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Building Permits - Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Building Permit?
A building permit grants legal permission to start construction of a building project.

How Does A Building Permit Help You?
  • A permit ensures that the construction meets the minimum standards set out in the Ontario Building Code (O.B.C.)
  • If the work does not comply with the Code, the value of your investment could be reduced.
  • By having trained professionals review proposed plans and inspect construction; building permits provide a means for ensuring buildings are safe with respect to public health, fire protection and structural sufficiency.
Who Issues Building Permits?
Building permits are issued by the Planning & Regulatory Services Department - Building Services Division. They are located on the 4th floor of the Town Hall at 225 East Beaver Creek Road. If you have any questions, please contact the Building Services Division at (905) 771-8810.

When Do I Need A Building Permit?
A building permit is required for the construction or demolition of any building or addition, alterations, signs, swimming pool fence, the installation of fireplaces and woodburning stoves, sundecks, etc.

When Do I Not Need A Building Permit?
A building permit is not required to do the following work:
  • construct a detached accessory building that is 10 m2 (108 sq. ft.) in area or less;
  • painting and decorating;
  • kitchen or bathroom cupboards;
  • landscaping;
  • roof shingling (except clay tile roof);
  • eavestroughing;
  • damp-proofing a basement; and/or
  • minor repairs to bricks or blocks, etc.
Please note that Richmond Hill’s zoning by-laws must be adhered to regardless of whether or not a building permit is required.

Do Pools Require Building Permits?
Above-ground and in-ground swimming pools require a permit to ensure that the fence enclosure complies with the provisions of By-law 140-90 and the pool complies with the proper setbacks.

What Type Of Permit Plans Are Required?
Permit plans must contain sufficient information to enable the Chief Building Official and his staff to determine whether the proposed work conforms to all applicable regulations. Site plans must be referenced to a current plan of survey certified by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. A copy of such survey must be submitted with the building permit application for any major project. For minor additions and alterations site plans showing outlines and dimensions of the property, driveways, existing and proposed buildings may be accepted. Where required by the Ontario Building Code, plans must be prepared, sealed and signed by an Architect, Professional Engineer, or both. Permit applications will not be accepted, when the submitted plans are inadequate or incomplete.

How Do I Apply For A Building Permit?
Applications for permits must be made in person at the Town of Richmond Hill municipal offices. The applicant must be the owner of a building or property or a person authorized in writing by the owner to apply for a permit on the owner's behalf. Every application must be accompanied by prescribed plans and specifications and the applicable permit fee payable to The Town of Richmond Hill.

Who Will Review Permit Plans?
Permit plans will be reviewed by Building Services staff for compliance with the Zoning By-law, Ontario Building Code and other related standards and by-laws. Staff of the Engineering & Public Works Department will review the proposal with respect to grading, drainage, vehicle access and road design. The Richmond Hill Fire Prevention Bureau will examine the plans for compliance with the fire safety provisions contained in the Ontario Building Code, the Ontario Fire Code (where applicable) and related standards.

Who Will Obtain The Approvals From Other Agencies?
It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure required approvals from other agencies (where applicable) prior to the issuance of a building permit. Building Services staff will advise the applicant of the required approvals from other government agencies upon permit application.

What Are The Fees Required When Applying For A Building Permit?
In addition to the permit fees, other required funds such as municipal and education levies, road damage deposits, grading deposits, cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication temporary water, and other applicable funds, must be paid prior to the issuance of a permit. The permit fees are calculated in accordance with By-law 71-10.
Development Charges

When Does An Application Become Abandoned?
Where an application remains incomplete or inactive for six months after it is made, the application may be deemed to have been abandoned. Extensions to permits may be granted by the Chief Building Official when requested in writing.

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