Before starting construction, make sure you will comply with the construction site requirements and review our “good neighbour” guidelines.

Renovating and renewing your home can contribute to the health, vitality and value of your neighbourhood. However, unless a construction project is properly planned and managed you may cause harmful effects to and ill will with your neighbours.

Whether you are a property owner or a construction professional, you can ensure that your construction project has a lasting, positive effect for yourself and your neighbourhood.

As a property owner you are ultimately responsible for any construction project on your land.

As a construction professional, you can limit unwanted disturbances and build a positive profile for your business by being considerate to residents of the neighbourhood.

Working together, as good neighbours, you can run a successful and safe project.

Some examples of construction:

  • Build a deck, balcony or garage
  • Renovate an office, store or building
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • Construct a new building
  • Demolish or remove all or part of a building

It is important for you to keep neighbours informed of your building plans at all times. Before starting work on your building project, you should:

  • Tell your neighbours what is being planned by writing or visiting them personally.
  • Tell them how long construction will take.
  • Provide them with a way to contact you if they have concerns about the project or if there is an emergency.
  • Post your building permit in a prominent area on your property.

When neighbours are fully informed, they tend to be more understanding and supportive of your project.

You should collect and remove waste on a regular basis. Prompt clean up of garbage and construction waste keeps the site from becoming a health and safety hazard and an eyesore.

Remove any mud tracked onto the city streets and sidewalks. If mud tracking is a serious problem, trucks should be hosed down before leaving the site. You should immediately flush and/or sweep down any road that has substantial mud build-up.

Failure to keep your site clean of construction debris may result in fines under City Bylaws.

You will need a Street Occupation Permit before starting a demolition, renovation, or construction project if you are using an area beyond your property line (sidewalk, roadway or public lane).

Call 311 or e-mail for information on contacting your local permit office.

The Noise Bylaw (Chapter 591, City of Toronto Municipal Code) permits operation of construction equipment ONLY during Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and no construction noise on Sundays and statutory holidays (amending bylaw 505-2006).

Even during periods when construction is permitted, noise levels should be minimized as much as possible out of consideration for your neighbours. This is an important part of being a good neighbour.

Before work begins on a construction project, the building (Constructor in Health and Safety legislation) may need to file a Notice of Project (NOP) to the Ministry of Labour. The Government of Ontario has some tools and information to keep you informed. You may be asked to complete the Notice of Project as the property owner. Here are some things you should know first.

Your construction site must be kept safe for both neighbours and workers and must also be properly fenced. Failure to provide a protected construction site may cause injury and may prove very costly to you in a number of ways.

City bylaws, such as the Property Standards and Property Maintenance bylaws regulate many aspects of your site. Noncompliance with these bylaws can result in fines and possibly closing down of your project.

Here is a basic construction site checklist to follow:

  • Do not harm existing neighbourhood services. Contact your local utilities to locate underground services before you start digging.
  • Protect your neighours’ property, trees and plants. Make sure construction operations and trucks are kept away from your neighbours’ landscaping.
  • Put protective boarding or fences around trees and shrubs.
  • Enclose your construction site with protective fencing to restrict access (Toronto Municipal Code – Construction Fence Bylaw – Chapter 363).
  • If your working near overhead power lines, you must call Toronto Hydro for more information about having your lines de-energized, relocated/removed, or have the lines covered.
  • Place portable toilets well away from your neighbours’ homes and out of sight.
  • Do not litter your neighbours’ property with garbage bins and debris.
  • Respect your neighbours’ parking needs. Do not park any construction vehicles on your front lawn or block neighbours’ driveways.
  • Burning construction waste is not permitted.
  • Do not leave any potentially dangerous building materials, equipment or vehicles on the site unattended.
  • Insist that your workers wear and use proper safety equipment, such as approved hard hats and protective work boots.

Contact with a live power line can cause severe injuries and in some cases, death. It is in everyone’s interest to follow safety standards.

But more than that, it’s the law as stated by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is the constructor’s responsibility to ensure that everyone on the work site adheres to the safe limits of approach for live lines. Otherwise, your work site could be shut down. Should an injury occur, you could be held liable, whether you’re the property owner or contractor.

For more information on working near power lines visit Toronto Hydro’s website on Toronto Hydro Electrical Safety.