Each May, the City of Toronto participates in Building Safety Month to highlight the importance of the Ontario Building Code and the City of Toronto’s role in upholding the standards that make our buildings among the safest, healthiest, most accessible and sustainable in the world.

This year’s theme is “Build Safe”, focusing on what residents need to know about building permits and how the permitting process helps ensure projects are completed safely.

Building permits allow the City to confirm that construction projects are structurally sound and follow the Ontario Building Code, municipal zoning and other applicable laws. The City’s building officials have an essential role in reviewing plans, inspecting projects and enforcing bylaws. Their work ensures the resulting construction project is safe and legal for any present and future occupants.

Below are links and resources that help us work together to Build Safe.

Generally, you are required to get a building permit for:

  • a new building or structure larger than 10 square metres,
  • additions to an existing building,
  • renovations that change the structural design of a building (eg: adding a new window), impact safety (eg: adding a second suite), and
  • changes to mechanical or plumbing systems (eg: installing a new bathroom).

Find a detailed list of when a building permit is required and when it’s not.

The City of Toronto has detailed submission requirements online for your reference, including:

  • Small Residential Projects
  • Laneway Suites
  • Renovations and New Houses
  • Structures (i.e. tents and other temporary structures)
  • Plumbing, Mechanical and Drains related to a Building Permit

Permit drawings are the most important part of a building permit application. Good drawings speed up the review process and reduce the likelihood of delays.

The Province of Ontario sets specific rules on who can prepare and submit building permit drawings:

  • The property owner may prepare the drawings if they have the required drafting skills and knowledge of the Ontario Building Code.
  • Otherwise, Qualified Designers must prepare the drawings. A qualified designer has obtained a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) or holds a professional designation. The professional designation can be with either the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) or Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).

Several resources are available to find a qualified designer or registered firm, including local online classified listings and internet searches. The following associations and organizations also have listings and contact information for local designers:

The City of Toronto does not endorse any individual designer or organization. This list has been assembled for general information purposes only.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website.

You can email building permit applications to bldapplications@toronto.ca.

Please review the detailed email submission process.

City staff will review the submission within one business day to determine whether it is sufficient to make an application. Once the review is complete, you will receive a Submission Status Letter by email that either:

A. Finds the application is sufficient. The letter will request payment of initial fees, which you can pay over the telephone via credit card. City staff will then assign a Plan Examiner to conduct a full review for compliance with the Ontario Building Code.

or

B. Finds the application is insufficient. The letter will contain the additional items required for an acceptable application. You will be required to submit those items before a review can start.

During the Plan Review process, if the examiner identifies any deficiencies, a notice will be sent to the applicant via email.

Once your application has been reviewed and found to comply with building regulations, and you have paid all the required fees, your permit will be issued electronically. If additional permit fees are required, you will be notified via email and be required to make payment before the issuance of the permit.

You can check the status of your application using our Building Permit Application and Inspection Status tool.

Once your permit is issued, you can start work on your project. Depending on the nature of the project, inspectors may have to visit your building site several times to conduct inspections (i.e. when you complete the completion foundations, structural framing, fire separation, insulation etc…).

You may request inspections online, using the Toronto Building Inspection Requests web app. The app provides access to request, cancel or reschedule an inspection seven days a week. Inspections are held Monday to Friday during regular business hours.