General building info

Building permit timelines

Applications are processed within the time frames mandated by the Province of Ontario as noted below:

10 business day permit 

Except for a retirement home, a house where no dwelling unit is located above another dwelling unit (a detached house, semi-detached house, townhouse, row house) or an accessory structure not exceeding 55 sq.m that serves the noted items, or a tent. 

15 business day permit

A duplex, a triplex, a building of three or fewer storeys in height, and having a building area not exceeding 600 sq.m., used as residential other than buildings used for retirement homes, business and personal services, mercantile or low/medium hazard industrial occupancy.

20 business day permit

A building used for an assembly, care, care and treatment or detention, or high hazard industrial occupancy, it also includes a building exceeding 600 sq.m. in area and used for residential, business and personal services, mercantile or low/medium hazard industrial occupancy.

30 business day permit

A high rise building, buildings with interconnected floor space or post-disaster buildings.

Application process

Prior to submission, ensure that all necessary and applicable permissions and approvals are met.

A complete application must be submitted with all the required forms, documents and applicable drawings. Building permit fees (see below) are required at the time of submission. Additional fees such as development charges and parkland will be calculated and invoiced at permit issuance.  

In person

Bring forms and/or digital copies to the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall. We're open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

We accept cash, cheque payable to the City of Waterloo, or debit.

By mail

Send forms and/or digital copies and a cheque payable to the City of Waterloo to:

City of Waterloo 
Building Standards
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337 STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

By email 

Send digital forms to building@waterloo.ca (attachment limit is 10MB total). Submissions larger than 10MB can be uploaded through 2Big4Email.

Submit payment:

  • in person at the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall (cash, cheque payable to the City of Waterloo, or debit accepted)
  • by mail - send cheque payable to the City of Waterloo to:

City of Waterloo 
Building Standards
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337 STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

Note that for email submissions, the permit application will not be accepted until payment is made.

Submission requirements

Digital copies are required for most permit applications. Digital copies are optional for decks, sheds and small residential renovations.

Digital files must be in PDF and complete with a digital signature with BCIN declaration and/or an architect/engineer stamp as applicable.

Submitted files must not be secured or password protected. Files must be extractable.

If submitting by email, send to building@waterloo.ca (attachment limit is 10MB total). Submissions larger than 10MB can be uploaded through 2Big4Email.

If submitting on a digital storage device, use a rewritable disk (DVD-RW or DVD+RW) or a USB memory stick.

Permit fees

Group A: assembly

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
 Flat fee
Assembly building (finished) $1.60  n/a
Assembly building (shell only) $1.40  n/a
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25  n/a
Interior renovation (interior demolition and renovation) $0.35  n/a
Outdoor patio    $125.00
Outdoor public pool    $550.00

Group B: institutional

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
Institutional building (finished) $1.70
Institutional building (shell only) $1.50
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25
Interior renovation (interior demolition and renovation) $0.35

Group C: residential 

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
 Flat fee
Single detached, semi-detached, townhouse, duplex, triplex $0.80  
Garage/carport per bay N/a  $75.00
Shed N/a  $75.00
Deck N/a  $75.00
Apartment building $0.80  
Hotel/motel (or similar) $1.35  
Residential care facility $0.95  
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25  
Interior renovation $0.35  
Finished basement (including renovation) N/a $200.00

Group D: business and personal services 

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
Business and personal services building (finished) $1.35
Business and personal services building (shell only) $1.15
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25
Interior renovation (interior demolition and renovation) $0.35

Group E: mercantile

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
Mercantile building (finished) $0.95
Mercantile building (shell only) $0.75
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25
Interior renovation (interior demolition and renovation) $0.35
 

Group F: industrial

  Permit fee 
per sq. ft.
Industrial building (finished) $0.55
Industrial building (shell only) $0.45
Interior finish (from shell) $0.25
Interior renovation (interior demolition and renovation) $0.35
Storage garage (parking garage) $0.50

General categories

  Permit fee per sq. ft.  Flat fee
Alternative solution N/a  $500.00
After the Fact I*: construction commenced prior to the issuance of a building permit  
After the Fact II*: accessory structures where construction commenced prior to the issuance of a building permit (decks, sheds, etc.)  
Exterior work (independent of a building permit, including retaining walls, exterior wall modifications and any other exterior work) 1 percent of cost of construction
Heritage exterior work where a permit would otherwise not be required N/a  $0.00
Farm building $0.25  N/a
Foundation only $0.05  N/a
Conditional permit**  
Minor alterations (beam installations, basement walkout stairs etc.) N/a  $75.00
Air supported structures $0.30  N/a
Temporary tents or group of tents N/a  $125.00
Portable on one site (excludes port-a-pak) N/a  $100.00
Demolitions less than 10,000 sq. ft.  N/a $75.00
Demolitions 10,000 to 20,000 sq. ft.   $200.00
Demolitions greater than 20,000 sq. ft.  $0.01  
Interior demolitions (back to shell) 1 per cent of cost of construction
Change of use N/a  $75.00
Mechanical work (includes fire restoration and any other work no categorized elsewhere) 1 per cent of cost of construction 
Sprinkler systems (commercial kitchen spray booth, dust collectors) N/a  $100.00
Electrical work (independent of building permit including magnetic locks, fire alarm updates and any other electrical work)  1 per cent of cost of construction 
Plumbing work (independent of building permit including adding removing or relocating plumbing fixtures) 1 per cent of cost of construction 
Solar panels connected to only electrical (small buildings) N/a $75.00
Solar panels connected to water or heating (small buildings) N/a $150.00
Solar panels (large buildings) N/a $250.00
Septic systems new N/a $400.00 
Septic systems repair N/a $125.00 
Site service N/a $75.00 
Miscellaneous work (includes fire restoration and any other work not categorized elsewhere) 1 per cent of cost of construction

Notes

Rebate Deposits apply to all permits with a fee less than $10,000. This fee shall be $100 for permit fees less than $1000. All other deposits shall be $500. Rebate deposits are not applicable to fee codes AS1, H1, J1, MS2 and SS1. 

* After the Fact Permits for accessory structures where construction has commenced prior to the issuance of a permit shall be the greater of double the permit fee or $200. Other After the Fact Permits where construction has commenced prior to the issuance of a permit, the permit fee shall be doubled.

Where this amount exceeds $5,000 the penalty shall incrementally decrease from 100% of the original permit fee to 15% of the original permit fee. The incremental decrease shall apply where the original permit fee amount is between $5,000 and $67,000. Fees over $67,000 shall pay 15%.

**Conditional Permits will be charged a fee of $300 plus a cost of $0.05 per square foot of area. An additional deposit in the form of a certified cheque or letter of credit will also be required to be submitted to the Chief Building Official. The amount of the deposit will be determined by the Chief Building Official.

Shell Permits i nclude mechanical and electrical rough-ins.

Foundation Permits do not include work other than footings and foundation walls.

Where an Occupancy Permit is required to be issued by the Ontario Building Code, the original permit fee shall include the Occupancy Permit. An additional fee of $50 shall be paid where an additional copy of the Occupancy Permit is requested.

Where an Alternative Solution is proposed in connection with a permit application, an additional fee of $500 will be applied to the permit fee.

Revision to Examined Plans: A fee which is the greater of $0.01 / sq. ft. of the revised floor area, or $150, shall be charged for examination of revised plans. Where the original building permit fee is less than or equal to $150, no fee shall be charged for examination of revised plans.

Transfer of Permit: An additional fee of $50 shall be paid where ownership changes on a property and a permit is transferred

Minimum Fee: A minimum fee of $75 shall be charged for any permit application.

Additional Inspections: A fee of $150 may be charged for additional inspections resulting from the inspection not being ready on a second inspection attempt.

Inspection booking process

  • Small Buildings: 519-747-6120
  • Large Buildings: 519-747-8789

Book an inspection through our voice mail system at the applicable number above. Provide the following information:

  • Address
  • Permit number
  • Contact information
  • Date of preferred inspection
  • Preference of am or pm (note that we may not be able to accommodate each requested time of day)

Please note that confirmation will not be provided unless requested.

Projects that don't require a permit

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

  • interior finishes such as new flooring, new paint/decaling, cabinets and 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) less than 10 sq.m (108 sq.ft) in area that do not contain plumbing
  • replacing siding on a house, garage or accessory building
  • installing an eavestrough system where drainage will not affect other properties

Fences, landscaping, paving and driveway widening projects do not require a building permit, but may require compliance with other applicable bylaw requirements.