.

The Inspector must be able to see the part of the construction they are to inspect, and usually needs 24 to 48 hours advance notice.If the Inspector finds that some work does not conform to the approved plans, they will advise you and may send a notice asking that the situation be remedied. Another inspection may be required before you resume work. If work continues without resolving the problem, you can be subject to legal action.

In addition to co-operating with any inspections, you are also required to:

  • Post your building permit in a window or other prominent place on site
  • Keep a copy of your approved building plans on site
  • Keep a copy of previous inspection reports on site;

Bring any proposed changes to the attention of the Building Inspector as soon as possible. These changes may require approval in the same manner as the original building plans.For further information, please contact our Building Department at 705-549-2673.

Facts about Demolition

Before you demolish any building in part or whole, you are required by the Ontario Building Code to apply for a demolition permit from your municipality. The process for obtaining one is similar to that for a building permit. In some cases, you must hire a professional engineer to oversee the demolition. For further information, please contact our Building Department at 705-549-2673.

Want to put up a fence? Here's what you need to know.

While a building permit is not required for a fence, fences still must comply with the Town’s Zoning By-Law and if the fence is restricting access to a swimming pool, contact the Building Department for the requirements for a Pool Enclosure Permit.

If you still have questions about fencing, please contact our Clerk’s Department at 705-549-7453.

Installing a pool or a hot tub? Better read this first. 

If you are planning to install a swimming pool, hot tub or any other artificial body of water that may be used for swimming or bathing, you will need to obtain a Pool Enclosure Permit from the Building Department.

For further information, please contact our Planning &  Community Development office at 705-549-2673.

When I purchase a home, should I consult a building inspector?

The Town does not conduct pre-purchase inspections. (For information on purchasing the services of a pre-purchase building inspection service, please refer to the Yellow Pages under Home Inspections

However, if you have questions or concerns about your new home, or to determine if a finished basement or apartment is legal and meets the Ontario Building Code and Property Standards requirements, you can contact the Town's Building Department.

As the new home owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you use the home in a manner that meets the Ontario Building Code. Do not assume the previous owner obtained a building permit before doing renovations to the home.

For further information, please contact our Building Department at 705-549-2673.

What about Site Plan Approval?

If your property is covered by a local Site Plan Control by-law, a building permit will not be issued until you have fulfilled all the site plan requirements laid out by the municipality. For detailed information, contact the Planning Department at 705- 549-2673 to find out whether there is a site plan in effect for your property.

Where can I get an application for amending the Zoning By-law?

The application for an amendment to thev Town of Penetanguishene Zoning By-law is provided by the Planning & Community Development Department at 705-549-2673.

What if I own a Designated Heritage Property?

If you are the owner of a property designated under Part IV or V of theOntario Heritage Act,you will be required to complete the Heritage review process prior to obtaining a building permit.

You should be aware that special situations may affect a proposed demolition.

Heritage buildings intended for designation or formally designated as having historic or architectural significance under theOntario Heritage Actare subject to certain conditions:

a) Building intended for designation cannot be demolished without local Council approval;

b) Designation does not permanently prohibit demolition, but requires a permit to be obtained to demolish a building on a designated property. If the council refuses such a permit, no demolition may take place for 180 days. This is to allow an opportunity to negotiate with the owner to somehow preserve the distinctive character of the building.

View the Town's Available Reports/Documents.

View the Town's Municipal By-laws.

View the Town's Permit Fees and Administrative charges.