Building & Renovating

Residential Building Permits

COVID-19: FAQ for Development Approvals

As the COVID-19 situation in Hamilton continues to evolve, these Frequently Asked Questions for Development Approvals will be regularly updated as circumstances change to provide residents and developers with current information.

A Building Permit legally authorizes you to start construction of a building project in accordance with approved drawings and specifications.

Building Permits are reviewed for compliance with:

  • Ontario Building Code
  • Hamilton's Zoning By-law
  • regulations of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and Conservation Authorities
  • other applicable provincial and municipal regulations

The purpose of a Building Permit is to ensure that zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards and other building standards are met.

When do you need a Building Permit

You need a Building Permit to erect, install, extend, alter or repair a building. If you are demolishing all or part of a building, you will need a Building Permit to Demolish. Construction or alterations that result in a material change to a building or an accessory structure will require a permit and inspection(s).

Projects that require a building permit:

  • changing the use of a building to a residential use
  • demolitions or additions
  • gazebos
  • porches
  • decks
  • fences for swimming pools
  • creating new openings for, or increasing the size of, doors and windows
  • fire damage repair
  • ramps or elevating devices
  • wood stoves or fireplaces
  • raising a house to provide a full basement
  • interior alterations
  • anything that involves moving or relocating plumbing
  • detached structures greater than 10 square meters (108 square feet)

Projects that do not require a building permit:

  • Building a shed, garage or gazebo that is not attached to your house and less than 10 metres square (108 feet) in area
  • Building a fence that does not enclose a pool
  • Installing minor millwork and cabinetry
  • Repairing eavestroughs  where drainage is contained within the property
  • Landscaping, but this may require a Site Alteration Permit
  • Painting or decorating
  • Re-shingling a roof
  • Replacing existing plumbing fixtures with no new plumbing
  • Replacing existing windows to the same size and location
  • Replacing a furnace

If your property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, you must have a Heritage Permit before you will be given a Building Permit.

As a homeowner, you must ensure that you have a Building Permit before you begin construction or demolition.

A property owner or an agent on behalf of the owner such as a contractor or designer can apply for a building permit for residential projects. If your designer or contractor applies on your behalf, ask them to include your contact information on the application so that you are able to receive updates at the same time your contractor or designer receives them.

Complete the Permit to Construct or Demolish application form (PDF, 72 KB). Ensure to include property address, owner/applicant and designer information, including designer schedule.

You must also submit with your application:

Include the following on your site plan:

  • Title, scale, north arrow and proper dimensions
  • Legal description including lot and plan number, street name and municipal address number
  • Setbacks to all property lines for the existing dwelling and the proposed project  such as porch, deck, garage, shed or gazebo
  • Any right of way and/or easements
  • Information on all accessory buildings such as the size and location of garages, sheds, decks, porches or swimming pools
  • Front yard landscaping, the driveway location and location of sidewalk, if applicable
  • Location of existing septic system, if applicable
  • Parking spaces
  • Your existing house and the size and location of the proposed project

For swimming pool enclosures you need to include the following on the Site Plan:

  • Location of pool, either existing or proposed, and pool equipment
  • Setbacks from all property lines
  • Location of the private sewage disposal system, if present on your property, and dimensions to the pool
  • Location of your utility reading device such as gas meter and any overhead wires
  • Details of the proposed or existing enclosure or gates

For accessory buildings such as sheds, garages or gazebos your drawing should include:

  • Dimensions of proposed accessory building, including the height from grade to roof peak
  • Slab, foundation wall or pier construction details including size, depth, and compressive strength of concrete
  • Width, location and lintel size of all openings
  • Size, spacing and grade of studs and any structural members
  • Roof framing - size, spacing and grade of rafters, showing support details at all bearing points; or, if using trusses, the manufacturer's engineered drawings

For porches and decks, your drawing should include:

  • Size and dimensions of the proposed porch or deck in relation to the existing structure
  • Height from grade to top of slab, decking, railing and/or roof
  • Construction of stairs, guards and handrails, including stair width, stringer size, rise, run, guard spacing, height, material and attachment details
  • Roof framing material, size, grade and spacing of rafters, showing support details at all bearing points
  • Footing, foundation or pier construction details including size, depth and compressive strength of concrete
  • Wood frame deck construction indicating size, grade, direction, spacing and span of joists and beams
  • Concrete porch construction indicating concrete compressive strength, thickness of slab, size and spacing of any rebar present and means of support

Before a demolition permit is issued, all services must be properly disconnected to the dwelling or structure. 

Complete the Disconnection of Services form (PDF, 22 KB) and submit with building permit application.

Contact information for disconnecting a service

Hamilton Emergency Services - Fire Inspection
Fire Prevention Bureau
55 King William Street - 2nd Floor, Hamilton
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext.1380
Fax: 905-546-4566

Water Service
330 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton
Phone: 905-546-4426
Fax: 905-546-2627

Sewer Lateral Reuse Inspection
P&ED - Project Manager, Growth Mangement
71 Main Street West, 6th floor, Hamilton
Phone: 905-246-2424 ext. 7860
Must consult with Growth Management staff

Union Gas - Gas (Exterior)
4475 Mainway Drive, Burlington, Ontario
Phone: 1-855-228-4898 ext. 5111111
Fax: 1-866-263-0581
Email: [email protected]

Union Energy/Reliance Home Comfort - Equipment Removal
830 Harrington Court, Burlington, Ontario
Phone: 905-681-4145
Fax: 905-333-2689

Alectra Utilities (Contact your provider only)
Phone: 905-317-4575 (Ask for Clearance No.)
Fax: 1-877-236-6395

Bell Canada
Phone: 1-800-965-6667 (Ask for Clearance No.)
Fax: 905-527-2187
Email: [email protected]

Hydro One Electrical (Contact your provider only)
Phone: 1-888-652-2302 (Ask for Clearance No.)
Fax: 519-426-9934

Forestry Protection Services
Phone: 905-546-2424, ext. 7375
Fax: 905-546-4473
Email: [email protected]

Your building permit application may be submitted electronically at [email protected], by mail, courier or in person when the office is open to the public. Ensure to submit the completed application along with 2 copies of construction drawings and all other required information to:

City of Hamilton
Building Division
71 Main Street West, 3rd Floor
Hamilton ON L8P 4Y5

Application fee: Building permit fees must be paid in full at the time of the application with the exception of applications submitted through our electronic plans review process [email protected]. Building permit applications can be paid by cheque (payable to the City of Hamilton), credit card and when our offices are open to the public by cash or debit card. If you are submitting your permit application by mail or courier and paying by credit card please include the Credit Card Authorization form (PDF,  58 KB)to allow payment to be processed at the time the application is accepted. Please note only the building permit fees can be paid by credit card. 

Your submitted residential building permit application will take up to 10 days business days for review in accordance with the legislated timeframe requirements contained in the Ontario Building Code.  

Staff will contact the applicant when:          

  • The application is approved and the permit is issued, or
  • If the application is incomplete and/or if there is additional information required, in which case a Review Letter will be issued and sent to the applicant. These items must be resolved prior to issuance of the building permit. The resubmission of information may also take up to 10 business days to review. 

After Building Permit approval

Read the permit documents thoroughly before you start construction. All construction must be in accordance with the approved plans and documents issued with your permit.

Several inspections are required during construction to ensure that all work is done as per the approved plans.

Contact us

Building Division
City Hall, 3rd floor
Phone: 905-546-2720
Email: [email protected]