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When Do I Need a Building Permit?

Under the Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction and/or demolition of a new building, an addition, or material alteration of any building or structure. The following is a list of common projects that require or do not require a building permit:


When is a Building Permit Required?

As the building owner, you are ultimately 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 Pembroke Building Department.

  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
    • 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.

  1. Finishing a basementif the work proposed includes any of the following, 
    • structural or material alterations
    • installing or modifying heating and or plumbing systems
    • excavating and/or constructing foundations
    • basement underpinning
    • constructing a basement entrance
    • adding a second suite
  2. Construct a deck more than 60 centimetres (24 inches) above ground
  3. Construct a retaining wall more than one metre (3 feet 3 inches) in height provided the retaining wall is on or adjacent to public property (including streets), building entrances, and on private property accessible to the public
  4. Demolish or remove all, or a portion of a building
  5. Install a Sewage System
  6. Install or modify heating and or plumbing systems
  7. Change a building's use (i.e. 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.
  8. Damp proofing a building.
  9. Fences that encompass a Swimming Pool

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When is a Building Permit Not Required?

The following are examples of work which do not require a building permit and are not subject to the provisions of the building code. However, please note that this list is not exhaustive and judgment should be used depending on the situation and circumstances associated with the project. Even if a building permit is not required, compliance with the Zoning By-law is required.

  1. An uncovered platform (i.e. deck) attached to a residential building provided:
    • its finished deck level is not more than 60 cm (24 inches) above the adjacent finished grade; and/or
    • it is floating on its own supports, (i.e. .it is not attached to a building structure); and/or
    • it does not form part of an exit required under the building code; and
    • complies with the Zoning By-law.
  2. Installing a skylight in an existing building provided:
    • the building is a house or small building (3 storeys or less) and
    • the installation does not require the removal of more than one rafter, joist, or other similar structural member (with the exception of a truss);
  3. Re-cladding of a house or small building (3 storeys or less) with non-combustible material other than brick or stone veneer;
  4. The replacement of windows or doors provided:
    • there is no change in the location or size of the window and/or door;
    • the structural support for the opening (i.e. lintel) is not affected; and
    • a new exit is not created;
  5. Replacing a furnace or boiler in a house;
  6. The installation of additional cooling systems, gas fireplaces, air cleaners, in-line humidifiers, or hot water tanks in a house;
  7. Repairing and replacing plumbing fixtures;
  8. Replacing existing roofing material provided no structural work is required;
  9. Finishing a basement of a house, if:
    • the work does not include structural or material alterations;
    • no additional dwelling unit(s) is (are) created (i.e. a second unit); and
    • the work does not include the installation of new plumbing;
  10. Installation of cabinetry and millwork.
  11. Plastic Sheet Covered Accessory Structures (i.e. snow canopies, driveway tents, automotive canopy) do not require a building permit if installed on or after October 15th and are removed on or before May 15th. Compliance with the Zoning By-law is required.
  12. Constructing a retaining wall that is on private property, not accessible to the public and/or where the height is less than 1 metre in height at any location.
  13. A building permit is not required to install a sump pump.
  14. Fences not encompassing a Swimming Pool.

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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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
  
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