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.

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 apply, check the status, and pay for permits online, using our online application services for the following application types:

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

Or you can submit your application in person at Cambridge City Hall at 50 Dickson Street, 3 Floor 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

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

Cross connection control protects the quality of our drinking water through backflow prevention.

What is backflow and how would this occur?
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 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 do I as a property/building owner need to do?

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 installed and maintained/tested on a regular basis. This must be done by a backflow prevention device tester licensed by the City of Cambridge .

Please complete the contact information sheet and review instructions for annual testing.

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.

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.

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