Applying for a Building Permit

Do I need a building permit?

If you are not sure if you need a building permit for your project, contact us at 905-335-7731.

Some examples of projects that require a permit include:

  • Accessory structures such as garages and sheds greater than 10 square metres
  • Additions to existing buildings
  • Decks and porches, including enclosing existing decks, porches and patios
  • Demolition
  • Finishing of unfinished areas, including basements, attics and commercial areas
  • Installing new plumbing fixtures that require drains and vents
  • New building construction
  • Repairing or underpinning foundations
  • Replacing exterior cladding material to stucco
  • Septic systems and repairs
  • Signs
  • Solid fuel-burning appliances, including alterations to existing appliances
  • Structural alterations, new openings for doors and windows in existing walls
  • Swimming pools

Some examples of projects that do not require a permit include:

  • Electrical work (contact the Electrical Safety Authority)
  • Fences (contact us at 905-335-7642 for location and height regulations)
  • Painting, decorating, millwork and replacing plumbing fixtures
  • Patios and landscaping
  • Replacing doors or windows in an existing opening
  • Replacing siding or shingles with the same material
What are the consequences of not getting a building permit?
  • Additional fees under the Building Permit Bylaw
  • Costly repairs or removal of construction that is not in compliance with the Ontario Building Code, Zoning Bylaw or Grading and Drainage Clearance Certificate 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 do my own drawings? Yes. As the owner of the property, the Ontario Building Code provides an exemption for you to create your own drawings. However, if the drawings are below standard or missing information, you will need to re-submit them or hire a designer who carries the proper qualifications. I am moving to a new house and wish to do construction work on it. Can I apply for my building permit before I take ownership? No. You must be the owner of a house prior to applying for a building permit in Burlington. If you have bought a house that is in mid-project from the previous owner, you must apply for a transfer of permit. How long is my permit good for? Your permit is good 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 need permits, such as hedges, patio stones, etc. Items such as retaining walls, decks and gazebos over 10 square metres (or 108 square feet) may require a permit. Contact us at 905-335-7731 if you are not sure. 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 across Ontario.

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