You must buy a building permit before you start work on a new house, an addition, or any alterations to an existing house which are significant in nature and prior to changing the use of a building.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a building permit?

A building permit is a document issued by the Municipality under the Building Code Act. It's issuance grants legal permission to the applicant or their agent to undertake the construction, alteration, repair, demolition or change of use of a building on private property.

Why do I need a building permit?

A building permit is a means of ensuring all buildings are constructed to meet health, fire, structural and general safety standards to protect individuals and the community as a whole. A Building Permit is also required to ensure that a new use in an existing building does not interfere with life and structural safety elements in an existing building. We all need protection from tragedy due to fire, structural collapse and general deterioration of the structures around us. Obtaining a building permit provides the owner with expert advice and method to ensure that those needs are fulfilled.

Who is responsible for obtaining a building permit?

Some contractor will include this item as part of the job. However, the ultimate responsibility for obtaining a building permit rests with the homeowner. When a permit is required for the work being undertaken, no work is to commence until a permit has been obtained from the Municipality. If you are unsure whether or not you need a permit, simply call or email the Municipal Building Department at 705-856-2244 Ext. 228.

What happens to my permit application?

The Municipality will review your permit application to confirm the proposed work complies with the Ontario Building Code and the Zoning By-law. If there are problems with your application or your plans, the Municipality will tell you why and will show you what you have to do.

Applications for simple alterations or additions can be processed fairly quickly, but more complex proposals may take longer. If you need a zoning change or a minor variance or if the work does not comply with the building code, a permit will not be issued until all the changes have been made. If your property is covered by the Site Plan Control By-law, you will not get a building permit until you have met all the requirements set out in the by-law.

What happens during construction?

Building permits include a list of mandatory inspection to be called for at various stages of construction. After the Municipality receives notice for inspection, it will conduct an inspection of the work to ensure compliance with the Ontario Building Code, your permit and approved plans.

You will also be required to:

  • post your permit card in a window where it can be easily seen;
  • keep copies of the approved plans on site;
  • contact the Municipality at the appropriate stages of construction to have the mandatory inspections take place;
  • advise the Municipality about any last minute changes, which will also have to be approved; and
  • the Municipality must always be able to see the work. If it's different from the work that was approved, you will be told to correct it. If you don't, The Municipality can take legal action.

Who is responsible for calling to have the required inspection take place?

The home owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring the mandatory inspections take place. The Municipality needs to inspect your project at several stages during construction. These stages of inspections are listed on the back of your permit card. If inspections are not requested at the appropriate times, uncovering of the construction will be required.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required for, but not limited to, the following:

  • new buildings larger than 10 metres square (108 sq. ft.) including sheds and garages;
  • new additions to existing buildings;
  • renovations, repairs and alterations of existing buildings;
  • pre-fabricated buildings and temporary buildings
  • moving a building;
  • various structures (decks, retaining wall, towers pools etc.);
  • finishing your basement (new bedrooms, new rec rooms, new laundry room etc.);
  • building systems (fire alarm/suppression systems, HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) etc.);
  • installation, alteration and repairs of plumbing, drains and sewer systems;
  • demolition;
  • change of use (i.e. establishing a home occupation/home based business, lodging house, bed and breakfast or changing any part of a home or vice versa; and
  • fences;

When considering any kind of projects on your property it is a good idea to discuss your plans with the Municipality first. This will assist you to become aware of other permits or approvals you might need.

When is a building permit NOT required?

It isn't necessary to get a building permits to perform the following work. However, you must still comply with the requirements of the Municipality of Wawa Zoning By-Law and if applicable the Building Code:

  • accessory buildings less than 10 square metres (108 sq. ft.) in size;
  • replacement of plumbing fixtures (toilets, sink, bathtub, shower, hot water tank) in their original location;
  • replacement of windows or doors provided the rough opening size does not change and no structural changes taking place;
  • replacing or repairing damproofing on a basement;
  • kitchen cupboard replacement provided no changes to the plumbing system is taking place;
  • flooring replacement.

What can result from NOT obtaining a building permit?

Under the Building Code Act, it is an offence to commence construction without obtaining a building permit from the Municipality.

  • If the work does not comply with the Building Code requirements:
  • costly repairs may be required to gain compliance;
  • removal of the work not in compliance may be required;
  • the applicable permit fee is doubled;
  • legal action may be initiated by the Building Department to gain compliance. Anyone who is charged and found to be guilty of building without a permit can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for later offences. Fines up to $10,000 per day can also be imposed upon conviction if a person doesn't comply with an order from the Municipality.

Who can prepare my plans?

Since January 1, 2006, the Ontario Building Code requires designers to be registered or qualified. The Ontario Building Code also lists a number of exemptions to the qualification requirements. For example, an owner may design his/her own house or garage without being qualified. Additional information for designers can be found on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing web site.

Who should I contact for further information?

Chief Building Official at 705-856-2244 Ext. 228, fax 705-856-2120 or by Email.