Building Permits Frequently ASKED QUESTIONS

what is a building permit?

A building permit is your formal permission to begin construction or demolition. It means that the Township of North Dumfries has approved plans for any new structure, addition or renovation. Approved plans must comply with the Ontario Building Code, local Zoning By-Laws, and other applicable laws and regulations.

It is unlawful to start construction or demolition before you get a permit.

Building permits regulate types of construction allowed in the community and ensure that building standards are met. The building permit process protects each homeowner's interests, as well as those of the community at large, and provides for the erection of safe structures.

Permits help ensure that any structural change is safe, legal and sound.

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. They have extensive hands-on experience, so try to be around during their visits.

In many cases, your designer or contractor will get permits on your behalf. But remember, it is the building owner who is ultimately responsible for complying with all building requirements.

when do you need a building permit?

You must obtain a building permit before you:
  • put up any new building or place another structure such as a mobile home on your property
  • repair or add to a building
  • excavate or construct a foundation
  • install heating, plumbing, air conditioning, or a fireplace
  • put up a temporary building
If you're not sure whether you need a building permit or you wish to change the use of your building, call the Building Department. Staff can answer your question immediately, or send a building inspector to look at what you plan to do and tell you what you need.

What Construction Projects Need Building Permits?

You need a building permit if you plan 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
  • install, change or remove portions and load-bearing walls
  • make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • build a garage, balcony or deck
  • install a swimming pool and construct a security fence around the pool area
  • excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems or fireplaces
  • installation or alteration of a wood burning appliance
  • reconstruct a chimney
  • installation of a new sign or alteration of an existing one

You do not need a building permit to:

  • replace existing, same-size doors and windows, subject to distance from property lines
  • install siding on small residential buildings, subject to distance from property lines
  • build a utility shed under 108 ft2 (10 m2)
  • re shingle a roof, provided there is no structural work
  • install eaves-troughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property
  • damp-proof basements
  • paint or decorate
  • install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • erect a fence (except for swimming pools - outside pools require permits)
  • electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations)

What happens if you do not get a permit?

If you start construction but do not have the necessary permits, you may be ordered to stop work, prosecuted, and even ordered to remove work already done. Contact the Building Department if you are not sure whether you need a permit for your project. If the Township refuses your application, you will be told why.

Building Inspections - When and why?

Building inspectors review projects during key stages of construction to ensure work complies with the Building Code and approved plans. Inspectors may visit several times, depending on the project; they must be able to see the part of the work under inspection. Inspectors require a minimum of 24 hours notice to book an inspection.
Please note: The township does not conduct pre-purchase inspections. If you need one, check the Building Inspection service section of the Yellow Pages.

Where / How to apply for a permit

You can make an application for any type of permit during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Township of North Dumfries Office.

Applications can be obtained from the Township Office, from the links below, or staff can fax you an application. In order to properly evaluate your application we will require a detailed sketch or survey of the property showing the location of your proposed construction. In addition, permit applications must be completed in their entirety. Construction drawings plans and other relevant information will greatly assist us in ensuring that your application is processed in a timely and professional manner.