Building Permits & Inspections

Building Permits

If you're planning to renovate or build on your property, you'll need to apply for a building permit before you begin the work.  Building permits ensure that all works meet the requirements set forth in the Ontario Building Code and the Essa's Zoning By-law.

Before you apply begin, contact the Building Department to learn about specific requirements or see our page dedicated to Building Permit Application Guideline.

Additionally, if your property is in or near a watercourse, river, stream, pond, wetland, steep slope, floodplain or the Georgian Bay shoreline, you may need a permit from the NVCA before your start your work.  Please read Getting Your NVCA Permit before you commence your project!

You must obtain a building permit before you:

  • Construct any new building over ten square meters in area or place another structure, such as a mobile home, on your property.
  • Make renovations or repairs or add to a building.
  • Change the use of a building.
  • Excavate or construct a foundation.
  • Construct a seasonal building.
  • Undertake work regarding the installation, alteration, extension, or repair of an on-site sewage system.

When a building permit is not required:

  • Construct/demolish a detached accessory shed, with one storey in height and not greater than 15m2 (160 sqft).
  • Construct/demolish a building under 10m2 (108 sqft) with no plumbing.
  • Construct/demolish a deck under 10m2 (108 sqft) in area, not attached to a building or next to an egress door or window.
  • Landscaping providing it does not affect egress windows or doors.
  • Replace doors and or windows that are the same size as the existing doors and or windows.
  • Replace siding on a house, garage, or accessory building.
  • Re-shingle a roof, provided there is no increase in weight of the roofing material.
  • Install eaves, drainage is contained within the property.
  • Repair or replace waterproofing for basements.
  • Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing.
  • Repair or replace plumbing fixtures that are the same size and in the same location.
  • Minor repairs to masonry.
  • Erect a fence, must follow by-laws and does not include pool.
  • Add air-conditioning to an existing HVAC system.
  • Repair non-structural and or non-mechanical fire damage.
  • Install a decorative gas fireplace (not required for heating)
  • Painting or decorating

Building Inspections: 

All inspections are booked through the Building Administrative Assistant. Inspections are booked 48 hours in advance.

You are required to provide the following information when booking your inspection:

  • Building permit number
  • Your address and lot number
  • The type of inspection(s) that you are booking
  • Your preference for the date and time for your inspection

Staff endeavors to meet preferred date(s) and time(s) for your inspection.  Sometimes unforeseen circumstances require the date/time to be re-scheduled.

The Ontario Building Code has indicated that at particular stages of construction, the applicant shall give notifications for required inspections set out in Div. C Part 1 Section  In the case of a single family dwelling with the required limiting distance to structures next to it the inspections could involve the following:

  1. Footings before concrete
  2. Footings and foundation – prior to backfill, includes weeping tile
  3. Underground water service piping (where applicable)
  4. Building sewer and building drains (testing required)
  5. Structural framing – rough-in for plumbing (testing required) and HVAC systems –roof system in place, doors and windows in place, building watertight.
  6. Insulation
  7. Air barrier/ vapour barrier
  8. Sewage system test hole
  9. Sewage system scarified base (if applicable)
  10. Sewage system – installation before backfill (if applicable)
  11. Occupancy – please note septic system approval required prior to occupancy
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