Do I need a permit?

Prior to starting a new construction project either inside or outside, you must first determine whether you require a building permit.

Building, construct and demolish are defined terms in the Building Code Act.

Projects that require a building permit

Below are a few examples of projects, however, this list is not complete. The building division should be contacted when your project is not listed here or if you are unsure whether a permit is required.

  • Adding a bedroom
  • Additions to a building
  • Attached garage, carport, shed or other roof structure of any size
  • Creating an apartment (in-law suite, accessory apartment, granny flat, second unit etc.)
  • Decks
  • Demolition of a structure greater than 10 square meters in building area
  • Detached garage, shed or accessory structure 15 square meters and greater (measured to the outside face of exterior walls or to the posts in the case of a covered area extending beyond the exterior wall)
  • Finishing a basement
  • Industrial, commercial, institutional, agricultural construction, alterations or changes of use
  • Installing a new window or door where increasing the size of the existing opening
  • Installing a wood stove or wood burning fireplace
  • New residential dwellings
  • New entrances and driveway alterations
  • Plumbing fixtures added or relocated
  • Re-insulating walls, ceiling or floors
  • Removing a load bearing wall, column, lintel or beam
  • Retaining wall that is greater than three feet and three inches in height
  • Roof structures including a pergola or trellis 10 square meters and greater
  • Septic system installations and alterations
  • Signs
  • Site servicing (water or sewer lines) for all buildings types
  • Solar Panels that are mounted to a building
  • Swimming pools with a depth of 0.5 meters or greater (including temporary, inflatable and hot tubs)
  • Tent or group of tents that is more than 60 square meters in area, including wedding or special event tents

Other approvals

Electrical work

The Electrical Safety authority (ESA) is responsible for electrical permits and related inspections. Information on applying for an electrical permit and having electrical work inspected can be found on the ESA website.

Grand River Conservation Authority

You may need a permit from the GRCA for activities such as building, construction, changing the existing grade, adding or removing material if the project is in or near:

  • Rivers and streams
  • Wetlands
  • Slopes
  • Lakes and ponds

Heritage buildings

A heritage permit is required to make changes to designated properties in the City of Brantford.

Ministry of Transportation

Please consult the MTO website to determine whether approval is required.

Projects that Do Not Require a building permit

  • Door and window replacements (where there is no increase in the size of the existing opening)
  • Fence (must comply with fence regulations)
  • Installing new shingles on existing roof
  • Painting, wall papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work
  • Replacing a plumbing fixture (ex. Toilet, bathtub or sink) with a new fixture in the same location
  • Structures less than 108 square feet measured from the outside face of walls (measured to the outside face of exterior walls or to the posts in the case of a covered area extending beyond the exterior wall) that do not contain plumbing. These structures must comply with zoning regulations.

How to apply for a permit

The fastest and easiest way to submit a building permit application, monitor your application status and book an inspection is by using our new digital application process.