Building Permits & Inspections >> Building Permit Information

When is a building permit required?

The Building Code Act of Ontario defines a building as:

  • A Structure occupying an area greater than 10 square metres (108 sq.ft.)
  • A Structure Occupying an area 10 square metres (108 sq.ft.) or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto;
  • Plumbing not located in a structure,
  • A sewage system or
  • Structures designated in the Building Code

A building permit is a license, which grants legal permission to start construction of a building project. Building permits are required for the following:

  • New Buildings, Temporary Buildings, Additions, Renovations
  • Demolitions
  • Prefabricated Structures, Mobile Homes
  • Plumbing and/or Septic Systems
  • HVAC Systems (heating, ventilating & air-conditioning)
  • Miscellaneous residential (fireplaces, pools, decks, etc.)

Why bother with a building permit?

Building permits provide the means for Building Officials to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants.

The Building Code Act, which is enforced by the Town, requires that no construction shall take place until a building permit has been applied for and obtained. The Ontario Building Code, the Town’s Zoning by-law, and other by-laws and statutes regulate the various aspects of construction.

The permit process, step by step

1. Visit or call the Town of Fort Erie, Community Planning and Development Services Department.

Make it a point to see a Building Official regarding the project that you are going to undertake.

The Building Official will ask what you are planning to do and where you are planning to do it. Then he or she will explain the requirements regarding your project.

An application for a building permit, along with other related information, will be given to you at this time.

The initial contact will provide the resources and information you will need to make your project a success and avoid potential problems, which could cost you time and money.

2. Submit Application

The permit application requires information about the construction project. You will be asked to document who will perform the work, what work will be done, where the work will be done, when the work will be done, and how the work will be done. Scaled drawings, plans and/or other documentation of the proposed work will be submitted for review. The drawings generally required for building permits are two sets of the following:


  • Plot Plan
  • Lot Grading Plan which must be prepared by either an Ontario Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer
  • Construction Drawings (Floor Plans, Elevations, Building Sections/Details)
  • HVAC Design prepared by qualified personnel (per Building Code Act)

Once the plans are approved, one set will remain on file and the other set will be stamped and returned (to be kept on site during the construction process).

3. Wait During Review Process

The majority of permit applications are processed with little delay. The Building Official will determine if your project is in compliance with the Ontario Building Code, the Town’s by-laws, provincial regulations, and other applicable agencies.

4. Receive Results of Review Process

A. If compliance with the code, zoning, and other applicable regulations is determined, the application is approved and a permit is issued.

B. If compliance is not determined, your application as submitted will be denied. If you are refused a building permit, the building department will advise you on the necessary corrections, so you may re-apply.

5. Receive Permit

The building permit is the document granting legal permission to start construction. You must proceed as approved in the review process. The permit fee helps defray the cost of the Building Officials’ time spent on the application, review, and on-site inspection process.

The fee also gives you access to the Building Officials’ knowledge and experience when and if you have any questions about your construction project. Additional fees for services such as water and sewer connections, development charges, site plan control, and municipal protection deposits may be required. Inspections required for your project will be indicated on the permit.

The building permit must be posted in a window or other prominent place at the construction site. A copy of the stamped construction plans must also be kept on site. Any proposed changes must be brought to the attention of the Building Official immediately. Changes may require a review and approval in the same manner as the original application.

6. Arrange Inspection Visits

Each major phase of construction must be inspected by the Building Official to ensure that the work conforms to the approved plans.

The person responsible for the construction project must request each inspection. Normally, 24 to 48 hours advance notice are required.

If a Building Official finds that some of the work does not conform to the approved plans, he or she will advise (and possibly provide written notice) that the situation be remedied. If the violation is serious, a stop work order may be posted until the problem is resolved. Another inspection may be required before the work is resumed.


Other authorities and/or approvals required

Some other approvals or verification, which may be required from authorities having jurisdiction, are as follows:


  • Fire Prevention
  • Ontario Fire Marshall
  • Committee of Adjustment
  • Site Plan Control
  • Land Division Committee
  • Niagara Regional Health Unit
  • Regional Government
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Environment & Energy
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Niagara Parks Commission
  • Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
  • Liquor License Board

For additional information please contact Planning and Development Services at:
(905) 871-1600 ext. 2516