A Building Permit is your formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property. Building permits are in place for your safety and the safety of those around you, ensuring your construction project is protected from structural failure, fire hazards from electrical and heating systems, and other health risks. They also provide a permanent record of the work performed and all inspections conducted to ensure the project is sound and safe.

Ontario's Building Code Matters

As part of the building permit process, Cambridge's Building Division staff must review your plans to ensure they comply with the Ontario Building Code, local Zoning Bylaws, and other Applicable Law.

Once your permit is issued site inspections must be performed by a city building official to ensure construction is completed in accordance with the approved plans and code requirements.

Do I need a building permit?

It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that a building permit is obtained when required. You may authorize your contractor or designer to apply for the permit but as the owner you must ensure that they have the permit prior to starting any work.

Before starting a new construction project, either indoors or outdoors, you must determine whether you need a building permit.

 What projects require a permit?
The Building Code Act requires you to apply for a building permit for the construction of any structure with an area of more than 10 square metres (108 square feet) or contains plumbing. This includes:
  • Additions
  • Alterations
  • Renovations     
  • Plumbing
  • Site services
  • Sewage systems
  • Other designated structures

 Some typical projects requiring a building permit include:

  • Decks or porches 24 inches (or more) above grade
  • Interior structural alterations
  • New fireplaces or wood stoves
  • Adding or removing walls, such as creating different room sizes or uses
  • Sunrooms
  • Attached or detached garages, sheds or carports
  • Dormers or finishing of attic space
  • Installation of irrigation systems
  • Installation or repair of storm, sanitary or water services
  • Plumbing or drains
  • New or alterations to windows or doors, such as increasing the opening size
  • Repairs of existing or installing new septic systems
  • Retaining walls greater than 1 meter, depending on location
  • Creation of additional dwelling units, such as secondary suites
What projects do not require a permit?

A building permit is not required for a detached accessory structure that measures 10 square metres (108 square feet) in area or less and does not contain plumbing. Although a building permit may not be required, you must still meet the requirements of the Zoning By-law and Ontario Building Code.

Some typical projects that don’t require a building permit include:

  • Fences other than for swimming pools
  • Decks not forming part of a principle entrance to a building and less than 24 inches above grade and does not have a roof
  • Roof shingling
  • Eaves troughs
  • Air conditioning units or heat pumps added to existing forced-air systems
  • Kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Replacement of existing forced-air furnace
  • Replacement of siding or windows
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping

Apply for a permit

You can submit permit applications digitally by either:

Using our online permit portal for the following application types:

  • New Housing – Singles, Semi’s, and Townhouses
  • Sheds, Decks and Porch additions, and
  • Permanent Signs

Or contacting  building@cambridge.ca to submit digitally via email or file sharing for all other permit types. 

Paper applications may still be submitted at City Hall provided they can fit in the mail drop off. Applications submitted in the drop box will be picked up once per week. Please label your submission and address it to the Building Division. 

Applications and forms

 Residential housing permit requirements

 Designer requirements

All submitted drawings must be prepared by either the owner, or prepared and reviewed by a qualified designer, architect, professional engineer or a combination.

Some drawings must be designed by a professional engineer when the design falls outside of the prescriptive requirements of the Building Code.

The Building Code requires qualified, registered designers, who review and take responsibility for design activities, to include the following information on documents submitted for permit:

  • The name and building code identification number (BCIN) of the registered firm.
  • A statement that the qualified person has reviewed and taken responsibility for the design activities.
  • The name and BCIN of the qualified person.
  • The signature of the qualified person.
 Application requirements
The following documents are required for the permit submission:

 

  • Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish
  • Residential permit information form
  • Schedule 1: Designer Information form for each discipline of construction
  • Heat loss/heat gain calculations and mechanical summary form
  • Energy efficiency design summary (EEDS) form (when drawings do not include this as a matrix)
  • Sewage system design (if applicable)
  • Schedule 2- Sewage system installer information form (if applicable)
  • Any other documents that pertain to your project
  • Commitment Form, signed by the Septic Designer, Grading Designer or other designer as required (if applicable)
  • Owner Acknowledgement Form (When the homeowner is acting as the contractor)

 

Drawing requirements

Submit two (2) copies of the following drawings:  

  • Site plan
  • Lot grading and site service plan 
  • Septic System (if applicable)
  • Foundation plan
  • Floor plans/framing plans
  • Roof plans
  • Building elevations
  • Sections and details
  • Truss layout drawings (if applicable)
  • Pre-engineered floor joist layout drawings (if applicable)

All drawings must be fully dimensioned, drawn at minimum 3/16"= 1'-0"; and note all sizes and types of construction materials to be used and their respective locations, finishes to all walls, ceilings and floors and all existing and proposed fire separations.

Design guidelines and information packages
  • Accessory structure information package
  • Deck construction information package

Multi-unit residential and non-residential (ICI) permit requirements

 Designer requirements

All submitted drawings must be prepared by either the owner, or prepared and reviewed by a qualified designer, architect*, professional engineer* or a combination.

*Some projects must be designed and or reviewed by an architect and/or a professional engineer. If so, they must complete the appropriate Commitment Form. You must submit the completed form with your permit application.

  • Part 9 Commitment Form (generally for structures less than 600 square metres) signed by the professional engineers and/or architects involved with the project
  • Part 3 Commitment Form (generally for structures greater than 600 square metres) signed by the professional engineers and/or architects involved with the project

The Building Code requires qualified, registered designers, who review and take responsibility for design activities, to include the following information on documents submitted for permit:

  • The name and building code identification number (BCIN) of the registered firm.
  • A statement that the qualified person has reviewed and taken responsibility for the design activities.
  • The name and BCIN of the qualified person.
  • The signature of the qualified person.
 Application requirements

The following documents must be included in your building-permit application package:

  • Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish
  • Schedule 1: designer information form
  • Schedule 2: Sewage System Installer Information Form (if applicable)
  • Ontario building code matrix
  • Commitment to general reviews by architect and engineers (if required)
  • Energy efficiency certification form
  • Two full-sized sets of drawings (stamped and dated)
  • Any other documents that pertain to your project
 Drawing requirements
Please provide two sets of drawings with your permit application package.
  • Site plan
  • Key plan
  • Lot grading plan
  • Floor plans
  • Foundation plans
  • Framing plans
  • Roof plans
  • Reflected ceiling plans
  • Sections and details
  • Building elevations
  • Structural drawings
  • Architectural drawings
  • Electrical drawings
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning drawings
  • Plumbing drawings
  • Fire alarm drawings
  • Travel distance plans
  • Exit capacity plans
  • On-site sewage system design
  • Sprinkler drawings are not required at the time of application; however, they must be submitted for approval after permit issuance and prior to installation.

 All drawings must:

  • Be fully dimensioned, and note all sizes and types of construction materials that will be used, as well as the locations of these materials, finishes to all walls, ceilings and floors and all existing and proposed fire separations.
  • Alterations, renovations and additions must differentiate between the existing building and the proposed new work.
 Design guidelines and information packages
 * Coming soon
Fees
Permit fee schedule
Additional information required

The Building Division may need additional information to process your building permit.

 

Cross connection control

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

The City of Cambridge Water Use By-law #146-03 requires that all buildings (except some residential properties) be equipped 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

Please follow the Instructions for Compliance to the Cross Connection Control/Backflow Prevention Program

* NEWThe Cross Connection Control Program at the City of Cambridge is going paperless!

What is backflow and how would this occur?

Backflow means a flowing back or reversal of the normal direction of water flow.

The water supply system is normally pressurized to make sure water flows into your building or plumbing system, but there are times that pressure may be reduced.

If the pressure drops enough that the flow of water reverses, unwanted substances could flow backwards and contaminate the public water supply. 

What is a Cross Connection?

A cross-connection is any connection, whether permanent or not, between the public potable water system and a possible source of contamination.

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

What is a backflow prevention device?
Backflow preventers are mechanical devices that prevent water from flowing backwards into a 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. The type of device required and location it is installed depends on the application and the threat level.
Forms
Permits
A building permit is required for a new backflow preventer or new plumbing system. Visit the building permit page or contact building@cambridge.ca for more information. 
What if I choose to not install a backflow device?

The by-law mandates that every building, except for some residential buildings must be equipped with backflow prevention devices. Failure to install and maintain these devices could result in having your water shut off, and/or a fine.

Environmental issues

Depending on the location of your construction project, you may also need approval from the:

Electrical work
If your project proposes any electrical work, such as lighting, wiring, switches or outlets, contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1 (877) 372-7233 for information regarding permits and permit fees.
Digging
Before digging it is important that you contact the appropriate authorities to ensure no damage to services occur during the excavation process. Ontario One Call (ON1Call) helps contractors and owners locate services and prevent these potential dangers.
Ministry of Labour
You have to submit a Notice of Project to the Ministry of Labour prior to starting work. If you think you might have asbestos in your building please contact the Ministry of Labour for information on how to proceed. 

Permits issued and statistics:

 Building permits issued
 Building permit statistics

* Coming soon

 

Notice to Constructors – Covid-19 Pandemic Update

Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. The restrictions are aimed at further reducing contact between people and stopping the spread of COVID-19. This updated list impacts the Construction Sector.

Please be advised that the issuance of building permits is subject to all restrictions and prohibitions under the law. The City of Cambridge Building Division will continue to process, review and issue building permits however, site inspections will only be carried out on construction projects deemed essential under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act EMCPA and its Regulations, as amended.

Kindly review the list of construction projects deemed essential under the (EMCPA) and it’s Regulations, as amended, before proceeding with construction. It is recommended that you seek legal advice in order to avoid contravention of the law.

For the current list of essential workplaces including essential construction, please visit the following website:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces