Renovations and basements

Interior renovations that require a building permit include:

  • finishing an unfinished space in a home, such as a basement)
  • adding or removing walls
  • material changes to alter the insulation type of value of walls
  • structural changes
  • addition or change of plumbing, including the installation of a fixture where a rough-in already exists
  • change of current use

Forms

You need a set of drawings and the following forms to make an application:

Requirements

Designer qualifications

Qualified individuals who may design a renovation or finished basement:

  • an architect, professional engineer or qualified designer with Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) is permitted to take responsibility for the design
  • the homeowner is permitted to prepare and take legal responsibility for the design of their home, provided they understand and are willing to take responsibility for the applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code

Drawings and documentation

Drawings you submit must include:

  • clear description of existing and proposed work
  • key plans of remaining floors in house showing each room's use
  • floor plans with room names and complete dimensions
  • location of plumbing fixtures
  • stair location with handrail
  • furnace/utility equipment location
  • exterior and interior wall construction details, clearly identifying existing and proposed
  • window and door size and operation
  • lintel information
  • exterior wall section drawing where egress windows are proposed under Ontario Building Code section 9.9.10.1
  • window wells
  • new wall, post and beam construction or relocation
  • ceiling heights
  • location and clear height of bulkheads, beams and ductwork
  • location of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • HVAC calculations for units with six or more bedrooms
  • location of existing and proposed supply air registers

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.

Fees

Permit type Fee
Fee per square foot of renovations in an existing home $0.35
Permit to finish or renovate any area of basement $200.00

Timeline to review application

Building type Review period
Single, semi, townhouse 10 business days
Small buildings, duplexes, triplexes 15 business days

Other contacts