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Building Permits & Inspections

All Owen Sound building permits are now managed through the online portal called Cloudpermit.  For more information about this system, visit our Building and Renovation page.

The Building Division works to ensure that all construction meets the standards set out in the Ontario Building Code and other municipal by-laws such as the City's Building By-law and Zoning By-law.

You are required to obtain a building permit in order to ensure all construction proceeds as required by the Building Code. Regular inspections are required throughout the construction process.

Energy Efficiency forms are required to be completed and submitted for new and most renovated building permit applications.

Building Permit FAQs

Building and plumbing permits ensure that work undertaken on any structure meets the minimum standards of the Ontario Building Code and all applicable City By-laws. Ultimately, it ensures that a project is undertaken in a way that prioritizes public health, safety and the integrity of the City’s Zoning By-law. If you are a property owner, a legal building permit ensures that any potential buyers feel confident about the work done on any building or structure in the event that you choose to sell your property in the future. 

You would be required to obtain a building and/or plumbing permit for any work that meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • New building additions
  • Converting accessory structure into an accessory dwelling unit
  • Creating additional dwelling units (i.e. duplex, triplex)
  • The construction of a storage shed larger than 15m2 (161sqft)
  • Any accessory structure exceeding 10m² (108 sq ft) in area (i.e. carport or gazebo)
  • Any accessory structures with plumbing or more than 2 floors
  • Addition of living space, or new bedrooms
  • Any material alternation to am exterior wall (i.e. removal of lath and plaster, replacing insulation and vapour barrier)
  • Any material alteration to an existing structure (i.e. changes in the structure of roofs, removal or alteration of existing walls, addition of larger/smaller windows, etc.)
  • Basement waterproofing, and new installation of drainage tile
  • Installation of a wood stove
  • Decks over 10m2 in size and/or attached to a house and/or that are at least 0.6 m above the ground
  • New plumbing or alterations to existing plumbing including site services
  • Retaining walls exceeding one meter in height
  • New tenant fit-ups in existing commercial units
  • Tents or group of tents occupying an area larger than 60 m2 in size.
  • Fire separations within existing buildings
  • All temporary buildings (such as temporary carports, etc.) 

Every building permit application is different and may require different information, depending on the scale and nature of the intended project. In some cases, it may be necessary to go through a Planning Approval process prior to the submission of a building permit application. For detailed advice about your own development plans, please contact the City’s Development Coordinator. General submission items are listed below.

For all building permit applications:

Please visit our online portal Cloudpermit to submit or track a building application.  More information about Cloudpermit can be found on our Building & Renovating landing page here.

For any new, minor buildings, decks, pools:

  • A detailed site plan showing all property-line setbacks, the area of all existing structures, and the flow of any drainage due to the proposed structure.
  • Building plans, showing the structural details of the proposed building/structure and elevation drawings, if relevant
  • Permit from the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA), if relevant
  • For Additional Residential Units (ARU), please refer to our guide below.  

For all new major construction and renovations:


  • Detailed building plans including but not limited to;
    • Floor plans (Structural and Architectural)
    • Building elevations
    • Building and/or wall sections
    • Heat loss/Heat gain calculations
    • Energy efficiency design summary
    • Duct layout or radiant floor loop design as applicable
    • Manufactures truss layout and profiles
    • Manufactures floor layouts (i.e. for TJI, LVL, floor trusses)
    • Fire separation and life safety design
  • Detailed property survey and drainage/grading plan prepared by a qualified engineer
  • All construction plans must be drawn to scale, fully dimensioned and of professional quality.
  • Permit from the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA), if relevant 

Commercial, Industrial, Institutional

  • Detailed building plans including but not limited to;
  • Ontario data code matrix
  • General commitment to review form
  • Demolition plan if applicable
  • Detailed property survey and drainage/grading plan prepared by a qualified engineer
  • Site plan showing all the requirements of Site Plan Approval
  • All construction plans must be drawn to scale, fully dimensioned and of professional quality.
  • Permit from the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA), if relevant 

Ensuring everyone has a home they can afford begins with housing choice. Providing and supporting housing choice that is affordable and attainable requires a coordinated and cooperative effort including homeowners, governments at all levels, agencies, developers and not-for-profits.  When people create ARU’s, it's an investment that benefits the owner, future occupants and the community.  Benefits include: 


  • Creates housing choice for students attending post secondary school.
  • Provides a rental option that is more affordable for young adults, retirees and newcomers.  Allows people to live independently longer.  


  • Rent from tenants helps make home ownership affordable.
  • Can increase property values.


  • Helps optimize the use of land and servicing infrastructure.
  • Reduces greenfield development.
  • Low environmental footprint reducing sprawl.

This guide has been developed to help you understand the requirements to legally create an ARU.  Let’s get started!

This guide is not intended to replace that guidance and advice from professionals. 

This guide includes information on zoning, servicing (sanitary and water) as well the other requirements you will need to complete and submit an application for building permit.  

Please be advised, as of July 1, 2023, our fees have changed.   For a full break-down of relevant permit fees, see the City's Fees & Charges By-Law. 

Note: These fees are subject to change at any time, at the City’s discretion. 

With a valid building permit, you are paying for peace of mind that your intended project is permitted in terms of the Ontario Building Code, the City’s Zoning By-Law, and any other relevant policies and By-laws. During the building process, one of the City’s Building Officials will visit the property to inspect the on-going work on your property during various stages of construction. 

Starting work without a building permit is a Provincial Offence under the Ontario Building Code Act and is subject to additional fee and charges as outlined in the Building By-law.

The timeline for the City to issue a building permit will vary based on the nature of the project. It is important to submit a complete application to ensure that permit review can begin. Prescribed timelines can be found in Division C Part 1 of the Ontario Building Code.

Once you have paid for and received a valid building permit, you are required to commence construction on the project within 6 months of the date of permit issuance, unless express permission is granted by the Chief Building Official. 

Once the work has commenced, property owners/applicants are required to contact the Building Department through Cloudpermit to book at each stage of the construction process, as regulated by the Ontario Building Code.

If your tent (or group of tents) has an area of more than 60m2, then a tent permit is required prior to erecting the tent(s). Tents larger than 225mwill also require a site review done by a qualified engineer before occupancy will be granted. For more information see our tent guide. 

Before you apply for a building permit, it is important to determine the zoning regulations that apply to your property. The City's Zoning By-law tells you what you can use your property for, the size and location of the building, as well as other requirements. The regulations address such matters as:

  • Permitted land uses within different parts of the City
  • Setbacks of buildings from property lines
  • Setbacks of buildings from lands zoned 'Hazard' (ZH)
  • Building heights (usually from the ground in front of the building)
  • Building floor areas (can be defined as minimums or maximums)
  • Lot coverage (usually a maximum percentage of the lot that may be covered by buildings)
  • Accessory uses and buildings (e.g. pools and utility sheds)
  • Home occupations and outside storage
  • Required municipal services (water and sanitary sewer services)
  • Parking requirements
  • Secondary units ("accessory apartments") and converted dwellings 

For more information on the Zoning By-law, please contact the Planning Division.

To get more information about building permits, fees, processes and timelines, please contact the Development Coordinator by email or phone (519-376-4440 ext. 1231)  

Building Inspections

Once an applicant has applied for and received a valid building permit, the applicant is required to contact the City's Building Division, at each stage of construction, in order to schedule an inspection of completed work. Mandatory inspection stages are regulated by the Ontario Building Code.

During an inspection, one of the City's building officials will visit your property with the aim of ensuring that all work undertaken is in compliance with the Ontario Building Code. They will inform you whether you are permitted to continue construction into the next phase, or whether additional work is required to ensure compliance. 

Inspections can be booked through Cloudpermit and must be scheduled at least two regular business days in advance.

It is a violation to proceed without booking an inspection. Such action could result in completed work having to be uncovered, at the cost of the owner/applicant. 

Inspection stages will evidently differ, depending on the nature of a construction project. The inspection stages mandated by the Ontario Building Code are as follows: 

  1. Footings (prior to placement of concrete)
  2. Lateral Sewers & Water (prior to backfill)
  3. Foundation
  4. Under Slab Drains
  5. Rough-In Plumbing
  6. Framing - All rough-in plumbing, wiring, rough-in mechanical and other services must be complete.
  7. Solid Fuel Burning Appliance (e.g., wood stoves, fireplaces)
  8. Insulation & Vapour/Air Barrier
  9. Fire Separations - Contact your Building Inspector for the timing of this inspection.
  10. Fire Protection Systems - Stand pipe, sprinkler, fire alarm and emergency lighting systems are also inspected by the Owen Sound Fire Department. Contact the Fire Prevention Office at (519) 376-2512.
  11. Final Plumbing
  12. Final Interior - You must have a water meter installed by the City to receive the 'occupancy certificate'. A list of inspection items for occupancy is available from your Building Inspector or at the Building & By-law Division office.
  13. Final Exterior

Once a construction project has been deemed, by a City Building Official, to be in basic compliance with the Ontario Building Code and all other City By-laws (such as the Zoning By-law), an occupancy permit will be issued for the permit. 

Until such time that an occupancy permit has been issued, no person shall occupy or use any part of a building, unless specific permission has been granted by the Chief Building Official. 

If the work is deemed "safe" but remains incomplete, the building permit will remain open in the City's records until a final inspection is undertaken. 

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