The Building Division is responsible for issuing building permits, demolition permits, and enforcement of the Building Code Act. The Building Division also enforces the Building By-law and other applicable regulations. The primary focus of the Building Division is to ensure that construction projects follow the regulations set out in the Ontario Building Code which creates a safe and more accessible community. To find out more about the building permit process, please read through our Citizen's Guide to Building Permits. 

When is a Permit Required?

It is important that you check with the Building Division prior to beginning work on a project to see if a building permit is required. Please see below a drop-down list of common projects that require a building permit in Port Colborne. Please note that projects outside this list may require a permit or other approvals. All buildings are still required to meet the City's Zoning By-law regardless if a building permit is required.  As well, a Municipal Consent Permit may be required for your project if work is done in the municipal right-of-way. More information can be found on the Municipal Consent Permit page.

Projects that require a permit:
  • New construction over 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) in gross area
  • Accessory buildings over 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) in gross area
    • Sheds used for storage and have no plumbing need a building permit if they exceed 15 square metres (approximately 161 square feet) in gross area.
  • Decks greater than 23-5/8 inches above finished grade
  • Change of use 
  • Swimming pools
  • Demolition 
  • Additions to an existing building of any size
  • Structural alterations or repairs
  • Renovations
  • Prefabricated buildings
  • Farm buildings 
  • Fireplaces
  • Material alterations such as alterations to or new exit facilities, fire separations, fire protection systems 
  • Plumbing 
  • Permanent tents
  • Temporary event tents
  • Signs 
  • Relocating a structure or a building
  • Any other building or structure designated by the Ontario Building Code 

 

If your project is not on the list, please contact the Building Division to determine if a building permit or other approvals are required before commencing any work. 

 

Applying for a Building Permit

If your project requires a building or demolition permit, you can submit a completed application at City Hall. If a permit application is considered incomplete upon submission, the application will be placed on hold until all information is submitted. Below is list of forms that may need to be included in an application:

Building Permit Forms

To help you understand the building permit requirements for applications and drawings, please read through the information guides and useful tools below: 

Building Permit Guides and Tools

Be advised that additional approvals may be required from regulatory agencies before permit issuance. Before applying for a permit, it is recommended that you check with these regulatory agencies and seek approvals:

Building Permit Approvals
  • City of Port Colborne Planning Division
  • Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
  • Niagara Region (septic system permit)
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Canadian Niagara Power

Along with the Building Code Act and Ontario Building Code, staff are responsible to enforce the Building By-law enacted by Council. Please carefully read through the Building By-law and other policies that may be applicable for your proposed project.

Applicable By-laws and Policies

 

Building Permits

When a permit is required for a proposed project, a building permit application must be submitted to the Building Division for review to ensure the project meets the regulations set out in the Ontario Building Code. The applicant must receive the issued building permit before any construction or work can begin on the project. Once the permit is issued, make sure to request a locate through Ontario One Call

The Building Division is responsible for, but not limited to:

New Construction Permits

To apply for a permit you can submit a completed permit application to the Building Division at City Hall. It is recommended that you speak to the Building Division prior to submitting an application to ensure that all the required information is submitted. Approvals from other departments may be required depending on the scope of your project. Incomplete permit applications may cause delay in a permit being issued.

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a building permit for new construction:

  • Permit application
  • Site plan/ lot grading plan
    • Lot grading plan is required for all new home builds
  • Construction drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations, etc.)
  • Energy Efficiency Design Summary (EEDS)
  • If engineered material is being used, include the specifications from the manufacturer (trusses, LVLs, etc.)
Demolition Permits
A permit is required to demolish any structures that exceed 10 square metres. To apply for a permit you can submit the completed permit application and all required information to the Building Division in City Hall.

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a demolition permit:

  • Permit application
  • Site plan
  • Demolition information forms
Change of Use Permit
Different building uses have different code requirements. If you want to change the way you use all or part of your building you may need a change of use permit. The proposed change of use may have to be reviewed to ensure that the existing building can support the proposed change. Even if no construction or additions to the building are proposed, updating one or more of the following features may require a change of use permit:
  • Fire safety (removing or changing wall fire separations, exits, exit signs and emergency lighting, and fire alarm systems)
  • Door hardware
  • Washrooms and fixtures
  • HVAC system (ventilation)

It is recommended that the applicant check with the Planning Division to ensure that the proposed change in use complies with the City of Port Colborne Zoning By-law.

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a change of use permit:

  • Permit application
  • Letter of use (includes the building's current use in detail, occupant loads, number of employees, and anything that might affect the design of the space).
  • Site plan
  • Construction drawings (floor plans with dimensions, building sections, fire separations)
  • Part 10 Building Matrix as applicable.
Pool Permits
The Swimming Pool By-Law states that a pool permit is required for the installation of any type of pool in Port Colborne. A pool permit ensures that the necessary safety features and fencing are included to promote safety and unauthorized entry.

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a pool permit:

  • Pool permit application
  • Site plan

Any structures that exceeds 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) as well as decks beyond 23-5/8” (500mm) in height from grade require a separate building permit. 

Accessory Structure Permits

A permit is required to build an accessory structure. Accessory structures include decks, sheds, garages, roof structures, and other buildings identified as accessory structures by the Ontario Building Code. 

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a building permit to construct an accessory structure:

  • Permit application form
  • Site plan
  • Construction drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations, etc.)
Deck Permits
A deck is considered an accessory structure, therefore a permit is required. A permit is required to build a deck, that exceeds 23 5/8” (600mm) in height from the ground, is larger than 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) or is attached to an existing structure. 

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of your project. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a building permit to construct a deck:

  • Permit application form
  • Site plan
  • Construction drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations, etc.)

 

Tent Permits

A Tent Permit is required when:

  • The aggregate ground area for a tent or a group of tents exceeds 60 square metres
  • A tent or a group of tents are to be attached to a building.
  • A tent or group of tents that are assembled closer than three metres to property lines, other buildings and to combustible material or vegetation.

A building (tent) permit is not required when the tent or group of tents measure less that 60 square metres in aggregate ground area, provided that the tent(s) are not attached to a building and are erected more than 3 metres from other structures.

Rules & Regulations for Tents

  • Must provide fire fighting access to a tent or group of tents.
  • The support frame structure and anchorage system must be designed and reviewed by a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) for tents larger than 225 square metres once erected.
  • Fabrics for tents must meet specific standards for flame resistance.
  • Sufficient sanitary facilities must be available for the duration that the tent is erected.

A Professional Engineer is required when: 

  • Tents exceed 225 square metres ­in ground area
  • Tents exceed 225 square metres in aggregate ground area and are closer that 3 metres apart
  • Containing bleachers
  • Tents that are enclosed with sidewalls

Permit Requirements

The permit requirements depend on the scope of the tent or group of tents. Although there may be approvals and other information required, below are some key items to include in an application for a tent permit:

  • Completed application form
  • Site plan illustrating property lines, other buildings, proposed location of the tent(s), sanitary facility location and capacity, drawn to scale with dimensions
  • Confirmations for fire fighting access
  • Documentation confirming sufficiency of compliance with frame resistance
  • Interior tent layout, illustrating the location of tables, exits, seating number, aisle widths, etc.
  • Exit signs above exit doors
  • Fire extinguishers required next to exit doors

Other Approvals

For tents that exceed 30m2, the applicant will be required to consult with the City of Port Colborne’s Fire Department prior to submission of the building permit, to ensure compliance with the Ontario Fire Code’s requirements.

The applicant will also require approval from the City of Port Colborne’s Planning Department. Permits and approvals may also be required from other agencies such as the NPCA, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Niagara Region, etc.

 Sign Permits

 

A permit is required to install many types of signs within the City of Port Colborne. You can view the Sign By-Law for specific requirements for a particular sign, and for signs exempt from requiring a permit. To apply for a permit you can submit the completed permit application and all required information to the Building Division at City Hall.

Permit Requirements

Below is the information required to submit for a permit. Two (2) copies of all drawings is required to submit for a permit.

  • Sign permit application form
  • Site plan
  • Drawings (foundation plan if applicable)
 Fences
A permit to construct a fence is not required in the City of Port Colborne. You can view the Fence By-law for the rules and regulations when constructing a fence. Please visit the Fence section of the webpage or contact the By-law department for any questions about fence construction.  
  Building Without a Permit
 Anyone who starts construction without a permit may be subject to penalties and additional fees. Anyone who is charged and found guilty of building without a permit can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for repeated offences. Fines are even higher for corporations. Fines may also be levied if you don't follow an order from the building department.

Inspections

After a building permit has been issued, inspections from staff are required at various stages of construction. The owner is responsible for ensuring the inspections are booked. A minimum of two (2) days notice is required to book an inspection. The inspections will ensure the requirements set out in the Ontario Building Code, the Building By-law and other applicable regulations are met. Please refer to your permit package for instructions on what inspections are required for your project. 

Fees

To learn more about the applicable fees for your project, please visit the Building Permit Fees and Development Charges page.

Ontario Building Code

The Building Code Act, 1992 is the legislative framework for the construction, renovation and change-of-use of a building. The Ontario Building Code is a regulation under the Act that creates detailed standards for construction and the administration of building permits.

The purposes of the Ontario Building Code is to promote, health and safety, fire protection, resource conservation, environmental integrity and accessibility through appropriate standards.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for the development of, and any changes to the Building Code Act and the Code.