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Building and Renovating

Two people look at a construction site

Waterloo is a city that is seeing continuous growth in many sectors. With a strong infrastructure, growing population and interest from developers, the Waterloo Integrated Planning and Public Works (IPPW) department oversees numerous projects during the course of a year. From large-scale businesses to homeowners, the IPPW department works to help all persons interested in starting a new project see their designs and ideas come to reality. Before you start, however, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:

Does my project require a building permit?

Building Permits are a measure meant to assure that your project meets the construction standards set out by the Ontario Building Code. This provides a peace of mind for you, and also for those who will use the finished project in the future. With the help of the Municipal Building Officials in our Building Standards Division, we will ensure that your project is constructed in a safe and effective way.

Some projects that do not require a building permit include (not applicable to heritage properties):

  • Interior finishes (new flooring, new paint/decaling, cabinets & counter-tops)
  • Replacing windows and doors (where structural components aren't being changed)
  • Re-shingling a roof (provided existing shingles are removed)
  • Replacing a plumbing fixture with the same type in the same location
  • Decks less than 24" (600mm) from grade without a roof
  • Detached structures (sheds/gazebos) that are less than 10 m2 (108 ft2) in area that do not contain plumbing
  • Replacing siding on a house, garage or accessory building
  • Install an eaves trough system where drainage will not affect other properties

Fences, landscaping, paving and driveway widening projects do not require a building permit, but may still require compliance with other applicable by-law requirements (eg. fence by-law, zoning by-law, etc.). See menu at left.

Who should I call before I dig?

If you are planning to dig, build or excavate on your property, it is important you locate all of your utility lines first. In fact, under Ontario regulations, it is the law.

Please call the appropriate companies before you dig to help keep your property, your family and your community safe.

Will the Grand River Source Protection Plan affect my project?

Policies in the Grand River Source Protection Plan apply in the City of Waterloo and may impact planning and building permit applications in vulnerable areas beginning July 1, 2016. These policies can apply to applications regardless of the current zoning on the site. Check the Region of Waterloo's website: www.regionofwaterloo.ca/sourceprotection for more information about how the new policies may affect your project.

Does the City of Waterloo issue electrical permits?

Building standards does not issue electrical permits or perform electrical inspections. A separate electrical permit may be required for your project. For more information please contact the Electrical Safety Authority (1-877-372-7233).

Other administrative information

Building by-law available here.

Building standards schedule of fees available here.

Building standards year-end statements for 2015 are available here.