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When Do I Need a Building Permit?

Notice:  The City of Pembroke now asks that, if possible, building plans be submitted in PDF as well as in hard copy.

Under the Ontario Building Code Act (OBCA), a building permit is required for the construction and/or demolition of a new building, an addition, or a material alteration of any building or structure.

  • Section 8(1) of the OBCA states that "no person shall construct or demolish a building or cause a building to be constructed or demolished unless a permit has been issued."

  • In the Act, "construct" means "to do anything in the erection, installation, extension, or material alteration or repair of a building and includes the installation of a building unit fabricated or moved from elsewhere.

  • In the Act, "building" means:

a) a structure occupying an area greater than ten square meters consisting of a wall, roof, and floor or any of them or a structured system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures, and service systems appurtenant thereto;
b) a structure occupying an area of ten square meters or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto;
c) plumbing not located in a structure;
c.1) a sewage system; or
d) structures designated in the building code.

As the building owner, you are responsible for complying with all building requirements. Failure to obtain building permits can result in costly construction delays, legal action and/or the removal of work already completed. 

The following is a list of common projects that require a building permit. The list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions please contact the City of Pembroke Building Department.  Notice:  The City of Pembroke now asks that, if possible, building plans be submitted in PDF as well as in hard copy.

  1. Construct a new building;
  2. Construct an addition to an existing building, such as:
    • second or third story additions
    • attached garages, carports
    • sunrooms
    • solariums, porches, decks;
  3. Make structural or material alterations, such as:
    • adding or removing walls (i.e., changing room sizes and/or uses)
    • new windows or doors where there were none before
    • enlarging or relocating existing windows or doors
    • enclosing an existing deck, porch or patio of any size;
  4. Construct an accessory structure larger than 10 square metres* (108 square feet) in area, such as a:
    • detached garage
    • workshop
    • garden shed
    • carport
    • pool house or cabana *Note: If you are constructing an accessory structure and it is attached to an existing building and/or has plumbing, regardless of its size, a building permit is required.
  5. Finish a basementif the work proposed includes any of the following: 
    • structural or material alterations
    • installing or modifying heating and/or plumbing systems
    • installing insulation
    • excavating and/or constructing foundations
    • basement underpinning
    • constructing a basement entrance
    • adding a second suite;
  6. Construct a deck;
  7. Construct a retaining wall more than one metre (3 feet 3 inches) in height or construct a retaining wall of any size which will be on or adjacent to public property (including streets), building entrances, or on private property accessible to the public;
  8. Demolish or remove all of or a portion of a building;
  9. Install a sewage system;
  10. Install or modify heating and/or plumbing systems;
  11. Change a building's use (e.g. from residential to office, or single dwelling-unit house to multi-dwelling unit house). Even if no construction is proposed, if a change of use is proposed a building permit is required;
  12. Damp proofing a building;
  13. Fences that encompass a swimming pool.
  14. Install, erect, or place a sign.

Fees and Schedules

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Small Residential or Commercial Additions
Service Description A building permit is required for an addition to a small residential building such as a detached house, a semi-detached house, or a townhouse, and for small additions to commercial buildings. Service Outcome Building...
Small Residential Interior Alterations
Service Description A building permit for an interior alteration to a small residential building, such as a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse is required. Service Outcome Building Permit General Information All drawings...
Decks, Verandahs, and Porches
Service Description  A building permit review for a deck, verandah, or porch to an existing house is required. A permit is required for decks that are more than 60 cm (24 inches) above ground. Service Outcome Building...
Attached and Detached Garages and Carports
Service Description A building permit review for a carport or garage that is an accessory to an existing house is required. Service Outcome Building Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on standardized sized sheets,...
Fences
Service Description Provided the fence does not enclose a pool, is less than 2.13 m (7 ft) in height in a residential zone and less than 2.44 m (8 ft) in a non-residential zone, and meets all other applicable laws, no building permit is required....
Swimming Pool/Fence Application
Service Description A permit must be obtained for the design and construction of enclosures so that owners of pools can reasonably prevent unauthorized or accidental entry to their pools, and to recognize pool fences. Service...
New Building
Service Description A building permit for any new buildings. Service Outcome Building Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on standardized sized sheets, drawn to scale, fully dimensioned, signed and dated. If...
Residential Demolition Permit
Service Description A permit to demolish an existing building. Service Outcome Demolition Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on standardized sized sheets, drawn to scale, fully dimensioned, signed and...
Damp Proofing
Service Description Damp proofing is a coating, usually asphalt-based, that is either sprayed on or hand applied to the outside of the wall. Service Outcome Building Permit General Information All drawings to be...
Designated Structure
Service Description Building permit for the construction of a designated structure, such as communication towers, crane runways, exterior tanks and supports, pedestrian bridges, retaining walls, satellite dishes, and solar collector...
Mechanical (HVAC)
Service Description Stand-alone Mechanical (HVAC) Building Permit for work which is not related to other construction proposed for a building. Service Outcome Building Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on...
Plumbing Stand-Alone
Service Description Stand-alone Plumbing Building Permit for work which is not related to other construction proposed for a building. Service Outcome Plumbing Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on standardized...
Sewage Systems
Service Description A Sewage System treats the sewage to prevent the transmission of disease and prevents damage to the environment. Service Outcome Sewage System Permit General Information All drawings to be drawn on standardized...
  
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