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What is a building permit?

A building permit gives you legal authorization to start construction of a building project in accordance with approved drawings and specifications. Building permits are issued by the Building Department at the Town of Blind River.

Building permits are reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code, applicable municipal zoning bylaws and other provincial and municipal regulations for the protection of the public for safety, health and welfare.

Who is responsible for obtaining a building permit?

An architect or contractor may obtain a building permit on your behalf with written authorization but property owner is ultimately responsible.

Why do I need a building permit?

A building permit is the best way to protect a major investment such as your home. A building permit provides information about the Town’s construction by-laws and regulations. It ensures that minimum construction standards are met and appropriate materials are used. It provides access to the professional advice of Building Services staff during the design and construction phases of your project to avoid problems in the future.

Construction, alteration, conversion and/or demolition cannot start until a building permit has been applied for and received. Starting construction without a permit is illegal and a Provincial Offence under the Ontario Building Code Act. Charges may be laid. At a minimum, you will be subject to double permits fees.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required for, but not limited to, the following:

  • new buildings larger than 10 metres square (108 sq. ft.) including sheds and garages
  • new additions to existing buildings
  • renovations, repairs and alterations of existing buildings
  • pre-fabricated buildings and temporary buildings
  • moving a building
  • various structures (decks, retaining wall, towers pools etc.)
  • finishing your basement (new bedrooms, new rec rooms, new laundry room etc.)
  • building systems (fire alarm/suppression systems, HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) etc.)
  • installation, alteration and repairs of plumbing, drains and sewer systems
  • demolition
  • change of use (i.e. establishing a home occupation/home based business, lodging house, bed and breakfast or changing any part of a home or vice versa
  • fences
  • Installation of new furnace

When considering any kind of projects on your property it is a good idea to discuss your plans with the Municipality first. This will assist you to become aware of other permits or approvals you might need.

When is a building permit NOT required?

It isn’t necessary to obtain building permits to perform the following work. However, you must still comply with the requirements of the Town of Blind River Zoning By-Law and if applicable the Building Code:

  • Accessory buildings less than 10 square metres (108 sq. ft.) in size
  • Replacement of plumbing fixtures (toilets, sink, bathtub, shower, hot water tank) in their original location
  • Replacement of windows or doors provided the rough opening size does not change and no structural changes taking place
  • Replacement/upgrade of furnace
  • Kitchen cupboard replacement provided no changes to the plumbing system is taking place
  • Flooring replacement

What can result from NOT obtaining a building permit?

Under the Building Code Act it is an offence to commence construction without obtaining a building permit from the Municipality.

If the work does not comply with the Building Code requirements:

  • Costly repairs may be required to gain compliance;
  • Removal of the work not in compliance may be required
  • The applicable permit fee is doubled
  • Legal action may be initiated by the Building Department to gain compliance. Anyone who is charged and found to be guilty of building without a permit can be fined up to $50,000.00 for a first offence and up to $100,000.00 for later offences. Fines up to $10,000.00 per day can also be imposed upon conviction if a person doesn’t comply with an order from the Municipality.

What is a complete submission?

New regulations came into effect January 1,2006 allowing applicants to declare submissions as COMPLETE, thereby requiring us to process the application within prescribed time periods.

It is important that applicants understand what constitutes a COMPLETE submission.

An application (in general) can be declared as complete, by the applicant where:

  • The applicant has completed the Applicable Law Declaration form (50 KB) and provide proof of compliance to any identified applicable law.
  • The new pre scribed Application to Construct or Demolish (67 KB) application form has been properly completed and signed.
  • The application must be accompanied by complete plans, specifications, and documents to establish compliance with the Ontario Building Code regulations and Town of Blind River Zoning bylaw.

Complete details can be found in the latest version of our Building By-Law (2MB). It is important to note that compliance with the Ontario Building Code requirements is determined by technical examination review and NOT a condition of whether an application is COMPLETE.

Questions about a COMPLETE submission can be answered by contacting the Building Department at 705.356.2251 ext. 206.

Are other permits required?

In some circumstances, Building Department staff will inform you that additional approvals are required before a building permit will issued. Examples include:

  • A plumbing permit for installation, major alteration and additions to a plumbing system
  • A demolition permit before you take down all or part of a building
  • A minor variance for existing or proposed structures that do not meet the requirements set in the municipal zoning by-law
  • An application for consent to subdivide land (lot split or lot addition) without the requirement of a plan of subdivision
  • A permit for electrical work, such as lighting, wiring, switches and outlets. Contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1.877.372.7233 or visit on-line at
  • A building permit from MTO if property is on provincial highway

What information do I need to apply for a permit?

The Town of Blind River application process for building projects requires detailed information from the property owner or authorized representative. Requirements depend on the nature of the project.

  • A deed or tax bill to verify property ownership and to provide a legal description of the property.
  • A copy of a plot plan or normal property survey illustrating the following:
    • Lot Dimensions
    • Location of easements
    • Size and location of existing structures and proposed structures
    • Distance between structures and proposed structures
    • Distance between structures and distance to property lines
    • Drainage patterns
    • Driveway
    • Location of servicing hydro, water, sewer, gas
    • Location of all natural features bedrock outcrops, surface water, trees, streams
  • Total value of construction, including design costs, materials and labour.
  • Two complete sets of construction plans which may include some or all of the following:
    • Foundation plan (new construction, an addition, installing a basement or repairing a foundation)
    • Cross section showing load bearing walls and beams (new construction, interior renovations)
    • Elevation plan (new construction, alterations to the exterior of your home)
    • Floor plan (new construction, an addition, renovations to existing structure)
    • Basic electrical layout

What is the approval process for a building permit?

Each building permit application undergoes a zoning review and an Ontario Building Code construction standards review. Building Department staff will inform you whether additional approvals are required before a building permit can be issued.

  • Committee of Adjustment/Land Division Application for projects that do not comply with the zoning by-law.
  • Additional agencies may include: Engineering Services, Fire Services, District health Unit, Ministry of Transportation or Hydro One Network.

The property owner is responsible for obtaining required approvals from all agencies and authorities. A building permit cannot be issued until all requirements have been met.

How long does it take to process a building permit?

It takes approximately five (5) to ten (10) working days to process and issue a building permit, provided your proposal complies with the Building Code, the local zoning by-law and all other applicable laws.

If a zoning change or a minor variance is necessary or if building plans must be altered to comply with the Building Code, it will take longer to obtain your permit.

Incomplete applications or plans will not be accepted. Assembling and submitting the proper documentation will hasten your application through the approvals process. Contact Building Department for Information at 705.356.2251, ext. 206.

What is a BCIN and when is it required?

A BCIN (Building Code Identification Number) is issued to designers by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In general, designers other than registered professional engineers and architects that engage in the following “design activities” are required to meet the qualification/registration requirements under the Building Code:

  • Preparing a design that forms part of a building permit application;
  • Giving information or an opinion concerning whether a building or part of a building complies with the Building Code if the information or opinion is to be submitted to a chief building official in connection with a building permit application; and
  • Preparing a written report for submission to the chief building official based on general review, where a general review is required by the Building Code.

Homeowner’s who do their own design work are not required to obtain a BCIN, but may require the services of an architect and/or engineer if there is a major structural component.

What happens during construction?

Building permits include a list of mandatory inspections to be called for at various stages of construction. After the Town receives notice for inspection, it will conduct an inspection of the work to ensure compliance with the Ontario Building Code, your permit and approved plans.

You will also be required to:
  • post your permit card in a window where it can be easily seen;
  • keep copies of the approved plans on site;
  • contact the Town at the appropriate stages of construction to have the mandatory inspections take place;
  • advise the Town about any last minute changes, which will also must be approved by the Chief Building Official;
  • the Town must always be able to see the work. If it’s different from the work that was approved, you will be told to correct it. If you don’t, The Town can take legal action.

Who is responsible for calling to have the required inspection take place?

The home owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring the mandatory inspections take place. The Town needs to inspect your project at several stages during construction. If inspections are not requested at the appropriate times, uncovering of the construction will be required. Please review the stages of inspections with your contractor and request from them proof showing the inspections have taken place.
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