— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.

The City of Toronto requires formal permission  (a.k.a. a building permit) for many types of construction, renovation, demolition or additions to a property.

If you don’t get one, well it can get ugly. From construction delays to lawsuits to being forced to undo the work you’ve done, the city takes their job of enforcing building codes and zoning bylaws seriously. We’ve just watched our neighbour painfully tear down his new deck because he didn’t have a permit. Not fun.


Need a Building Permit:

  • Construct a new building
  • Any addition to an existing building
  • Structural alterations
  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Change a building’s use
  • Install, change, or remove partitions and load-bearing walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • Build a garage, balcony or deck
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing or air-conditioning systems
  • Install or reconstruct chimneys or fireplaces
  • An accessory structure larger than 108 sq. ft. in area
  • A deck more than 24″ above ground
  • A wood-burning stove/fireplace installation
  • A basement entrance
  • A Second Suite
  • New or altered plumbing

 Don’t Need a Building Permit in Toronto:

  • Wooden decks (including pool decks) with no roof, where the finished deck level is not greater than 0.6m above the adjacent finished grade.
  • Skylights, provided not more than one rafter, joist, or other similar structural member (excluding a truss) is cut or removed, and they are not less than 2.0m apart, except for buildings regulated under Part 3.
  • Re-cladding with noncombustible material excluding brick or stone veneer.
  • Re-insulating or adding insulation.
  • Window or door replacement providing the opening is not enlarged.
  • Furnace and boiler replacements, add on cooling systems, gas fireplaces, air cleaners, in-line humidifiers, hot water tanks. (All Part 9 residential buildings)
  • Repair or replacement of plumbing fixtures.
  • Re-roofing, except where structural work is involved or where the new material increases the dead load on the roof by more than the equivalent of three layers of asphalt shingle.
  • Except where an additional dwelling unit is created; finishing basements where no structural alternations or plumbing are involved.
  • Canopy/storm porch enclosure, enclosing or covering not more than 5.0 m² of floor area.
  • Minor repairs such as the installation of chimney caps, chimney liner and repointing of brickwork.
  • Freestanding communication towers regulated by the Federal Government.
  • Installation of counters, millwork, and fixtures.
  • Storage tanks regulated by the Gasoline Handling Act or the Energy Act.

Questions? Call the city. You can get the application forms and more details here:  Application  Happy renovating!



  1. Hazel-Jade Dakota says:

    Hi, I’m planning on building a deck, it’s low to the ground but the entrance to the deck is from the kitchen sliding door which is more than 24″ in height. Do I need a permit to make that platform just before the stair to go down? And also, from what I understood you need a permit if u change a window to a door? (Because the size is enlarged – same width).

  2. Hello, my house have an existing front porch already and I am planning to have an enclosure with an aluminum roof done this summer for my front porch, it is under 5 square metres of floor plan. Can you please advice if a building permit is required for the enclosure. A quick response is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Melanie Piche says:

      You should speak with the city about that! We’re REALTORS, so we can’t give specific building permit advice.

  3. What if you bought a place and it already has a shed that was previously built without a permit? One neighbour keeps bringing up that the previous owner built it without a permit and I do not want that hanging over my head.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *