Home Improvement Projects You May Not Realize Need A Permit
Tuesday Aug 18th, 2020
If you’ve been contemplating an update to your home, one of the first things you need to find out is whether the project will require a building permit. It’s especially important now because, depending on where you live, inspections may be delayed due to the pandemic, which means you’ll need to factor this into your timeline.
Building permits are necessary to ensure the work that’s being done complies with local zoning bylaws, building codes, and health and safety standards. When you make an application for a permit, you’ll need to include forms, drawings, and other documents, as well as a pay fee. Building without a permit can result in major delays, costly penalties, and legal problems. If you’re unsure whether your project requires a building permit, check with your municipality’s building department before you start any work. Remember, even if you’re working with a contractor, it is ultimately your responsibility as the homeowner to obtain the proper permits for the project.
These are some of the home improvement projects that require a building permit.
ADDING OR REMOVING LOAD-BEARING WALLS
If your renovation plans include the installing, changing, or removing of a load-bearing wall, you’ll need to apply for a building permit. Since load-bearing walls are important structural elements of the home, the removal or alteration of these walls will require a permit to ensure the work is done to code.
CHANGING THE SIZE OF DOORS AND WINDOWS
You’ll need a permit for this project if you plan to enlarge the size of your doors and windows. However, if you plan to replace the windows and doors without changing the size of the opening, there is no need to apply for a building permit.
BUILDING OR ALTERING A DECK
If you plan to remodel or construct a brand-new deck that will be more than 24 inches off the ground, you will need a permit if you plan to add an enclosure to your deck or if your deck will be larger than 10 square metres.
ADDING A SECONDARY SUITE
If you plan to add a secondary suite to your existing house, such as a basement apartment or detached guest suite, you will require a permit. This ensures that the new addition to your home meets building code requirements, such as minimum floor to ceiling height, entry and exit points, and bedroom egress windows.
BUILDING A SWIMMING POOL
Due to hazards involved with having an open body of water, homeowners are required to obtain a building permit before they begin any construction on a pool. Separate permits might be needed as well depending on the scope of the work, such as electrical and plumbing permits. Any plans to construct a swimming pool must include details on how access will be restricted, such as the building of fences or walls around the pool.
EXCAVATING A BASEMENT
If you plan to dig out your building to increase the headroom or to repair the foundation, a permit is required since stability and safety precautions need to be considered.
MODIFYING THE PLUMBING SYSTEM
If you’re planning to build a second bathroom in your home or upgrade the pipes behind the walls, then you’ll require a building permit since the work will involve major alterations to the plumbing system.
This information should not be relied on as legal advice, financial advice, or a definitive statement of the law in any jurisdiction. For such advice, please consult your own legal counsel or financial representative.