The following is detailed list of commonly requested applications, licences and permits related to building, development and roads in the City of Cambridge.

Addressing and renumbering

According to the Municipal Addressing By-law, the City may provide a change of address notice to the property owner, if needed.

A property owner can also request an address change by completing an address number change application and submitting an application fee.

Please note that the City may not approve all address number change requests.

Building permit
There are a number of different types of building permits issued by the City of Cambridge. You must apply for the appropriate permits before your project can begin.
Cross Connection Control/Backflow Prevention Device Testing

The City of Cambridge Cross Connection Control Program is in place to ensure the safety of our drinking water through backflow prevention.

Our water use By-law No. 146-03 requires that all building owners, except some residential properties equip their buildings with backflow prevention devices. These devices need to be maintained and tested regularly by a backflow prevention device tester licensed by the City of Cambridge

Test reports must be submitted annually, and equipment surveys must be submitted every three years. 

At the design stage of a new building or addition a design level cross connection survey must be submitted with the building permit application.

Please see the Instructions for annual testing.

* NEW - The Cross Connection Control Program at the City of Cambridge is going paperless!

Starting this spring we will be sending out communications via email instead of paper mail.

If you are a property owner or primary contact person that is responsible for ensuring compliance to the City of Cambridge Cross Connection Control Program, we ask that you provide us with an email address to ensure you continue to receive important program information including testing due dates, reminders, updates and notices.

Please send an email from your chosen contact email to and include the following:

  • Your name and/or company name
  • The address of the property you are responsible for (see above)
What is backflow and how would this occur?

What is Backflow?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of a possible source of contamination (water or mixture of water and other liquids, gases, or other substances) into the potable water system. 


Water is normally maintained at a significant pressure to enable water to flow from the tap, shower etc. If a water main bursts, pipes freeze or there is unexpectedly high demand on the water system, the pressure in the pipe may be reduced. During these types of events, the pressure may be reduced enough to reverse the intended flow of water and actually draw water out of nearby service connections. If these connections are affixed to chemical mixing facilities or any non-potable water supply, the possibility exists that dangerous backflow can occur resulting in contamination of our public water supply.
What is a Cross Connection?

A cross-connection is any physical or potential connection, whether permanent or not, between the public potable water system and a possible source of contamination such as non-potable water, industrial fluid, gas, or other substances.

Some examples of cross-connections are fire sprinkler and irrigation systems, or hard pipe connections to equipment that uses water, such as beverage machines and dialysis equipment.

If cross-connections are not properly protected, a backflow incident could contaminate a drinking water system. With modern drinking water systems, cross-connections are a necessity in a pressure piping system and cannot be eliminated. Therefore a means of protecting drinking water systems from contamination is essential.

What is a backflow prevention device?
This is a device that prevents water from flowing backwards into a water supply line resulting in a contaminated water supply. There are degrees of protection ranging from a vacuum breaker on a garden hose line to reduced pressure zone backflow preventers commonly used in an industrial setting where chemicals are connected to water lines. What is used and where it is installed depends on the application and the threat level.
What if I choose to not install a backflow device?
The by-law is clear that each building, except for some residential buildings require backflow prevention devices. Failure to equip the building and maintain these devices could result in having your water shut off, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00.
Is there any fee or permit involved?

No. The annual testing and survey reports do not require a fee. However, if a new device needs to be installed it would require a building permit which would require a fee.

Please contact the Backflow Officer at (519) 621-0740 ext. 4514 for more information.

Demolition permit
Learn how to apply for a permit to demolish or other related building permits.
Development applications
Learn how to apply for a development application.
Development Charges (DCs)
Development Charges may be applicable at the building permits stage please visit the Development Charges page for more information.
Development standards
The City of Cambridge ensures that building projects meet certain development design guidelines.
Electrical permit
The City of Cambridge does not issue electrical permits. For information about electrical work and applying for electrical permits, contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1 (877) 372-7233.
Gas permit
The City of Cambridge does not issue gas permits. For information about gas work or permits, please contact your local gas authority.
Pool, hot tub and pool enclosure permits

There are number of rules and regulations involved with installing a pool, hot tub or pool enclosure. View Section of the City's Zoning By-law for regulations related to pool or hot tub locations.

Swimming pools and hot tubs

You need to apply for a permit to install a swimming pool or hot tub. To complete your permit application, you'll need the following:

  • A survey that shows the location of the pool or hot tub and its distance from other structures and property lines
  • A simple description of the pool or hot tub
  • A diagram of the type of fencing you will construct around the pool or hot tub
  • A method of payment for the applicable fees
  • A completed application form

You do not need a permit to install a fence, except around pools and hot tubs. However, you do need to follow the City's Fence By-law regulations for the height, location and types of fences allowed.

If a property owner wishes to install a fence that does not meet City regulations of the Fence By-law, we can review the case. If the case is valid, Cambridge Council may approve an amendment to the Fence By-law.

You must submit an amendment application along with a fee to the Director of Building & Enforcement Services. Keep in mind that not all applications are successful.

You may view a copy of the Fence Amendment Application.

Please call (519) 621-0740 for further information.

Sign permit

To apply for a Sign Permit you can either apply in person at City Hall or apply online

Please submit the following information:

  • Sign Permit application form (complete both pages)
  • Two copies of your Site Plan (plot plan)
  • Two copies of your working drawings
  • Sign installation commitment form (if required)
    • the requirement of design and review by a professional engineer, to demonstrate compliance with of Div. B., will be required for:
      • Individual projecting signs with a weight exceeding 25 kg
      • A ground sign that exceeds 1.8 m in height,
      • A projecting sign attached in amy manner to a parapet wall, 
      • A roof sign that has any face that is more than 10 square meters
  • Sign permit fees in permit fee schedule

The turn around time to issue a sign permit or provide comment as to why it could not be issued is 10 working days.

Sign Variance Committee

The Sign Variance Committee reviews all variance and amendment application to the City Sign By-law. If there are no objections, the department General Manager may approve the variance. If the General Manager does not approve the variance, a report is prepared for Committee review. For information, please call (519) 621-0740 ext. 4280 or 4307.

Mobile sign permit

We require permits to ensure compliance with zoning and other By-laws. We permit approved signs up to 180 days per year.

To view rates for mobile sign permits, please read the 2015 Rate Review. Non-profit organizations do not have to pay permit fees but must sign a special form with their application.

You can view a copy of the mobile sign permit application and authorization.

To report a concern with mobile signs within Cambridge, please contact (519) 621-0740 ext. 7907.

Site plans

Learn about the City of Cambridge's Site Plan approval process.

Trades licences
The City of Cambridge requires all drain layers, drain contractors and backflow prevention testers to be licenced. Please submit a completed copy of the trades licence application form to obtain or renew your licence.
Zoning and minor variances

Learn about zoning regulations in the City of Cambridge.