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Building & Planning Info

Building Permits – What are they?

A Building permit is your formal permission to begin construction or demolition. It means that the Township of Ear Falls has approved plans for any new structure, addition or renovation. Approved plans must comply with the Ontario Building Code, local zoning by-laws, and other applicable laws and regulations. It is unlawful to start construction or demolition of a building, as defined in the building code, before you get a permit.

Building permits regulate types of construction allowed in the community and ensure that building standards are met. The building permit process protects each homeowner’s interests, as well as those of the community at large, and provides for the erection of safe structures. Permits help ensure that any structural change is safe, legal and sound.

In many cases, your contractor will get permits on your behalf. But remember, it is the building owner who is ultimately responsible for complying with all building requirements.

You need a building permit if you plan to:

1. Construct a new building
2. Renovate, repair or add to a building
3. Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
4. Change a building’s use (i.e. residential home is converted into a commercial business)
5. Install, change or remove partitions and load-bearing walls
6. Make new openings for, or increase the size of, doors and windows
7. Replace or increase insulation, dry-wall and/or vapour barrier
8. Build a garage, balcony or deck
9. Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
10. Damp-proof basements, including new weeping tile or replacement of existing weeping tile
11. Install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems or fireplaces
12. Reconstruct a chimney.
13. Erect a fence around a swimming pool.

You do not need a permit to:

1. Replace existing, same-size doors and windows, subject to distance from property lines
2. Install siding on small residential buildings, subject to distance from property lines
3. Build a roofless deck not higher than 0.6 meters (24 inches) above adjacent grade and the walking surface of the deck, and that is not attached to a building
4. Build a utility shed or structure without plumbing under 10 square metres (107.6 sq. ft.)
5. Re-shingle a roof, provided there is no structural work
6. Install eavestroughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property
7. Paint or decorate
8. Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing modifications
9. Erect a fence (except for swimming pools, outside pools require permits)

For any electrical work contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) at 1-877-372-7233

What happens if I don’t get a permit?

If you start construction but do not have the necessary permits, you may be ordered to stop work, prosecuted, and even ordered to remove work already done. Contact our office if you are not sure whether you need a permit for your project.

If you complete demolition work without a permit, the municipality and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation will not be aware that your property assessment has changed and will continue to levy taxes at the pre-demolition assessment value. If you are demolishing property you will need to complete two (2) forms: one for the permit and one for an assessment decrease request. Both forms are located at the bottom of this page.

How long does it take to obtain a Building Permit?

The time required for the processing of a building permit application varies in accordance with the type and size of the project, quality and completeness of submitted plans, the degree of compliance of the plans with applicable regulations, and the current workload of staff. However, a building permit can typically be issued within 5 to 10 business days after receipt of a complete application.

Who will review permit plans?

Permit plans will be reviewed by the Township’s Chief Building Official for compliance with the zoning by-law, Ontario Building Code and other related standards and by-laws.

Building Inspections – When and Why?

The Township’s Chief Building Official (CBO) review projects during key stages of construction to ensure work complies with the Building Code and the approved plans. The CBO may visit several times, depending on the project; they must be able to see the part of the work under inspection. The CBO will require advance notice for the completion of an inspection.

How do I apply for a Building Permit?

The applicant must file an application in writing on the prescribed application form. Every application must be signed by the applicant. The applicant must be the owner of a building or property or a person authorized in writing by the owner to apply for a permit on the owner’s behalf. Every application must be accompanied by prescribed plans and specifications and the applicable permit fee payable to the Township of Ear Falls.

What are the fees required when applying for a Building Permit / Demolition Permit?

Building permit fees for new construction, additions or renovations are typically calculated based on the value of the construction project as identified in the Township’s Schedule of Fees.

The Demolition Permit Fee is a flat rate of $50 or as identified in the Township’s Schedule of Fees.

What type of permit information is required?

Permit plans must contain sufficient information to determine whether the proposed work conforms to all applicable regulations.

Site plans should be referenced to a current plan of survey certified by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. A copy of the survey plan, if available, should be submitted with the building permit application for any major project.

For minor additions and alterations, site plan sketches showing outlines and dimensions of the property, driveways, existing and proposed buildings are usually acceptable.

For major projects, or where required by the Ontario Building Code, plans must be prepared by a qualified designer holding a valid building code Identification number (BCIN), or sealed and signed by an Architect, Professional Engineer, or both.

Permit applications will not be accepted when the submitted plans are inadequate or incomplete. Plans may be submitted in either imperial or metric measurements.

Who will obtain required approvals from other agencies?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure required approvals from other agencies (where applicable), prior to the issuance of a building permit. The Township’s Chief Building Official will advise the applicant of any required approvals from other government agencies upon review of the permit application. (ex. Northwestern Health Unit Approval for septic systems.)

Where do I apply for a Building Permit?

You can make an application for any type of permit during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon & 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Municipal Office located at 2 Willow Crescent, Ear Falls, Ontario.


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