What requires a building permit in Toronto?

If you’re planning on renovating or updating your home to live in and enjoy and/or increase its value before selling, you may need to take out a building permit.

According to the City of Toronto, you will need a building permit to:

  • Construct a new building
  • Any addition to an existing building
  • Structural alterations
  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Change a building’s use
  • Install, change, or remove partitions and load bearing walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • Build a garage, balcony or deck
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing or air-conditioning systems
  • Install or reconstruct chimneys or fireplaces
  • An accessory structure larger than 108 sq. ft. in area
  • A deck more than 24″ above ground
  • A wood burning stove/fireplace installation
  • A basement entrance
  • A Second Suite
  • New or altered plumbing

If you’re buying a home that has been recently upgraded or renovated, it’s important to ensure the proper building permits were taken out at the time. Even if the previous owner did the renovations without the proper permit(s),  you as the new homeowner could be responsible for redoing them with the proper permits if deemed required.

There are quite a few specific exceptions with regards to home  updates and improvements that don’t require a building permit, for example: replacing windows and doors when the opening is not made bigger, building certain sized decks, adding insulation and re-roofing, unless the new roofing increases the load on the roof by more than “the equivalent of three layers of asphalt shingle”.

For a full list of building permit exceptions, click here.

Additionally, click here for the main City of Toronto Building website that provides helpful info and resources.

First published on Royal LePage Johnston & Daniel’s real estate blog “Muddy York”:


About the Author

Toronto-based real estate professional who creates and curates relevant online real estate content to help busy people stay informed.