What is a building permit?

A building permit is the legal permission to begin construction or demolition. Under the Ontario Building Code Act, it is illegal to begin to construct or demolish before a building permit is obtained.

Why is a building permit required?

Building permits are reviewed for compliance with zoning requirements, the Ontario Building Code, the Chatham-Kent Building Code By-Law, and other applicable regulations, to make sure that all standards are met. Therefore, they provide you with the legal authorization, in accordance with the approved drawings and specifications, to move forward with your construction. Not only does this safeguard the interests of the community, but the individual homeowner as well. By obtaining a building permit, the project is not in danger of being non-conforming to applicable standards, meaning that the construction would not have to be dismantled at a later date to be made to comply with these standards.

Which projects require a building permit?

  • a structure greater than 10 m² (107.64 ft²) is constructed (including additions) any material alterations are made to an existing building.                                                                                                                             

  • when mechanical, electrical, & plumbing services are required (there is no limit on size of the building when these services are involved).

For a more detailed list of which projects do require permits, please contact Building Development Services.

What projects do not require a building permit?

A building permit is not required for structures which measure less than 10 m² (108 ft²) in area, such as detached accessory structures (gazebo, tool shed, etc.). Although a building permit may not be required for these structures, you must still comply with the Chatham-Kent Zoning By-Law and the Ontario Building Code requirements. For a more detailed list of which projects do not require a building permit, please contact Building Development Services.

Who is responsible for applying for a building permit?

It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that a building permit is obtained when required. While many contractors include this as part of their job, the ultimate responsibility lies with homeowner. You may authorize your contractor/builder to apply for the permit, but the owner should ensure that they have the permit prior to any work starting. However, many homeowners prefer to submit the application themselves for the opportunity to have questions answered by our building inspectors. 

What if I fail to obtain a permit?

If construction or demolition commences without a permit, either if a permit is not obtained at all or during the application process before one is issued, work done may not meet the minimum building code requirements and may be structurally inadequate. As a result, costly repairs and/or removal of work already completed may be required to be in compliance with the Chatham-Kent Building Code By-Law, Ontario Building Code, and other applicable laws. Also, an additional fee equal to 100% of the original permit may be required.

How do I apply for a building permit?

To apply for a building permit, visit the Building Department at 315 King St W in Chatham to receive a building permit application form or print one off online. Fill out the application and return it to the office, along with all the additional required documentation and pay the applicable fees. If you have any questions about the application, your drawings, or anything else about your project, please contact the Building Department at the office which oversees your area.

The application itself requires information about the project such as who will perform the construction work, what work will be done, where the work is taking place, and how this work will be done. Please contact Building Development Services for more information.

How can I pay for my permit and what will the cost be?

Building permit fees are determined based on the total construction value of the project, but permits for new homes are based on the square footage of floor area. The minimum permit fee is $85.00. Please contact Building Development Services for further information. 

Building permits can be paid for by coming in person to the building office at 315 King Street West in Chatham between the operating hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Payments can be made using cash, debit/credit, or cheque. Note: If your building inspector is located at one of our other offices in Chatham-Kent, you may pick up and pay for your permit there. If it is easier for you to come to the Chatham office, you can have your building inspector forward your permit to this office. 

Why do I have to Pay a Damage Deposit

Damage deposits are collected where it is anticipated that heavy vehicles will be involved in the work for which the permit is issued. This is to ensure that curbs, sidewalks, and any other municipal property is not damaged during construction. If damage does take place and is not repaired, the damage deposit will be used to make these necessary repairs. The damage deposit is calculated as part of the total building permit fee and is paid for at the same time.

Once all work authorized by the permit has been completed and passed all required (and final) inspections, the damage deposit may be refunded. 

What happens when I submit the building permit application?

Permit applications will be processed as quickly as possible depending on the nature of the work requested. Your application and drawings/plans are reviewed according to the Ontario Building Code, the Chatham-Kent Zoning By-Law, the Chatham-Kent Building Code By-law, and other applicable laws. Note that the Building Department does not govern all of these other applicable laws and further approval may be needed before a permit can be issued.

How long will it take to get my permit?

Building inspectors have 10 business days in which to issue a building permit, starting from the day the permit application is submitted. Despite this, permits may be issued before the 10 days have passed, depending on the amount of permit applications submitted, especially during the busy spring and summer months.

If there are problems with your application, whether it is incomplete and does not have all of the required documents and approvals, or that there are problems with certain aspects of the application/drawings, the 10 business day time-frame is no longer applicable. Please ensure that the necessary information is submitted with the application so that there are not any delays in the issuing of your permit.

I need my permit very quickly. Is it possible to fast-track a permit?

Permits can be fast-tracked, under certain conditions for an additional 25% of your permit fee. Please contact the Building Department at 519.360.1998 for further information if you are considering this option.

When can I commence construction?

No work can begin before the permit is issued. Once you have received the permit, you may begin construction. It is required under the Building Code to place the permit in a prominent place (such as a window) at the construction site. If there are any changes to what was proposed in the plans/drawings that the building inspector reviewed to issue the permit, please bring it to their attention as soon as you can. As well, review your permit and all documents for any changes that may have been made to what you submitted. 

How long do I have to complete the project once I receive the permit?

Once you have received the permit, if the construction has been largely discontinued or suspended for more than a year, the building permit may be revoked. Also, if you do not begin construction seriously within six months of the building permit being issued, the permit can be revoked.

Which inspections are required? 

When you receive your building permit, the inspections that are required for your project will be indicated on the permit itself. Once you have reached the phase in which you need to have the inspection completed, please call the building inspector that issued your permit to schedule a time for the inspection to be conducted.

Who is responsible for calling to have required inspections done?

Inspections do not happen automatically. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that required inspections take place at the appropriate stages. Your contractor may contact the building inspector on your behalf to request an inspection to ensure that your project proceeds as approved.

How can I obtain drawings/plans of a property?

If you are not the property owner, you will require written permission to obtain plans or drawings of a property; large commercial projects that have been to TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) are exempted from this rule.

Why have I not been informed that my neighbour applied for a building permit?

The issuance of a building permit does not require neighbours to be notified as part of the process. The neighbour that is conducting construction may inform you, him or herself, about what will take place and if you will be affected. This is not a requirement, but a courtesy on behalf of the property owner.

What is a site plan?

A site plan identifies existing & proposed buildings and other features in relation to property lines (boundaries). They are made in reference to a current survey certified by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. The site plan includes such things as lot size, property line dimensions, and building setbacks.