Sheds and detached garages

A permit is required if you are constructing or proposing changes to a shed/detached garage that:

  • exceeds 10 sq.m in area, or
  • contains plumbing (applies to structures of any size)

The timeline to review an application is 10 business days.

Even if your project does not require a permit, check to make sure your shed or detached garage meets zoning requirements. Contact our zoning team at 519-747-8752, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or zoning@waterloo.ca.

Forms

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

Requirements

Designer qualifications

Who may design a shed or detached garage:

  • 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 a shed or detached garage for their home, provided they understand and are willing to take responsibility for the applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code
  • any person is permitted to prepare and take responsibility for the design of a shed or detached garage 55 sq.m (592 sq.ft) in area or under, provided they understand and are willing to take responsibility for the applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code

Drawings and documentation

Drawings are required to be submitted and are to include:

  • up to date site plan/survey showing the location of the proposed accessory structure including dimensions to all property lines and other buildings/structures
  • foundation plan
  • floor plan with use of building, dimensions, framing information, door, window and lintel sizes
  • location of plumbing fixtures (if proposed)
  • cross section indicating all wall and roof materials
  • engineer’s stamped truss layout (if proposed)
  • exterior elevations showing heights and roof slopes

Zoning

  • accessory structures must be a minimum 2.5m (8’-2”) away from the main structure on any adjoining lot and cannot be connected to any other structure
  • accessory structures are not permitted in the front yard
  • accessory structures in the rear yard of an internal lot must be set back from the side and rear property lines a minimum of 0.6m (2’-0”)
  • accessory structures located in the side or flankage yard (on corner lots) must meet the same setback requirements as the main structure
  • the base of an accessory structure cannot exceed 0.6m (2’-0”) above the existing grade at any point
  • the maximum allowable height for an accessory structure is 4.0m (13’-1 ½”) and is measured from the ground to the mid-height of a sloped roof, or to the top of a flat or mansard roof
  • accessory structures cannot exceed 10 percent of the total lot area
  • the total area of all structures (including main structure) on the property cannot exceed the maximum allowable lot coverage of the zone

Design tips

  • slab-on-grade construction is only permitted for one storey structures up to 55 square metres (592 square feet) in area and measured to the outside face of the exterior walls, unless designed by a Professional Engineer
  • entire structure must be supported by the same type of foundation
  • openings in walls facing property lines or another building are limited by the Building Code (may require larger setbacks to property lines than what is required under the zoning by-law), design accordingly
  • the roof overhang can encroach a maximum 0.6m (2’-0”) into the setback. We recommend that roof overhangs not be located closer than 0.3m (1’-0”) to any property line
  • minimum unobstructed garage parking stall size is 2.8m x 5.5m (9’-2” x 18’-0”)
  • the owner shall ensure that the construction will not impact drainage on adjacent properties, and is responsible to remedy any future drainage concerns resulting from the construction

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

Building permit fee for a shed

$75

Building permit fee for a detached garage

$75 per bay

Other contacts

Ontario One Call locates any buried infrastructure on the property and will identify it safely for you. Call 1-800-400-2255.

Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) must be contacted if you are constructing a covered deck within the floodplain. Check this map (PDF) to determine if you are in the floodplain. The GRCA can be reached at 1-866-900-4722 (toll free) or 519-621-2161.