Why Do I Need A Permit?

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The City of Toronto has many rules and regulations in place to make sure builders and homeowners follow health and safety, fire protection, environmental, and accessibility guidelines to ensure all of our safety and comfort. It is important to have a solid understanding of these regulations, because building bylaws, zoning regulations, and codes for plumbing and electrical systems are often changing. The penalties for not having a valid permit can be quite steep, as well, with fees ranging from just under $200 to over $26.5 thousand, not to mention the cost of changing or removing and non-complying elements! This headache can all be avoided, in part, by understanding when you need a permit and when you do not.


Renovating or finishing your basement may or may not require government permits. You can find out if you need a permit by contacting Toronto building permits office (or your local one), or look at the table below:

When Do I Not Need a Permit? When Do I Need a Permit?
There are no structural or material alterationsThere are any structural or material alterations
No extra dwelling unit(s) are created (i.e. legal second suit)You are adding a second legal suit
The original plumbing system stays the same; no additional installations are madeThere are any changes, installations, or modifications to heating and/or plumbing systems
There is excavation and/or major construction
There is underpinning being done
You are constructing a basement exit or entrance
You are constructing a chimney or fireplace

The Permit Process

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Before you even apply for a government permit you will need to complete a home assessment, and we help you with yours. Getting all of the necessary information about your household will give both you and our team an idea of the scope of the project, and what kind of drawings and services will be needed. Next, we will take any important measurements that we will need to create drawings such as: site plans, floor plans, elevations, and other details about the project for a permit application. The final step is to take these drawings to the City of Toronto for approval. We will make your permit process painless and efficient, leaving you more time to choose the colours of your walls, and less time spent on complicated permit paperwork.