Learn about our different building permits and what you need to include in your application. If you have any questions, send us an email or call us at 519-741-2312.

Apply for a permit online

  1. COVID-19 updates
  2. Do I need a building permit?
  3. How to apply for a building permit
  4. Application processing
  5. Fence variance
  6. Interior alterations and finishing your basement
  7. Building a deck or porch
  8. Building an addition
  9. Pool permit
  10. Building a new home
  11. Adding a carport or attached garage
  12. Building a shed, detached garage or accessory structure
  13. Adding a duplex or granny flat
  14. Removing a load-bearing wall
  15. Adding solar panels
  16. Water, sewer, storm replacement or repair
  17. Adding a backflow device
  18. Installing or altering a septic system
  19. Changing an HVAC system
  20. Emergency water service repair

COVID-19 updates

Most City of Kitchener indoor and outdoor facilities are open for limited public use

Visit our COVID-19 updates page to learn what's open and closed as well as how city services are affected.


Do I need a building permit?

Depending on your project, you may need a building permit to continue. Visit our webpage to learn if you need a building permit or if you can continue without applying for one.

Some projects that need a building permit include:

  • building a garage, shed or other structure 108 square feet or greater
  • adding an attached carport or other structure with a roof
  • finishing your basement
  • adding a bedroom to the basement
  • creating a duplex
  • removing a load-bearing wall
  • moving plumbing fixtures

Some projects that don’t need a building permit include:

  • building a detached structure that’s less than 108 square feet, like a gazebo
  • installing a gas fireplace
  • building a fence, but the fence must follow our bylaw (see fence variance process)
  • installing a water softener

Find more examples on our webpage.


How to apply for a building permit

You can apply for your building permit online or in person. All projects must follow our zoning bylaw.

Online

Use our online services. After you apply, you can check the status of your permit and schedule any city inspections.

In person

To apply for a building permit in person, you need to make an appointment. Please bring your completed forms and drawings to your appointment.


Application processing

We will review your application within 10 business days.

After we review the application, our staff will email you to let you know the permit is ready to issue. If we need more information, we’ll send you a status letter with a list of issues that need to be addressed before we issue the permit.

There is no legislated timeframe for further reviews. If you get a status letter, the length of time will depend on the list of deficiencies that need to be addressed and any communication between the applicant and staff.


Fence variance

If your fence does not meet the requirements of our fence bylaw, you can make an application for a variance request.

Download the application form and submit it with the fee to our planning division.

Review the fence variance process:

  1. for fences on interior lots, all abutting property owners get written notice of the request and have the opportunity to express comments
  2. for street flanking fences on corner lots, all property owners within a 30 metre radius get written notice of the request and have the opportunity to share their comments  
  3. planning staff may also circulate and get input from other departments or agencies with an interest in the application

If there are no concerns, the process takes approximately three weeks. Approval may be subject to conditions, which must be fulfilled in order to finalize the variance.

If there are objections from the community, staff will attempt to address the concerns or seek a compromise with the applicant. If the concerns cannot be resolved, or if staff do not support the requested variance, community members or the applicant will have the opportunity to appeal the staff recommendation to city council.


Interior alterations and finishing your basement

You need a building permit for interior alterations, including partial and full basement finishing projects.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $0.37 per square foot or $95 (minimum)
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Process guide
Forms
Construction drawings
  • window and door sizes
  • room names
  • kitchen and/or bathroom layout
  • location of stairs, furnace, etc.
  • new wall construction
  • location of existing ducting or overhead beams
  • ceiling height

Building a deck or porch

You need a building permit to build a deck or porch if:

  • it is 24 inches (2 feet) or more above the ground, measured at any point
  • your deck will be covered by a permanent roof

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95
Forms
Site plan

Show these items on your site plan:

  • dimensions of the deck
  • distance from the deck to the property lines
  • other structures in the area (example: shed, pool)
Construction drawings
  • building centre drawings or hand drawn to scale and dimensioned

Plan view showing

  • posts
  • floor joists
  • beams
  • stairs
  • landings

Side view showing

  • height of deck and guard
Guards and railings

Under the Ontario Building Code, you can install wooden guards or railings.

If you want to install anything other than wooden guards or railings, you need to include the package of details from your supplier.

You cannot install hollow plastic or vinyl guards or railings.
Approved decking materials
  • 5/4” wood decking
  • CWS Composite Decking
  • Duradek boards
  • Brite Composite Decking
  • Nexwood Composite Decking
  • Trex Wood-Polymer Composite Decking
  • Eon Composite Decking System
  • Baleboard Poly Decking
  • FORMADECK vinyl deck boards
  • NCP Euroboard, Enviroboard, Northern Lite Decking
  • Gorilla Deck PVC Deck Boards
Standard details

Building an addition

You need a building permit to build an addition on your home.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees 
  • permit fee: $1.07 per square foot
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Forms

If the addition is 25% or more of the existing building’s heated area:

Site plan

Show these items in your site plan:

  • property boundaries
  • existing building(s)
  • other structure locations (example: shed)
  • proposed location of the addition
  • dimensions and distance to the property lines of the proposed addition
Construction drawings

Floor plans

  • note and size all structural elements such as floor joints, rafters, beams, columns, lintels, and footing pad sizes
  • window/door locations and width and height
  • room names including finished basements
  • stair location and direction, cabinets and fixtures (fridges, stove, sinks, etc.)
  • show Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • dimensions of interior and exterior walls and overall dimensions
  • provide floor area totals in square feet for each level including basement
  • deck plan and guard details (if applicable) 

Elevations

  • show size and location of existing window and door openings
  • label wall cladding and roofing material
  • show finished grade
  • show footing and foundations below grade (broken lines) including steps in foundation

Wall sections and details (cross-section)

  • show materials to be used on section
  • provide construction notes for:
    • exterior and interior wall assemblies
    • all floors assemblies
    • roof / ceiling assemblies
    • footings and foundation
    • weeping tile and damp proofing
  • locate finished grade, dimension grade to exterior cladding
  • dimensions for all floor heights
  • details for:
    • items that are not typical and/or clarify construction
    • examples – plans view for unique stair, guards, deck connection to house, section of cathedral / vaulted ceiling

Other information

  • truss layout drawings (if applicable)
  • pre-engineering floor joist layout drawings (if applicable)

Pool permit

You need a pool enclosure permit for all types of pools capable of containing water at least 36 inches or greater in depth. This includes hot tubs, swim spas, in-ground and above ground pools and inflatable pools.

If the hot tub or swim spa has a lockable cover, you do not need a pool enclosure permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95
Forms
Site plan

Show these items on your site plan:

  • location and configuration of the proposed pool
  • distance to all property lines and existing building
  • fence locations which confirm compliance with the fence bylaw and includes the type of construction 
Reminder
  • when installing a pool, consider other bylaws and policies around grading, zoning and fences
  • review the pool enclosure requirements
  • visit our backyard pools and hot tubs page to learn about pool draining
  • if an infiltration gallery is either uncovered or damaged during installation, you may need to repair or move it
If you have any questions, call 519-741-2406.

Building a new home

You need a building permit to build a new residential building, including:

  • detached home
  • semi-detached home
  • detached duplex
  • rowhouse

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees 
  • permit fee: $1.07 per square foot
  • rebate fee: $500 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
  • development charges
  • other fees such as a damage deposit fee and a stormwater management fee may apply. Please see our webpage for a more detailed explanation  
Permit requirements

All documents and drawings must be submitted in PDF format. When uploading the permit requirements, please combine related documents into files when applying. All forms should be in one document with drawings in another document.

Drawings must be fully dimensioned, drawn at minimum 3/16"= 1'-0" and note all sizes and types of construction materials to be used and their respective locations, finishes to all walls, ceilings and floors and all existing and proposed fire separations. We do not accept scanned drawings.

Forms and plans that may be applicable 
Designer requirements

All submitted drawings must be prepared by either the owner, or prepared and reviewed by a qualified designer, architect, professional engineer or a combination. Some drawings must be designed by a professional engineer when the design falls outside of the prescriptive requirements of the Building Code.

The Building Code requires qualified, registered designers, who review and take responsibility for design activities, to include the following information on documents submitted to a chief building official or registered code agency:

  • name and building code identification number (BCIN) of the registered firm
  • statement that the qualified person has reviewed and taken responsibility for the design activities
  • name, BCIN and signature of the qualified person

Adding a carport or attached garage

You need a building permit to build a carport or attached garage when:

  • 108 square feet or larger (new or replacement)
  • when it’s attached to another structure, like your home

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95 per bay
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Forms
Site plan 

Show these items on your site plan:

  • location of the proposed carport or attached garage
  • dimensions and distance from proposed structure to property lines
  • other structures in the area (example: deck, pool)
Construction drawings

Plan view

  • window and door sizes
  • floor, wall and roof construction
  • connection to existing structure (only if attached)

Front and side view

  • height of structure
  • exterior materials
Standard details
Process guide

Building a shed, detached garage or accessory structure

You need a building permit to build a shed, detached garage or accessory structure:

  • the proposed structure, new or replaced, is 108 square feet or larger measured to the outside of exterior walls
  • the proposed structure is attached to another structure (like your home)

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95 per bay of garage or shed
  • rebate fee: $250 (for garages only, automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Process guide
Forms

If the proposed structure is larger than 592 square feet, you need a schedule 1 designer form. You will need to complete the drawings with a qualified designer.

Qualified designers need to include their:

  • name
  • BCIN #
  • designer statement
  • signature on the plans
  • completed schedule 1 form
Site plan

Show these items on your site plan:

  • location of the proposed shed or garage
  • dimensions and distance from shed to property line
  • other structures in the area (example: deck, pool)
Construction drawings

Plan view

  • window and door sizes
  • floor, wall and roof construction
  • connection to existing structure (only if attached)

Front and side view

  • height of structure
  • exterior materials
Standard details

Adding a duplex or granny flat

You need a building permit to add a duplex. Duplexes can also be called in-law suites, accessory apartments or granny flats.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $0.37 per square foot of finished space (or $163 minimum)
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Process guide
Forms

If you're installing a separate heating system:

Construction drawings - new residential unit
  • window/door sizes – include glass area
  • room names
  • kitchen/bathroom layout
  • stair, furnace, etc. location
  • location of any existing walls and ceilings – indicate existing construction
  • new wall/ceiling construction
  • new beam sizes and supports
  • location of existing ducting or overhead beams
  • ceiling height
  • location of proposed separation between units
Construction drawings - retained residential unit
  • window/door locations
  • room names and locations
  • stair, furnace etc. location
  • new wall construction

Removing a load-bearing wall

You need a building permit to remove a load-bearing wall, column, lintel or beam.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees 
  • permit fee: $95
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Forms
Construction drawings

Plan view – for the floor level where the wall is being removed

  • direction of the existing floor joists span
  • new beam sizes and supports
  • distance measure from the new beam to the next wall or beam that is supporting the floor joists (for each side of the beam)

Plan view – for all floor levels above and below the floor where the wall is being removed

  • direction of the existing floor joists span
  • all existing beams below the new posts from above and their sizes and post locations
  • distance measured from the existing beam to the next wall or beam that is supporting the floor joists (for each side of the beam)
Process guide

Adding solar panels

You need a building permit for any solar collector with an aggregate face area of 5 sq. m. or greater that is mounted to a building or structure.

Existing buildings must be evaluated for the extra loading the solar panels apply to the roof assembly. Solar panels may add dead loads to the structure and can also cause extra wind uplift and live loads (snow accumulation due to placement of panels). Transfer of loads through the panel mounting systems may cause a relocation of where and how the loads are applied to the roof assembly (uniform and/or point loads). If insufficient capacity is identified systems would have to be strengthened.

Some building owners may want to install a system without proper review, but you must take proper steps to ensure the protection of your building and the safety of its occupants.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95
  • rebate fee for single & semi-detached home or duplex: $250
  • rebate fee for most other buildings: $1,000
Rebate fees are automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved.
Forms
Construction drawings - single family and duplex

1. Plan view

  • location of panels on building

2. Building system review (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • identify existing structural system including sizes and spacing
  • letter showing existing roof and supporting structure are adequate to support loads from new solar collectors

3. Supplementary construction, if upgrades are needed (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • identify size and location of any supports or bracing to be provided to existing systems
  • prescribe size and location of all new supports
  • confirm all loads are sufficiently transferred to footings

4. Fastening system info (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • panel mounting detail
  • size and spacing of fasteners, rails and supports
  • location of panels on existing structure along with corresponding location of supporting elements in these area 

5. Pre-manufactures mounting rail system manufacture specifications

6. Solar panel manufacture specifications 
Construction drawings - multi-residential, ICI 

1. Plan view

  • location of panels on building

2. Building system review (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • identify existing structural system including sizes and spacing
  • letter showing existing roof and supporting structure are adequate to support loads from new solar collectors

3. Supplementary construction, if upgrades are needed (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • identify size and location of any supports or bracing to be provided to existing systems
  • prescribe size and location of all new supports
  • confirm all loads are sufficiently transferred to footings

4. Fastening system info (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

  • panel mounting detail
  • size and spacing of fasteners, rails and supports
  • location or panels on existing structure along with corresponding location of supporting elements in these areas 

5. Mounting rail system details (by Professional Engineer of Ontario)

6. Solar panel manufacture specifications

 

Upon completion of the solar installation a Professional Engineer of Ontario must review the installation and provide a certification letter to the Building Inspector.

Water, sewer, storm replacement or repair

You need a building permit to repair or install water, storm and sewer service connections on private property.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95 minimum or $0.59 per linear foot 
Forms

Adding a backflow device

Backflow happens when water flows in the opposite direction. For instance, instead of running from the city's water system into a business or home, the water runs the reverse way. That means whenever a foreign substance, such as a bottle of weed killer is connected to the end of a garden hose, the potential for pollution is created.

A backflow preventer (BFP) can stop this problem before it happens. These devices ensure unwanted substances do not enter the city's clean water supply.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $94.56 per device
Forms
  • application form - ensure permit description explains the location of the device

Installing or altering a septic system

A septic system processes all the wastewater from your house. You need a building permit if you are installing, repairing, altering or disconnecting a septic system.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: new system $462, major repair $231, minor repair $95
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Forms
Site plan

Show these items on your site plan:

  • location of new septic system
Construction drawings
  • sewage system design report

Changing an HVAC system

You need a permit to change your HVAC heating system.

Use the accordions below to find the requirements to apply for this building permit.

Fees
  • permit fee: $95 (per residential suite)
  • rebate fee: $250 (automatically refunded when the final building inspection is approved)
Forms

Emergency water service repair

For emergency water service repairs on private property, you must complete the requirements for the emergency water service repair permit as soon as possible. Before you complete the repair (or the next business day), you must also apply for a building permit and pay the $95 fee.