Building permits are in place for your safety - and the safety of those around you, ensuring your construction project is protected from structural failure, fire hazards from electrical and heating systems, electrical shock and other health risks. Permits also provide a permanent record of the work performed and all inspections conducted to ensure the project is sound and safe.
Before starting a new construction project, either indoors or outdoors, you must determine whether you need a building permit.
Building services at the Municipality of Bluewater is here to help you through the building permit process.
Our building staff work with builders and property owners to ensure that building codes are met, and that every structure built in the municipality is built safely.
Complete permit applications can be submitted electronically to the Development Services Administrative Assistant. Once submitted, staff will reach out to confirm completeness and required fee. Once the fee is provided, review of the documentation will start.
Information about construction projects and the process to obtain a building permit is available below. General inquiries can be made by contacting Development Services Department staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is the responsibility of the property owner to determine whether there is a requirement to obtain a building permit, plumbing permit or sewage system (septic) permit. Please note that although a building permit may not be required for some construction projects, the structure must still comply with the zoning by-law and other applicable laws and regulations.
Reviewing the list of frequently asked questions may help you gather important information.
A permit grants permission to start construction of a building, plumbing or sewage system. A permit and inspections ensure the construction complies with the construction and safety standards of the Building Code Act and Ontario Building Code, the Zoning By-law and other applicable laws and regulations.
A building permit is required for the following projects. Please note, these are examples. The list below is not exhaustive.
- New buildings such as homes, detached garages, sheds and workshops - with an area greater than 10 square meters (108 square feet)
- Additions to an existing house such as a room, garage or carport, porch, second floor, finish a basement or attic
- Decks with a roof (also known as a porch) and decks that are supported by posts and beams
- Renovations that involve structural alterations, new bathrooms, bedrooms or removal of interior walls
- Replacement of windows/doors if opening made wider
- Installation of a wood burning stove or fireplace
- Pre-fabricated structures, trailers and mobile homes with an area greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet)
- Temporary tents with an area greater than 60 square meters (646 square feet)
- Demolition of a non-farm building (eg. residence, shed)
A plumbing permit is required for the following projects.
- Alteration to an existing drainage of venting system
- Relocation of fixture(s)
- Installation of a new plumbing systems
- Alteration to an existing private water, sanitary or storm sewer system
A sewage system (septic) permit is required for the following projects.
- Installation of a new sewage system
- Repair or alteration of an existing sewage system
- Replacement of a septic or holding tank
- Detached buildings with an area less than 10 square metres (108 square feet) – must still comply with the zoning by-law
- Installing new kitchen cupboards
- Replacing existing windows/doors without increasing the opening size
- Replacing roof shingles, siding, soffit and fascia and eavestroughs
- Sidewalks on private property
- New or altered driveways (note: an Entrance Permit is required if location or size is changing)
- Replacing plumbing fixtures – (toilet, sink, shower, clothes washer, laundry tub etc.)
Provide an email to the Development Services Co-ordinator with a summary of your construction project, the property address and approximate location of the structure on the property and the Development Services Team will respond with information that will guide you through the process and provide a list of the required documents for a complete application.
Depending on the proposed project, staff may request a pre-consultation meeting with yourself and staff to further discuss the project.
- Lot grading and site sketch: A scaled drawing that shows the true dimensions and legal description (referenced to an up-to-date survey) of the lot to be built upon or otherwise used, all lot boundaries and survey monuments and stakes, the proposed or existing location and dimensions of all buildings, structures, sewage system and setbacks from all property lines and the shoreline of a water body, where applicable, the height (or number of storeys) of all buildings, the illustration of all major topographic or other features on or abutting the lot such as water bodies, slopes, roads, utility corridors and easements, landscaping (natural vegetation cover or planted), parking spaces, lot area and building coverage, existing contours of the land and proposed new contours or grading, if alterations to the grade are proposed, the proposed final lot grading plan, showing the geodetic elevation (where available) of the final grade at lot corners and adjacent to any buildings and structures. The lot grading plan shall comply with any applicable site plan and subdivider’s lot grading plan required under Sections 41 or 51 of the Planning Act or as may be required under the Drainage Act, a north arrow, scale, civic address and lot and block, plan or concession number.
- Foundation plan: A scaled drawing that shows basement wall type and sizes, strip footing size, column and pier footing size and spacing dimensions, beams and floor joist sizes and spacing, room dimensions with window and door locations, location of plumbing fixtures, floor drain, furnace, etc.
- Floor plan: A scaled drawing that shows all floors with room names or uses; dimensions of rooms, halls and stairs; location of plumbing fixtures, ventilation equipment, smoke and CO detectors, handrails and guards; beam, lintel and joist sizes; and window and door location and sizes.
- Cross section: Scaled drawings that show room height, roof pitch, construction details and materials used for the construction of walls, floors, ceiling and roof; depth of footings, type and thickness of foundation; finished floor level and finished grade.
- Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Shows duct design with heat loss calculations, furnace and air conditioner sizing, if applicable, Schedule 1 signed by the Qualified Designer and Energy Efficiency Design Summary form (EEDS).
- Elevations: Scaled drawings that show front, rear and sides; exterior construction details and materials; any balconies, bay windows, porches, exterior stairs or other exterior encroachment; finished floor levels and finished grade, and overall building height.
- Engineered Roof Truss and Floor Joist Drawings: shows roof truss layout and engineered designs for individual trusses. Floor layout and engineered designs for individual floor joists – if “trussed” floor joist are proposed.
- Other Engineered Drawings and Information: including but not limited to: Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) foundations, underpinned foundations or special structural designs (designated structures) that are stamped by a professional engineer.
- How long will it take to obtain a building permit?: A review period will be assigned to your permit application. These timelines are based on complete applications being submitted, zoning regulations, including setbacks, lot coverage, etc. are met.
A review period will be assigned to your permit application. These timelines are based on complete applications being submitted, zoning regulations, including setbacks, lot coverage, etc. are met.
Permits may be issued sooner depending on the complexity of the project and the completeness of drawings and submitted information. There are also exceptions depending on the referral to another department or agency if required, or if special approval(s) such as minor variance etc.
- A house where no dwelling is located above another dwelling unit.
- A detached structure that serves a building as described in (a) and does not exceed 55 square meters in building area
- A tent
- A sign
- town house or row house containing more than two dwelling units
- building other than those mentioned above,
- 3 or fewer storeys in height
- building area less than 600 square meters
- major occupancies classified as
- business and Personal Services
- medium and low hazard industrial
- farm buildings not exceeding 600 square meters in building area
- Buildings more than 600 square meters in building area
- More than 3 storeys in height
- Major Occupancies Classified as:
- Care and Detention
- Business and Personal Services
- High, medium or low hazard industrial
- Farm Buildings exceeding 600 square meters in building area
- Post-disaster Buildings
- High Buildings which OBC subsection 3.2.6. applies
- Building with interconnected floor areas to which OBC 220.127.116.11. to 18.104.22.168. apply
The fees are determined by the Development Services Department and are based on the fee schedule within the Building By-law, Development Charges By-law and Development Agreement. For more information on the fees, please contact the Development Services Department.
Acceptable methods of payment are cash, cheque and debit. Payment can be provided to 23 Goshen St N., Zurich, Ontario, N0M 2T0 or be mailed to 14 Mill Ave, P.O. Box 250, Zurich Ontario N0M 2T0
Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally because of the decay of radium. It is found to varying degrees as a component of soil gas in all regions of Canada and is known to enter dwelling units by infiltration into basements and crawl spaces. The presence of the decay products of Radon in sufficient quantity can lead to increased risk of lung cancer. Thus, the importance of providing soil gas barriers below floor slabs in basements and crawl spaces as well as foundation walls that are in contact with the soil.
Health Canada recommends that Radon gas testing consist of a long-term test (minimum of 91 days) carried out by a Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) certified professional during the winter season. Where a test result has been conducted that exceeds 200 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) you will require a subfloor depressurization system to be installed to reduce the concentration levels below 200 Bq/m3. The owner/ builder will be responsible for the remediation work.
In compliance with the Radon mitigation measures, all new dwellings will be required to provide one (1) of the Soil Gas Control Systems listed below:
Option 1 – Soil Gas Barrier
- provide a minimum 0.15mm (6mil) polyethylene sheet below the basement floor slab with joints lapped 300mm or joints sealed,
- provide a bead of flexible sealant at the junction of the perimeter basement slab and wall,
- seal around any floor penetrations such as drains, wastes or vents, and
- provide dampproofing/ drainage membrane to the exterior foundation walls in contact with the soils
Option 2 – Depressurization System
- provide dampproofing/ drainage membrane to the exterior foundation walls in contact with the soils and;
- install an active subfloor depressurization system
Option 3 – Mandatory Radon Gas Testing
- install a 4” (100mm) diameter pipe vertically through the basement/ crawl space floor slab such that the bottom opens up into the granular fill below the slab that is 6” (150mm) deep x 24” (600mm) in diameter and the upper end terminates above the slab which will permit the connection of depressurization equipment and is provided with a removable seal, and
- Mandatory Radon gas testing is required - Where mandatory radon gas testing results come back over 200 Bq/m3, the owner/ builder will be responsible for remediation work and follow-up testing.
During various stages of the project, an inspection may be required as set out in the Ontario Building Code. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to notify the Building Department 48 hours before you are ready for an inspection.
- readiness to construct footings,
- substantial completion of footings and foundations prior to commencement of backfilling,
- substantial completion of structural framing and ductwork and piping for heating and air-conditioning systems, if the building is within the scope of Part 9 of Division B,
- substantial completion of structural framing and roughing-in of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and air-contaminant extraction equipment, if the building is not a building to which Clause (c) applies,
- substantial completion of insulation and vapour barriers,
- substantial completion of air barrier systems,
- substantial completion of all required fire separations and closures and all fire protection systems including standpipe, sprinkler, fire alarm and emergency lighting systems,
- substantial completion of fire access routes,
- readiness for inspection and testing of,
- Building Sewers and Building Drains,
- water service pipes,
- fire service mains,
- drainage systems and venting systems,
- the water distribution system, and
- plumbing fixtures and plumbing appliances,
- readiness for inspection of suction and gravity outlets, covers and suction piping serving outlets of an outdoor pool described in Clause 22.214.171.124.(1)(j) of Division A, a public pool or a public spa,
- substantial completion of the circulation / recirculation system of an outdoor pool described in Clause 126.96.36.199.(1)(j) of Division A, a public pool or public spa and substantial completion of the pool before it is first filled with water,
- readiness to construct the sewage system,
- substantial completion of the installation of the sewage system before the commencement of backfilling,
- substantial completion of installation of plumbing not located in a structure, before the commencement of backfilling,
- completion of construction and installation of components required to permit the issue of an occupancy permit under Sentence 188.8.131.52.(3) or to permit occupancy under Sentence 184.108.40.206.(1), if the building or part of the building to be occupied is not fully completed, and
- completion of construction and installation of components required to permit the issue of an occupancy permit under Sentence 220.127.116.11.(4) or 18.104.22.168.(3).
Applicants are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, inspections and approvals.
Proposed construction projects located within the Bayfield Heritage Conservation District or that can not comply with the Zoning By-law or other municipal by-laws require approval from Council.
Electrical Safety Authority Certificate of Acceptance: Keep yourself and your family safe by making sure electrical work meets the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. No matter how small the job, when you hire someone to do electrical work in your home, by law in Ontario they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor. A Licensed Electrical Contractor will ensure the work is done properly, safely and legally with the necessary notifications to ESA. General handymen and other service providers cannot do electrical work unless they hold an ECRA/ESA licence number. Once your electrical work has been reviewed and passed, ESA will issue a Certificate of Acceptance (or Certificate of Inspection for notifications created before July 6, 2020) to the person who filed the notification. It’s an important document for insurance purposes, resale and peace of mind. If your contractor filed the notification, ask for a copy of the certificate for your records. Phone 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233)
Ministry of Transportation: A Building and Land Use Permit must be obtained from the Ministry to carry out any work within their controlled area and when an addition or alteration that changes the footprint size to existing buildings, structures, fences are proposed. The owner shall submit an application for a building and land use permit to the Ministry for approval. The application must indicate the extent of the proposed changes. The Ministry and Land Use Permit is required to be obtained and submitted with your building permit application.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority: Conservation Authority responsibility include ensuring development is not at risk from natural hazard such as flooding or erosion and they aim to protect and restore the ecological health and integrity of natural systems. To determine if your proposed project is within the regulated area, please contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Office 519-235-2610 or www.abca.ca
Potable Water Testing: Huron County Health provides free bacterial water testing services to all Perth and Huron County residents on a private well. It is recommended that you test your well water a minimum of three times a year, preferably spring, summer and fall. Telephone Number: 519-482-3416 or www.hpph.ca
Minor Variance and Rezoning: Planning applications for minor variance, zoning by-law amendments, temporary use zoning, deemings and holding zones are processed and approved by the Municipality of Bluewater. For more information on these processes, please visit the Planning and Development section of the website.
Consent Severance: A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form two new adjoining properties. This is commonly known as a land severance but more formally it’s called a consent. Consents are approved by the Huron County.
Below are resources that you may find helpful during the planning stages of your project.
Building By-law 112-2019 provides information about application requirements and fees.
Zoning By-law 43-2015 provides information about general provisions applying to all properties within the Municipality of Bluewater plus specific zone provisions such as setbacks and zone coverage.
Site Plan Control By-law 78-2018 provides information about the site plan control area that applies to the entire municipality and what is required for an application for site plan control.
You can view property information using aerial imagery and interactive maps developed by the County of Huron Information & Technology Services.
The Chief Building Official must approve all plans for new structures, additions and renovations for the work described on the Building Permit Application Form
The appropriate Energy Efficiency Design Summary form must be completed and submitted with a building application if applicable.
Energy Efficiency Design Summary – Prescriptive
Energy Efficiency Design Summary – Performance
Every person shall ensure construction does not proceed unless a permit has been issued by the Chief Building Official (CBO), building plans are drawn by a qualified designer, construction is carried out by qualified trades and the work is inspected by the Building Inspector. Below are examples of some required drawings:
- Site Plan
- Shed Design
- Accessory Building Elevation
- Floating Slab
- Standard Deck Design
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to notify the Building Department of the need for an inspection. Call 519-236-4351 at least 48 hours in advance.