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When you do (or don’t) need a Building Permit

Obtaining a building permit is an important step to ensure that your project is built properly and safely, and that it adheres to any additional city policies. To assist you, staff have compiled a list of common building and renovation projects to help you determine if your project requires a building permit.

A Building Permit is required prior to building, demolishing, or installing any of the following:

Additions and Accessory Structures:

  • Storage shed greater than 15 square metres, or any size if it contains plumbing. (Please note that even if your shed is less than 15 square metres and a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met).
  • Building or structure greater than 10 square metres, or any size that contains plumbing
  • Addition to an existing building
  • Communication or transmission tower or antenna greater than 16.6 metres high above ground level
  • Deck greater than 10 square metres in area or 0.61 metres (2 feet) high
  • Detached garage
  • Attached Garage
  • A stationary dock greater than 10 square metres
  • Boathouses
  • Temporary tents greater than 60 square metres
  • Satellite dish attached to a building, or a dish with an area equal to or greater than 5 square metres
  • Solar panels mounted to a building
  • Stage (outdoor demoutable stages)
  • Swimming Pool or Hot Tub
  • Patio for a restaurant
  • Parking structure, like a multi level parking garage
  • Pylon Signs &  Fascia Signs

Repairs & Renovations:

  • Balcony: either constructing one on a house, apartment, or condo, or replacing or repairing guards on an apartment or condo
  • Porch that is covered

Basement including:

  • Finishing a basement to create rooms or living space
  • Basement apartment (also known as second unit)
  • Excavating a basement to increase existing headroom
  • Below grade entrance or basement walkout
  • Interior alterations
  • Fire damage repair
  • Removing Interior walls
  • Loading dock
  • Mezzanine
  • Re-cladding a building with new material, for example changing siding to brick
  • Roof extensions or alterations to increase the height or change the slope
  • Skylights
  • Underpinning foundation walls
  • Weeping tile repairs or changes on a property in the Foundation Drainage Collection (FDC) System area
  • Windows: either new or increasing the size of an existing window
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Doors: either adding a new door or increasing the size of an existing one
  • Dormers
  • Shoring and excavation
  • Weeping tile repairs or changes on a property in the Foundation Drainage Collection System area
  • Change the use of a building

Fire Safety Systems, Plumbing, Mechanical & Heating Alterations including:

  • Backflow preventers
  • Backwater Valves
  • Furnace ducts being altered
  • Gas fireplace used for heating
  • Geothermal system
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
  • Kitchen exhaust
  • Plumbing fixture like a sink, tub, toilet, or shower that is added, removed, or relocated
  • Plumbing drainage: install, replace or repair
  • Private sewage system: install, replace or repair
  • Rooftop HVAC replacements
  • Sewer systems: install, repair, or replace
  • Site servicing
  • Sump pumps
  • Wood burning appliances fireplace
  • Spray booths
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Dust Collection Systems
  • Fire alarm system
  • Fire damage repair
  • Fire suppression system
  • Generator connected to life safety equipment like fire alarms or emergency lighting
  • Maglocks

A Building Permit is not required prior to building, demolishing, or installing any of the following:

  • Accessory structure like a Storage Shed less than 15 square metres that does not contain plumbing. (Please note that even though a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met).
  • Cabinetry or cupboards
  • Concrete pad
  • Deck less 10 square metres that is less than 600 mm (2 feet) in height. (Please note that even though a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met).
  • Decorations
  • Docks floating on the water
  • Doors: replacing an existing one with the same size
  • Driveway: either widening or resurfacing. (Please note that even though a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met)
  • Eavestrough
  • Fireplace that’s decorative gas
  • Gazebo less than 10 square metres, that does not have plumbing
  • Landscaping work
  • Minor masonry repairs
  • Painting
  • Plumbing fixture replacement in the same location, for example a sink, tub, toilet, or shower
  • Re-cladding a building with the same material, for example siding to siding, or brick to brick
  • Re-shingling a roof
  • Retaining wall less than one metre high
  • Shed less than 15 square metres with no plumbing. (Please note that even though a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met).
  • Windows: replacing an existing one with the same size

If you don’t see your project type on the list, please reach out and we will let you know what is required.

For more information on what kind of information you will need to include with your permit application, click here to read more about the supporting documents and information you will need for your permit.

For additional information, please contact the Building Department

Please note that even when a Building Permit is not required, certain Planning Regulations must still be met. When in doubt, please check with staff.

Click here to start your Building Permit Application.

Demountable Stages now require a building permit

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing made amendments to Ontario’s Building Code (O.Reg. 30/23) effective February 28, 2023.

Building Permit Requirements

As a result of these amendments municipalities must require Building permits for demountable stages and associated sound and lighting equipment towers. These stages must also comply with specific technical requirements for stage safety. This amendment responds to recommendations from a Coroner’s Inquiry and from an expert panel on strengthening safety standards in the live performance industry following two stage collapses that resulted in injuries and a fatality in 2011 and 2012.

Demountable stages and demountable support structures are regulated by the Ontario Building code and are required to obtain a building permit prior to their erection where the structures meet the following criteria:

Demountable stages:

  1. the aggregate area of all platforms of the demountable stage is more than 60 square metres (645 square feet) and any part of its platforms is more than 3 metres (9 feet 10 inches) in height above adjacent ground level,
  2. the aggregate area of all platforms of the demountable stage is more than 225 square metres (2,422 square feet), or
  3. any part of the platforms or any roof, wall or structure attached to or located on any of the platforms of the demountable stage is 5 metres (16 feet 4 inches) or more in height above adjacent ground level.

Demountable support structure

  1. is more than 3 metres (9 feet 10 inches) in height above adjacent ground level,
  2. is designed to carry a superimposed specified load greater than 115 kilograms, or
  3. would create a hazard to the public.

Definitions:

“Aggregate area”: the sum of the gross horizontal areas of all of the platforms on a lot measured from the exterior faces of platforms.

“Barrier free”: when applied to a building and its facilities, that the building and its facilities can be approached, entered and used by persons with physical or sensory disabilities.

“Demountable stage”: a structure that,

  1. consists of one or more platforms together with any wall, roof or other structures attached to or located on any of the platforms,
  2. is intended to be used for public or private performances or events, other than performances or events associated with movie or television productions,
  3. is intended to be erected, assembled or installed for a limited specified time,
  4. is capable of being dismantled at its location and moved to be reconstituted elsewhere or is erected for one-time use,
  5. is not located inside a fully enclosed building,
  6. is primarily for use by performers and workers, and
  7. may or may not be mounted on wheels.

“Demountable support structure:” any structure that,

  1. is capable of supporting banners, stage sets, props, sound equipment, lighting equipment or other equipment,
  2. is intended to be used for public or private performances or events, other than performances or events associated with movie or television productions,
  3. is intended to be erected, assembled or installed for a limited specified time,
  4. is capable of being dismantled at its location and moved to be reconstituted elsewhere or is erected for one-time use,
  5. is not attached to or located on a demountable stage,
  6. is not located inside a fully enclosed building,
  7. is primarily for use by performers and workers, and
  8. may or may not be mounted on wheels.

“Exit”: that part of a means of egress, including doorways, that leads from the floor area it serves to a separate building, an open public thoroughfare or an exterior open space protected from fire exposure from the building and having access to an open public thoroughfare.

“Floor Area”: the space on any storey of a building between exterior walls and required firewalls, including the space occupied by interior walls and partitions, but not including exits , vertical service spaces and their enclosing assemblies.

“Guard”: a protective barrier, with or without openings through it, that is around openings in floors or at the open sides of stairs, landings, balconies, mezzanines, galleries, raised walkways or other locations to prevent accidental falls from one level to another.

“Means of Egress”: exits and access to exits and means a continuous path of travel provided for the escape of persons from any point in a building or in a contained open space to,

  1. a separate building,
  2. an open public thoroughfare, or
  3. an exterior open space that is protected from fire exposure from the building and that has access to an open public thoroughfare.

“Occupant Load”: the number of persons for which a building or part of a building is designed.

Construction Requirements

Section 3.16A. of Division B of the Ontario Building Code provides the construction requirements for Demountable Stages and Demountable Support Structures. A summary of these requirements is provided below:

3.16A.2.1. Occupant Load

  1. A demountable stage shall be considered a floor area for the purpose of determining the occupant load in accordance with Clause 3.1.17.1.(1)(c).

3.16A.2.2. Means of Egress

  1. A platform of a demountable stage shall be considered a floor area for purposes of this Article.
  2. Except as provided in Sentence (3), access to at least two means of egress shall be provided from every platform of a demountable stage.
  3. A platform of a demountable stage may be served by one means of egress where,
    1. the total occupant load of the demountable stage is less than 60 persons, and
    2. the aggregate area of the demountable stage is less than 150 square metres (1,615 square feet), or the travel distance from any point on the platform to the exit is less than 30 metres (98 feet 5 inches).
  4. Except as provided in Sentence (5), where at least two means of egress are required from a platform of a demountable stage, the maximum travel distance to an exit shall be not more than 45 metres (147 feet 7 and one half inches).
  5. Sentence (4) need not apply where exits are located at not more than 60 metres (196 feet 10 inches) apart, measured along the perimeter of the platform.
  6. The least distance between two required exits on a platform of a demountable stage shall be one-half the maximum diagonal dimension of the platform.
  7. Except as provided in Sentence (8) and unless it can be shown that they do not present a hazard, stairs, ramps and handrails in an exit from a platform of a demountable stage shall conform to the dimensional and slip-resistance requirements in Section 3.4. of Division B of the Ontario Building Code.
  8. The maximum slope of a fixed ramp serving a platform of a demountable stage shall be 1 in 6.

3.16A.2.3. Guards

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (3) and unless it can be shown that the platform does not present a hazard, a guard not less than 1070 millimetres (42 inches) high shall be provided for a platform of a demountable stage where the difference in elevation between the platform and the adjacent surface is more than 1500 millimetres (59 inches).
  2. Sentence (1) need not apply at the edges of a platform of a demountable stage that face an audience.
  3. The height of guards for stairs shall be,
    1. not less than 920 millimetres (36 inches) measured vertically to the top of the guard from a line drawn through the outside edges of the stair nosings, and
    2. not less than 1070 millimetres (42 inches) around landings.
  4. Guards shall be designed to withstand loads specified in Part 4.
  5. Required guards shall be provided with a top rail and one or more intermediate rails spaced such that openings through the guard are of a size that prevents the passage of a spherical object having a diameter of 535 millimetres (21 inches).

3.16A.2.4. Clearance to Other Structures

  1. Except as provided in Sentence (2), a demountable stage shall not be erected, assembled or installed closer than 3 metres to,
    1. another demountable stage, or
    2. another structure, other than a demountable support structure.
  2. Sentence (1) need not apply to demountable stages that are located on fair grounds or similar open spaces provided it can be shown that such closer spacing does not create a hazard to the public.

3.16A.2.5. Flame Resistance

  1. Tarpaulins, decorative materials, fabrics and films attached to demountable stages or demountable support structures shall conform to CAN/ULC-S109, “Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films” or NFPA 701, “Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films”.

3.16A.2.6. Provision for Firefighting

  1. Access shall be provided to demountable stages for the purpose of firefighting.

3.16A.2.7. Electrical Systems

  1. The electrical system and equipment associated with a demountable stage or a demountable support structure, including electrical fuses and switches, shall be inaccessible to the public.
  2. Cables on the ground in areas used by the public and adjacent to a demountable stage or demountable support structure shall be placed in trenches or protected by covers to prevent damage from traffic.
  3. Where a demountable stage or demountable support structure is to be erected, assembled or installed in proximity to existing above ground electrical conductors, the demountable stage or demountable support structure shall be erected, assembled or installed in accordance with Ontario Building Code Article 3.1.19.1.

3.16A.2.8. Structural Provisions

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (4), demountable stages and demountable support structures and their structural members shall be designed, erected, assembled and installed,
    1. in conformance with Division B. Part 4 of the Ontario Building Code, or
    2. to conform to good engineering practice appropriate to the circumstances such as that described in ANSI E1.21, “Entertainment Technology – Temporary Structures Used for Technical Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events”.
  2. The reference velocity pressure shall be the appropriate value determined in conformance with Subsection 1.1.2. based on a probability of being exceeded in any one year of 1-in-10 with a 2.5 gust factor.
  3. For purposes of Clause (1)(a), demountable stages and demountable support structures shall be assigned a Normal Importance Category as described in Table 4.1.2.1.B.
  4. Foundations shall be designed in accordance with Section 4.2. using allowable bearing pressures determined from subsurface investigation.

3.16A.2.9. Barrier-Free Design

  1. If a demountable stage is intended for limited public occupancy, a barrier-free path of travel conforming to Articles 3.8.1.3. and 3.8.3.4. of Division B of the Ontario Building Code shall be provided to and throughout at least one platform of the demountable stage.

Professional Review

The construction of a demountable stage or demountable support structure regulated by the Ontario Building Code shall be reviewed by a Professional Engineer.

Complete Building Permit Application – Required Documentation

Submission Requirements

Building Permits are managed through an online submission portal. When you apply for a temporary use permit using Cloudpermit you will be asked to upload the following attachments:

  1. Commitment to general review form completed and signed by the engineer and applicant.
  2. Plans and specifications stamped by an engineer which demonstrate compliance with the above noted building code requirements.
  3. A Site plan showing:
    1. The location of all buildings on the property.
    2. The location and dimensions of the Stage or Support structure
    3. The setbacks (distance) from property lines and existing buildings
    4. the location of any ‘designated’ fire routes on the property.
  4. Written authorization from the property owner granting permission to the applicant to make an application for building permit.
  5. Payment of the applicable building permit fee.

Once a complete building permit application is received a confirmed permit bill will be sent to the applicant through Cloudpermit.  Credit Card payments may be made online within Cloudpermit. Alternatively the City accepts Debit, Credit Card, Cash, or Cheque in office at City Hall.

Required Inspections

Prior to use of the stage, an inspection is required to be completed by the building department. Directions on how to arrange this inspection will be provided with the building permit package upon issuance.

Change of Use Building Permits

If you are planning to change the way you use all or part of an existing building, you may need a Change of Use Building Permit, even if you are not planning any construction.

10(1) of the Building Code Act states:

“Even though no construction is proposed, no person shall change the use of a building or part of building or permit the use to be changed if the change would result in an increase in hazard, as determined in accordance with the building code, unless a permit has been issued by the chief building official.”

Why is a Change of Use Building Permit required?

When the use of a building is changed, it may represent an increase in hazard to the occupants of the building. In a new building constructed and inspected in accordance with current building codes, the occupants of the building and the building itself are protected from the anticipated levels of hazard by compensating construction. Consequently, when the use of an existing building is changed and the hazard level is increased as determined by Part 10 of Division B of the Ontario Building Code, measures may have to be taken to mitigate those additional hazards by upgrading of one or more of the following areas:

  • structural systems
  • demising walls & fire separations
  • exits & door hardware
  • provision of washroom facilities and plumbing fixtures
  • HVAC system (ventilation)
  • exit signs and emergency lighting
  • fire alarm system may be required

Please contact our Building Department to learn more. 

New building code requirements: Stair Dimensions, Guards, and Handrails

Background

Ontario Regulation 88/19, filed on May 2, 2019, provides amendments to the Ontario Building Code related to stairs, guards, and handrails. Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with the amendments to ensure that submissions comply with the new requirements.

These changes are to further harmonize the Ontario Building Code with the 2015 National Code. These latest changes came into effect on January 1, 2022.

Building Permits Applied for After January 1, 2022

Code amendments that may have implications on your designs for Building Permits applied for after January 1, 2022, include, but are not limited to:

  • Increase of the dimension for tread depth which could affect overall stairwell size.
  • Changes to landing and ramp dimensions.
  • Spiral stairs introduced in Part 9.
  • Changes to height, continuity, and ergonomic design of handrails.
  • Loads on guards.

For more detailed information, please contact the Building Department.

For a complete list of amendments, refer to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Soil Gas Mitigation in new Part 9 residential buildings

Background

A Recent Health Canada survey found that 19.4% of the houses evaluated in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark had levels of radon gas above Canada Health guidelines. Radon concentrations are more prevalent in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark because of the region’s unique rock formations that trap the radioactive gas.

Radon is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas that is formed naturally by the radioactive breakdown of uranium contained in soil and rock. Radon usually escapes from the ground into the air where it mixes with fresh air resulting in concentrations too low to be of concern. However, when radon enters an enclosed space such as a building, it can accumulate to higher concentrations, and the only way to confirm radon concentrations is to test.

According to Health Canada, long-term exposure to radon is linked to approximately 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada and is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Canada’s guidelines dictate that radon gas concentrations above 200 Becquerel’s per cubic metre (Bq/m3) require remediation.

Building Permits Applied for After February 21, 2022

All building permit applications for new construction, and additions to, lowrise residential buildings in The City of Brockville applied for after February 21, 2022, will be required to incorporate radon gas mitigation construction requirements in compliance with the Ontario Building Code. These requirements apply to the construction of new dwellings, and residential additions with an area over 20m2.

Please contact the Building Department for more information. 

Residential Lot Grading Requirements

The information contained herein serves to confirm lot grading submission requirements, lot grading design criteria and approval processes as outlined in the City of Brockville’s Drainage Bylaw 033-2004 (Bylaw to Amend Bylaw 113-91) Being a Bylaw to Regulate Drainage in the City of Brockville.

Lot Grading Submission Requirements:

Note: All submissions pertaining to lot grading are to be submitted to the Building Department.

  1. Lot Grading and Drainage Plans accompanying all “Phase 1” applications and Occupancy Inspection Phase requests are to be prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer, and certified.
  2. Where the property to be developed has an approved Master Lot Grading and Drainage Plan, the Phase 1 and Occupancy Inspection Phase lot grading and drainage plans will be required to correspond with the elevations, grades and design criteria illustrated on the approved Master Lot Grading and Drainage Plan.
  3. Where the property to be developed does not have an approved Master Lot Grading and Drainage Plan, due to it being an “in-fill” lot in an area which was developed prior to requirements for a Master Lot Grading and Drainage Plan, there will be a requirement to have the site surveyed by an Ontario Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer to establish original ground elevations. The Phase 1 grading plan submission will then be required to comply with the following design criteria of this document. The Occupancy Inspection Phase grading plan submission will be required to meet the same requirements.

Lot Grading Design Criteria:

Phase 1 grading plan

All elevations and measurements to be in metric.

  • Geodetic bench mark information (location and elevation), and North Arrow, street name, lot number and civic address
  • The existing and proposed elevations of all lot corners
  • Proposed elevations of all breakpoints
  • Proposed elevations at all building corners
  • Proposed elevations at property line adjacent to all building corners
  • Proposed minimum top of building foundation, and proposed finish floor elevation of garage (if applicable)
  • Location of proposed driveway, decks, porches, patios, retaining walls and privacy fences
  • Current site conditions of abutting properties (vacant, developed, under construction)
  • Location of property line, front, side and rear setback measurements, and lot dimensions
  • Location, direction, and grade of all proposed swales
  • Proposed swale elevations at beginning of swales and outlet end of swales
  • Location and top of grate elevation of rear yard catch basins (if applicable)
  • Location and dimensions of any drainage easements to be maintained by the City of Brockville
  • Illustration of typical swale section showing proposed width, minimum depth (minimum depth 200 mm) and proposed side slope (minimum 4:1, maximum 3:1)
  • Illustration of typical grade elevation detail
  • The minimum swale depth shall be 200 mm with a longitudinal grade of 1%
  • Swales shall be located on or inside all property boundaries to prevent surface runoff from free flowing between properties
  • The minimum surface gradient shall be 2%
  • Driveway grades shall be 2% minimum and 10% maximum
  • There shall be a 3 metre apron at a minimum grade of 2% away from the dwelling where grades are flowing toward the dwelling

Occupancy Inspection Phase grading plan

  • same as above including measured elevations at all proposed elevation locations

Note: The City of Brockville maintains a 0.1m elevation tolerance between proposed elevations and measured elevations. The 0.1 m is intended to allow for final grading (topsoil and sodding and/or seeding). The Occupancy Inspection Phase grading plan may be submitted at a rough grade stage, however, the measured elevations should, in this case be 0.1 m lower than proposed to allow for landscaping materials (topsoil and sod or seed)

Approval Processes:

  1. Phase 1:
    • A Phase 1 grading plan will be approved if it complies with the design criteria described above.
  2. Occupancy Inspection Phase:
    • An Occupancy Inspection Phase grading plan will be approved if it complies with the design criteria described in this document.
  3. Letter of Undertaking:
    • The applicant has the option of deferring the grading to a later date in order to facilitate a final inspection from the Planning Department, Building Services Division. The “Letter of Undertaking” is intended for applicants who have not finished final grading prior to inclement weather, before and shortly after the winter season.
    • The applicant may apply for the Letter of Undertaking with the Building Department. The Letter of Undertaking must be signed and dated by the applicant, indicate a completion date, and include a minimum deposit. The application will be reviewed and must be approved prior to a final inspection. The applicant must then have the grading completed prior to the completion date indicated on the approved Letter of Undertaking and submit a final grading plan. Upon approval of the plan, the deposit will be released to the applicant.

Should you have any questions with respect to the information provided, please contact the Supervisor of Engineering.

Tents, awnings, and canopies

A building permit may be required for temporary tents, awnings and canopies. The following outlines the requirements for tents, awnings and canopies to ensure that residents, business owners, and events planners are informed of all municipal requirements to maintain public safety in accordance with statutory regulations.

Tents, awnings, and canopies require a building permit unless exempted below:

Tent Exemptions*

A tent or group of tents is exempt from a building permit if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The tent or combination of tents is not more than 60 square metres in aggregate ground area,
  • The tent is not attached to a building, and
  • The tent shall be constructed more than 3 metres from all other structures, including buildings on the same property.

Awning or Canopy Exemptions*

  • An awning or canopy is exempt from a building permit if the following are met:
  • The awning or canopy is attached to the building and does not project more than 300 millimetres from the face of the building.

*Requirements for exempted tents, awnings or canopies

If the tent, awning, or canopy has been exempted from a building permit, businesses must comply with other regulations for public safety, specifically:

  • All fabric, textile, or film, as applicable, is required to be certified to CAN/ ULC-S109 Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films or NFPA 701 Fire Tests for Flame Propagation.
  • Tents, awnings, and canopies that are intended to be equipped with a fuel fired appliance or heater, as applicable, shall comply with the clearance and ventilation requirements provided by the manufacturer and all applicable standards.
  • At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers as per Provincial Legislation.

Building Permits

Any tent, awning, and canopy that does not satisfy all requirements for an exemption is required to be erected under the benefit of a building permit. Where a building permit is required, site specific pre-consultation with a Building Official is recommended. Building permits can now be applied for online. 

Please click here for more information on tent requirements.

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