Building Services

Building Services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN)?

A Building Code Identification Number, or BCIN, is the unique identifying number assigned to individuals who file their qualifications with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and firms which register with the Ministry. The BCIN is used for several purposes: you may need to provide it on building permit applications in all correspondence with the Ministry, and in any other building-related work that requires a qualified person or registered firm.

What is a building permit?


The body responsible for enforcing Ontario’s Building Code in your area issues permits or the construction, renovation, demolition and certain changes of use of buildings. Building Code enforcement is generally carried out by municipal building departments, although in the case of on-site sewage systems, enforcement in some areas is conducted by boards of health and conservation authorities.

Why do you need to obtain a building permit?


Building permits allow your municipality to protect the interests of both individuals and the community as a whole. By reviewing and approving building plans before any work
is done, the municipality can ensure that buildings comply with:
  • The Ontario Building Code, which sets standards for the design and construction of buildings  to meet objectives such as health, safety, fire protection, accessibility and resource conservation
  • The local zoning by-law and other planning controls on buildings
  • Other applicable legislation, including conservation authority approvals, MTO, NEC and certain requirements under the Environmental Protection Act.

When do you need a building permit?


You must obtain a building permit before you:
• construct any new building over ten square meters in area or place another structure, such as a mobile home, on your property
• make renovations or repairs or add to a building
• excavate or construct a foundation
• construct a seasonal building.
Approval is also required for the installation, alteration, extension or repair of an on-site sewage system.
replace existing, same-size doors and windows, subject to distance from property lines
install siding on small residential buildings, subject to distance from property lines
build a roofless deck under two feet (0.61 metres) that is not attached to a building
build a utility shed under 10 m² (108 square feet)
reshingle a roof, provided there is no structural work (asphalt roof shingling only)
install eavestroughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property
replace or increase insulation, dry-wall or plaster
damp-proof basements
paint or decorate
install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
erect a fence (except for swimming pools - pool enclosure permit required (Note:  public pools do require permits)
replace existing forced air furnace (no duct work or venting alterations)
electrical work (the Electrical Safety Authority, however, must inspect electrical installations)

How do you apply for a building permit?

All applications (forms, drawings and related documents) shall be submitted electronically in PDF format by email to

Refer to "Electronic Submission Requirements" here.

Application Guides are available in the Downloads section on the Permits page, and links to the requisite forms are provided within the Guides (also called Checklists).
It's always a good idea to talk to the Staff in Building Services before you apply.  We will be pleased to answer any of your questions and confirm whether you'll need any other permits or approvals. 

What happens to your application?


Building Services staff will review your building permit application to confirm that the proposed work complies with the Building Code and other applicable laws set out in the Ontario Building Code, such as:
  • Zoning By-law
  • Conservation Authority Regulated Area (GSCA or NVCA)
  • Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO)
  • Site Plan Approval
Building permit applications for a simple alteration or addition can be processed fairly quickly, but more complex proposals may take longer.
The Ontario Building Code requires that we review a COMPLETE building permit application within a certain timeframe where the application meets the criteria set out in the Code.
For example, the timeframe on a complete building permit application for a house is 10 business days.
For a more complex building, such as a hospital, the timeframe is 30 business days.
Within this timeframe, Building Services must either issue the permit or refuse it with full reasons for denial - IF the building permit application is deemed complete. In order to be issued a permit, the proposed construction must comply with the Ontario Building Code and with the applicable laws set out in the Ontario Building Code.
If you need a zoning change or a minor variance from the zoning by-law (municipal zoning is considered applicable law), or if the proposed construction does not comply with the Ontario Building Code, a permit will not be issued until the zoning change or minor variance has been obtained, or the proposed construction complies with the Ontario Building Code.
Site Plan Control: If your property is covered by a site plan control by-law, you will not be issued a building permit until the plans and drawings have been approved by the Town. Please see the Planning Departments requirements for clarification on minor variances and site plan control.

What happens during construction?


The Building Code sets out the stages of construction at which different types of buildings/sewage systems require inspections. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the municipality for an inspection when the project is at the stages of construction set out in the Building Code. The municipal building official is required to carry out the inspection within two working days of being notified. For construction of a sewage system please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at (519) 376-9420. During the inspection, a building inspector will inspect the work to determine if it is carried out in accordance with the Building Code, your permit and the approved plans.
You will also be required to:
• show your permit in a window or other place where it can be easily seen
• keep copies of the plans on the site
• tell the municipality about any changes to the proposed construction, which will also have to be approved by the municipality.
The inspector must always be able to see the work. If it’s different from the work that was approved and, unless you get permission for a revision to your plans, you will be told to correct it. If you don’t, the municipality can take enforcement action, such as issuing orders authorized under the Building Code Act, 1992.

Click the link below for frequently asked questions regarding on-site sewage systems in Ontario...

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Building Permit and Inspection Inquiries

Building Permit/Inspection Inquiries
519-599-3131 x239

Chief Building Official

Chief Building Official
519-599-3131 x261

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN)? »»

What is a building permit? »»

Why do you need to obtain a building permit? »»

When do you need a building permit? »»

How do you apply for a building permit? »»

What happens to your application? »»

What happens during construction? »»

Click the link below for frequently asked questions regarding on-site sewage systems in Ontario... »»


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