Building Permits

A Building Permit is the written authorization which grants legal permission to begin construction of any new structure, addition or renovation.  It is issued only when the plans for construction comply with the Ontario Building Code, the Township of Zorra Zoning By-law and other applicable laws and regulations.

The use of Building Permits allows municipalities to regulate the types of construction in the community and ensure that proper building standards are met.  The enforcement of building codes serves to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

building plans

Building Permit Application

To obtain a building permit, an application must be completed. The form is available online (Building Permit Application) or at the Muunicipal Office from the Chief Building Official. This application must be completed for the issuance of the building permit. In addition to the completed application form, applicants must also submit building drawings, plans and other documents to the Township of Zorra for processing. For small projects like a backyard shed or pool installation, a simple site plan is requested. A sample site plan is available here. A detailed description of the planned work and intended occupancy, identification of the building lot or site, a valuation of the proposed work including materials and labour costs are required.

For exterior work, a floor plan, a cross section, a site plan and elevations will be required. For interior work, a floor plan and a cross section drawing will be required. Buildings that are over 3 stories or greater than 600 square metres will require an architect or an engineer to design and prepare plans for the building. Each application shall be accompanied by 2 complete sets of building plans and specifications unless otherwise specified. 

The Building Permit fees are determined by the cost per square foot, dollar value, and flat rate for some buildings. The permit fee is payable at the time the Building Permit is issued.

As of May 3, 2011, the Building Permit fee rates are:

Residential Construction (new homes,additions,renovations,decks) $100.00 + $0.40/sq ft
Agricultural Construction (coveralls,barns,storage sheds,workshops) $100.00 + $0.20/sq ft
Silos - vertical or horizontal $200.00 flat rate
Manure Storage $500.00 flat rate
Commercial, indistrial, institutional buildings $100.00 + $8.00 per thousand
Plumbing $50.00 + $10.00 per fixture
Sheds $50.00 flate rate
Swimming Pools $100.00
Woodstove, fireplace $100.00
Partial Occupancy $50.00
Signs $100.00
Change of Use $50.00
Solar Panels $150.00
Conditional Permits $50.00
Lot Grading Deposit $1,000.00
Refund Damage to Street $500.00
Final Inspection Deposit $500.00
Demolition $50.00 flat rate
Additional Inspections $50.00 flat rate
Enforcement Call-backs $50.00 per occurrence

A building permit is NOT required for a fence.

Additional fees for services such as water, parkland dedication, development charges, and deposits for protection to public property may also be required.  For any inquires about building permits, please contact Mike Hughes, Chief Building Official at 519-485-2490 ext 7224 or send Mike Hughes an email.

Failure to obtain a Building Permit will result in a penalty of double the permit fee, as per the Township of Zorra’s Building By-law. 

Adding a Second Unit

What is a second unit?

A second unit is a self-contained dwelling unit with a private kitchen, bathroom facilities and sleeping areas. It can be located in your house or on your property, above a laneway garage or in a coach house. This document generally applies to Building Code requirements for second units in houses, and not for second units in garages or coach houses, though some of the same rules apply.

Adding a second unit is a great way to provide independent living for a family member or make a little extra money to help pay off the mortgage. But there are things you need to consider as you decide whether to build a second unit.

Before deciding to add a second unit, it is important that you first speak with your local municipal planning and building departments. They can tell you whether you are allowed add a second unit on your property and answer any questions that you have related to local zoning, the Building Code and other by-laws.

There are several important factors you need to consider before adding a second unit, including:

  • applicable municipal zoning requirements
  • necessary building permits
  • designing your unit to comply with the Building Code
  • required building inspections during construction

It is important to meet planning and Building Code requirements. Doing so will help ensure that your house and second unit are legal, safe and healthy places to live.

The Province of Ontario website is a good resource for more information about adding a second unit.

For more information, contact Mike Hughes, Chief Building Official at 519-485-2490 Ext.7224.