Building Permit FAQs

Our Building Division gets many questions about building permits in Richmond Hill, including:

How do I apply for a building permit?

Richmond Hill accepts online applications for all types of residential building permits, including: 

  • Alterations and additions to existing homes
  • Miscellaneous residential permits such as decks, porches, finished basements, basement walkout, garages and accessory buildings
  • Demolition permits
  • Custom Home (single family dwelling) Note: Each online submission is for one single family dwelling only
  • Production Home Builder permits (singles, semis, townhouses)

Eligible applications are reviewed and processed electronically. Online applications must be paid by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) and a convenience fee of 2.5% will be added to the total fee at checkout. When the building permit is issued, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to print the permit card and relevant drawings/documents (in colour) and keep them on the construction site.

Residential Building Permit - Apply and Pay Online

You may also apply for a building permit in person at Richmond Hill's main Municipal Offices located at:

225 East Beaver Creek Road
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P4

You must be the owner of the building or property, or authorized in writing by the owner, to apply for a permit.

You must submit the prescribed plans, specifications and the correct application permit fee with your permit application. Fees are payable to 'The City of Richmond Hill'.

Learn more about applying for building permit.

How do I attain zoning information? 

During the planning phase of your project, you must determine what zoning requirements apply to your property. For all zoning and compliance-related information, visit Zoning and Compliance Letter Requests. Please note that we do not provide zoning information over the phone or in person at this time.

What fees are needed for building permit applications?

In addition to the permit fees other fees may apply to your application, such as:

  • Municipal, Regional, and education levies
  • Road damage deposits
  • Grading deposits
  • Cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication
  • Temporary water fee
  • Development charges

Find out more about Development Charges.

These fees must be paid before your building permit can be issued.

Building permit fees are calculated according to By-law 55-19

What is a building permit?
A building permit gives you legal permission to start construction of a building, and/or to alter an existing building, plumbing, HVAC, life safety and/or on-site sewage system.
What permit plans are needed?

Permit plans must contain enough information to allow the Chief Building Official and his staff to confirm that the planned work meets all applicable regulations.

Site plans must reference a current plan survey certified by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. A copy of this survey must be submitted with your building permit application for major projects.

Site plans for minor additions and alterations that show the outlines and dimensions of the property, driveways and the existing and proposed buildings within the site are acceptable in some cases.

Where required by the Ontario Building Code, plans shall be prepared, sealed and signed by an architect, professional engineer, BCIN qualified designer, or a combination, as required.

Permit applications won't be accepted if the submitted plans are incomplete or inadequate for review.

When do I need a building permit?

You need a building permit to construct or demolish any building or addition, including:

  • Alterations
  • Fireplace installations
  • Wood-burning stove installations
  • Decks/sunrooms
When do I not need a building permit?

A building permit is not required for:

  • Constructing a detached accessory building with an area of 10 m2 or less that does not contain plumbing
  • Painting or decorating
  • Constructing kitchen or bathroom cupboards
  • Landscaping
  • Roof shingling, unless it is a clay tile roof
  • Eavestroughing
  • Damp-proofing a basement
  • Making minor repairs to bricks or blocks

You must follow Richmond Hill's zoning by-laws even when a building permit is not required for your project.

When is an application considered "abandoned"?
Applications are considered "abandoned" when they are incomplete or inactive for six months after they've been applied for. You can send a written request to the Chief Building Official for an extension.
Why do I need a building permit?

Building permits are required for a number of reasons, including:

  • To ensure construction of buildings meets the minimum standards of the Ontario Building Code (OBC)
  • To ensure the value of your investment by meeting these standards
  • To have trained professionals review proposed plans and inspect construction
  • To meet safety standards for public health, fire protection and structural sufficiency of buildings
Who gets the approvals from other agencies?
You are responsible for obtaining any approvals needed from other agencies. These approvals are required before your building permit can be issued. Our Building Division staff will let you know if any additional approvals from other government agencies are needed at the time of your application.
Who issues a building permit?

The Building Division of the Planning and Infrastructure Department receives applications for and issues building permits. The Building Division is located at:

225 East Beaver Creek Road, 3rd Floor
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P4

Contact Building Division staff at 905-771-8810 or building@richmondhill.ca if you have any questions about building permits.

Who reviews my permit plans?

Building Division staff review permit plans. They check that plans meet the Zoning By-law, Ontario Building Code and other related standards and by-laws.

Development Engineering staff review the grading, drainage, vehicle access and road design plans, and require pre-approval of your application in some cases.

The Richmond Hill Fire Prevention Bureau checks that plans meet fire protection standards in the Ontario Building CodeOntario Fire Code and other related fire safety standards.