What Kind of Permit Do I Need?
There are often multiple types of permits. These could include: building, plumbing, demolition, pool enclosure and electrical permits. The resources available through the municipal office will also often list the projects that don’t require any permits such as replacing flooring or painting. When it doubt, check to make sure you have the right permit for the job.
Before starting your project, ensure that the permit is posted it in a highly visible location. Not only does this confirm that the correct permits have been issued, it’s another way for homeowners to confirm that the contractor is meeting their obligations. If a contractor has agreed to manage the permitting process, then this is your first opportunity to ensure that the work is being completed as promised. If you don’t see a permit, then there likely isn’t one.
The Permitting Process
The permitting process can vary, but it generally involves a few steps. The permit application and drawings are submitted to the building department for review. The drawings can be created by the homeowner or a licensed architect, engineer or anyone in Ontario who holds a valid BCIN (Building Code Inspection Number). Remember, the person who creates the drawing is responsible for following the building code, so consider paying a professional.
There is generally a fee to have the application reviewed and the permit issued. The fees usually depend on the size and complexity of the project. Remember that the fee also covers the cost of the on-site inspections, so although it may seem like a hassle, it’s worth budgeting for a permit. The length of time required for the permit to be issued varies, but construction should start only after receiving the go-ahead from the municipality. Patience pays in this case, so don’t rush. Any changes that may be required are easier to make on paper!
Once construction is underway, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the contractor adheres to the inspection schedule. A building inspector will be required to check work at various stages of the project to make sure everything is safe, to code and matches the drawings that were submitted. As the property owner, the inspections are your guarantee that the contractor is delivering what was promised. If you miss an inspection, you may be required to tear down work to grant access to the inspector which costs you time and money. Make sure that the contractor has a copy of the inspection schedule and follows it.
Be Involved and Ask Questions
As a homeowner, stay involved. Be part of the building process, ask questions, make sure you get the proper permits and know exactly how your project is progressing. Ensure that inspections are done and at the right time. Remember, this is ultimately your project and permits can save you time and money.