Why are Building Permits Important?

While building permits may seem like an inconvenience to some, they are required by law and for many good reasons. The Ontario Building Code requires that building permits be issued prior to construction activity taking place. Securing a building permit will help to ensure that new construction meets minimum safety and structural standards.

 The building permit fee helps to pay for qualified and competent professionals to review plans and to conduct follow-up inspections to ensure that construction activity is meeting these minimum standards. Some of the more important reasons to secure a building permit include:

  •  It is illegal not to – If you fail to get a permit for work that requires it, you can be subject to by-law enforcement provisions including fines or you may be forced to remove completed work;
  • Ensures safety – By securing a permit you are following accepted construction standards that give you and future occupants of the building the best chance to avoid fire, structural failure or as simple as a child getting their head stuck between guardrail balusters or falling through the guardrail altogether or having someone falling down a flight of stairs.
  • May trigger additional approvals – in some cases, additional approvals may be required before a building permit is issued. For instance, the location of the proposed development may require a minor variance approval for reduced setbacks from a neighbouring property. Failure to secure a permit first may result not only in constructing an illegal building, but locating an illegal building that does not meet the zoning by-law requirements of the City.
  • Keeps your contractor honest – While the vast majority of contractors follow established standards, in some cases, a purely profit-driven contractor might be tempted to cut corners. Most construction work ends up hidden behind walls and under floors. A building permit will help to ensure that contractors use sound and safe methods and materials as required by law. These standards have been determined by qualified professionals and compliance of these requirements is further ensured through plans review and inspection services offered by the City’s Building Inspectors.
  • Avoids insurance issues – Construction completed without a permit may result in your insurance company not honouring your policy in the case of a structural failure or a fire. Also if someone falls of a deck that was improperly built without a permit and sustains an injury, your liability insurance may not cover their injuries.
  • Facilitates a smooth property sale – when it comes time to sell your property having all the necessary permits makes the sale proceed much more smoothly. If work is completed without a permit, you can bet a potential purchaser will find out about it. The permit process is a matter of public record and often purchasers will request their solicitors to verify that proper permits have been secured for the property before the sale is finalized. This can result in losing or holding-up a potential land sale.

For more information on the Ontario Building Code, building permits and associated requirements, please visit:

The City of Timmins website at: www.timmins.ca

or contact Steve Mongeon, Building Inspection Division, at (705) 360-2600 Ext.2935

or steve.mongeon@timmins.ca;

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website

The Ontario Building Officials Association