There are a few things to keep in mind when you think about renovating your house or apartment, with the need for a building permit being one of most important ones. A detailed planning for your renovation may be the biggest factor that can help you save costs and avoid unnecessary stress.
The most important question to ask before you enter into any renovation project if permit is going to be needed. If you’r home renovation project requires a building permit, you’ll need to have an idea on the timelines and the process, which varies in each municipality. You can typically find and answer to these questions by visiting your local city hall building department and zoning officer.
For the purpose of simplifying this article, we can be said that typically in the greater Toronto municipalities (GTA), every homeowner is required to apply and acquire a building permit for their renovation project if the renovation includes altering with any of the mechanical, structural or electrical components of your house or condo apartment. It could be items such as moving a supporting wall, building a new bathroom or a new basement kitchen. However in GTA homeowners are not mandated to apply for a building permit if only performing cosmetic renovations, such as painting or altering with non-structural walls.
Proceeding to renovation and construction in the absence of building permits, where one is required can prove to be very risky and costly. Other than exposing you’r own life and your family’s and neighbors lives to danger, the resale value of your property may also be affected if renovations, such as additions, and extensions are not mentioned in your home title at the time of sell. Another risk is insurance coverage in case of an incident. When you take a closer look at those fine printed writings in your insurance policy, you will quickly realize that your insurer will not cover damages to your house, if unauthorized renovations are discovered which could have caused or contributed to any damage. Hefty fines are also issued by city inspectors when an unauthorized renovation is discovered or reported to the city by concerned neighbors.
In order to apply for a building permit, you will need to have all or some of the following, based on the scope of renovation:
A layout design for the work being performed
Architectural drawings (To be done by a licensed architect with a valid BCIN registration number)
Mechanical and structural drawings if the performing an extensive project
In summary, every home owner in the GTA is encouraged to research and plan their renovation project in advance and assure to have all the right approvals and permits in order to avoid issues and risks.