When is a building permit required?

Under the Ontario Building Code Act, you must have an approved building permit for the construction of a new building or addition, change of use, or if you are altering any building or structure with a building area of over 10m2.


The Ontario Building Code Act requires a building permit when a person constructs or demolishes a building or causes a building to be constructed or demolished. A building is defined as:

(a) a structure occupying an area greater than 10 m2 (107.6 ft2 ) consisting of a wall, roof, and floor or any of them or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures, and service systems appurtenant thereto,

(b) a structure occupying an area of 10 m2 (107.6 ft2) or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto,

(c) plumbing not located in a structure

(d) a sewage system; or

(e) structures designated in the building code


* Exemption on size requirements for a shed.  A permit for a shed is required when it is greater than 15sq/m.

Why do I need a building permit?

A building permit provides the means to review the project designs, to inspect the actual construction and to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of the building are maintained. By reviewing and approving plans before any work is done ensures that construction within the Township of Malahide complies with the Ontario Building Code (which sets minimum standards for design and materials), the Township Zoning By-law (which controls building location, height, parking, etc. and uses that are suitable to the area) and other applicable laws. 

A building permit is a formal approval to construct, add to, or renovate a building on your property. Building permits allow the township to protect the interests of both individuals and the community as a whole.

What happens if I DO NOT get a building permit?

Constructing or altering a structure without a permit can result in numerous problems including:

  • not conforming with the Ontario Building Code
  • putting yourself and your family at potential risk
  • putting yourself at liability should an injury occur to someone while visiting your property as a result of a structure not conforming to the Ontario Building Code
  • extra cost in having to reconstruct, replace, or remove the structure according to the Zoning By-law and Ontario Building Code
  • increased permit fees and possible fines
  • insurance protection nullification
  • difficulty selling the property
  • complaints from neighbours
What type of information is required to apply for a building permit?
General permit requirements can be reviewed that will pertain to most permit applications.
How do I pay for my building permit?
Payments can be made by e-transfer, online/telephone banking, cheque, debit or cash.  
What inspections are required for my building permit?

At various stages of construction, inspections are required to confirm compliance with the Ontario Building Code and other regulations once a building permit has been issued. As the property owner, it is your responsibility to schedule these inspections. Please keep in mind, a minimum notice of 24-48 hours may be required for booking an inspection. You can schedule them through CloudPermit or contact our Building Coordinator 519-773-5344 ext 235. to schedule the necessary inspections to make sure that your building is up to code.

You will also be required to:

  • Display your permit in a window or a conspicuous location.
  • Keep copies of the approved plans on site.
  • Contact the building department at each required inspection.
  • Notify the building department about any proposed changes or alterations, which may require approval before proceeding with work.

When conducting inspections, the inspector will carefully review the work completed for compliance with the approved drawings. In case the work does not comply with the requirements of the Ontario Building Code or deviates from what was proposed in the approved drawings, corrections must be made before proceeding further. It is important to note that failure to comply with the Ontario Building CodeOntario Building Code Act , or other relevant legislation or regulations may lead to further action taken against the property.

How do I find out the zoning of my property?

Zoning information can be obtained from  Elgin Mapping and/or our Zoning By-law.
Do I need a permit for building a deck?

You need a permit for decks that are:

  • Adjacent to or attached to the house, and its walking surface is more than 600 millimetres (24 inches) above the adjacent grade;
  • Elevated and providing principal access to a building;
  • Independent from the house and has a walking surface greater than 10 m2 (108 square feet) in area and its walking surface is more than 600 millimetres (24 inches) above the adjacent grade.

Do I need an Electrical Safety Permit?

If you are doing any electrical work, you will need an electrical safety permit from the Electrical Safety Authority.

Do I need a permit for a pool?
Yes. Both above and below ground pools require a permit. Every swimming pool shall be enclosed by a fence of at least 1.2m (4’-0”) in height and equipped with a gate capable of being locked. See Zoning Bylaw section 4.36 – Swimming Pools and Tennis Courts for additional requirements 

What are some common projects that need a permit include?

(NOTE: This is a general list and is not intended to represent the complete list of possible projects.)

  • Any structure over 10 m2 (107.6 ft2)
  • Any addition to an existing structure, regardless of the size of the addition
  • Demolition or removal of all or a portion of a building
  • Interior alterations for residential units including, but not limited to, finishing a basement, creation of bedroom(s), converting a garage to living space, converting a seasonal room to year round use, or creating a new dwelling unit
  • Interior or exterior alterations/renovations including, but not limited to, finishing a basement, replacement of insulation, removing interior walls, creation of bedroom(s), converting a garage to living space, creating a new dwelling unit, any structural changes or repairs
  • Any installation or alteration of a plumbing, heating or ventilation system
  • Installation of solid fuel appliances (i.e. woodstoves and fireplaces)
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Any change of use (i.e. office use to retail use)
  • Signs installed on an exterior building face or roof
  • Free standing signs
  • Installing solar panels onto a building
  • Adding a new, private on-site sewage system, including grey water systems and holding tanks
  • Repairing or replacing a sewage system or leaching bed
  • Livestock and equipment storage buildings
  • Silos and grain bins
  • Manure storage structures (excluding earthen structures)
  • Fabric-type structures
 What are some common projects that do not require a permit?

(NOTE: This is a general list and is not intended to represent the complete list of possible projects.)

  • A building permit is not required for a detached accessory structure such as a gazebo or tool shed that measures an area of 10 m2 (107.6 ft2) or less. However, the location and height of all new structures must comply with The Township of Malahide Zoning By-law
  • Installing replacement asphalt shingles on a roof
  • Minor roof sheathing repairs
  • Repointing of brick veneer
  • Replacing siding or eavestrough
  • Replacing doors or windows (provided they are in the same size or smaller opening)
  • Kitchen or bathroom cabinets (not including plumbing)
  • New flooring
  • Installation of air conditioning units or heat pumps
  • Boundary/Privacy Fences
  • Pool heaters
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping
  • Installing a free-standing solar panel

What size of detached accessory building can I build?

The zoning of your property determines the regulations of an accessory building.  Once your zoning is determined you can verify the details of your accessory building plans. 
Do I need a demolition permit?

A demolition permit is required for all buildings that would normally require a building permit. The Ontario Building Code exempts farm buildings located on agriculture property.

Do I need a permit for a boundary/privacy fence?

No. A permit is not required boundary/privacy fence unless it is enclosing a pool.
How tall can a privacy fence be?
The maximum height is 2.4m (7'-10"). 
Do I need a permit for a special occasion tent?
Yes. The Ontario Building Code requires a permit when any tent or group of tents is over 60m2 in aggregate area, any size tent is attached to a building or any size tent is constructed closer than 3m from other structures.
Call Before I Dig?

Are you looking to build a deck or fence, put in a pool, or even do some landscaping?  Digging in the wrong spot could damage the underground network of utility lines thereby putting your property.  Call Ontario One Call before you dig – 1-800-400-2255. The services provided by ON1Call are free and are in place to protect you and your community from the loss of services and costly consequences that may occur.

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