Building Permits - FAQ

The City of Windsor's mandate is to ensure a safe, clean, healthy, functioning community, which secures the well being of its residents. And that philosophy extends to the very buildings we inhabit. By enforcing building codes, and assisting builders, we ensure that the structures they create are safe not only for today, but for many years to come.

Not certain if you need a permit?

Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions below, or contact the Planning & Building Services Department at 519-255-6267 with details of the work you're planning. Our staff will be able to assist you in making that determination.

Permit Inquiries

You can access permit inquires through e-services. Just click on the link for step-by-step instructions. Building and Public Works Permit Inquires.

If you require more detailed information, please contact a Customer Service Representative in the Planning & Building Services Department at 519-255-6267 or Public Works Department at 519-255-6257.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is a building permit?
  • A building permit is a license
  • It grants legal permission to start construction of a building project
  • It gives building officials the means to enforce the requirements of various standards
Why is a building permit required?
  • To ensure that construction within our municipality meets with standards set out in the Ontario Building Code
  • To ensure that zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards and other building standards are met

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Who Should Apply? 

  • The homeowner
  • You may authorize your contractor or designer to apply for the permit
  • The owner should ensure that they have the permit prior to any work starting

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When is a building permit required?

  • For new construction, additions, alterations, renovations, relocations, and repairs
  • For the rehabilitation of a building or structure
  • Not required for some minor repairs

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What projects require a building permit?

The construction or alteration of any freestanding structure over 10m2 (108sq.ft.) in area, including: 

  • Decks
  • New fireplace
  • Completion of roughed-in fireplaces
  • Porches
  • Sunrooms
  • Solariums
  • Carports
  • Attached or detached garages
  • Dormers
  • One or two story additions
  • Furnace replacements to a greater efficiency
  • Plumbing and/or drains
  • Major duct work changes
  • New or structural alterations to windows to doors
  • Adding or removing most walls
  • Basement or main floor walkouts
  • Swimming pools
  • Construction or alteration of any freestanding structure over 10m2 (108sq.ft.) in area
  • Sprinklers Systems
  • Solar Panels
  • Relining of the private sewer connection

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What projects do not require a building permit?

The following is a list of projects that do not require a permit: 

  • Air conditioning units or heat pumps added to existing systems
  • Pool heaters
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping
  • Fences (other than masonry, concrete, etc.)
  • Asphalt roof shingling (non-structural)
  • Eaves troughs
  • Minor repairs to masonry
  • Kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Freestanding satellite dishes
  • A detached accessory structure, which measures less than 10m2 (108 sq. ft.) in area. (An accessory structure is any building or structure other than the house.)
  • Solar Panels - free standing

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What can result from NOT obtaining a building permit?

If the work does not comply with Ontario Building Code requirements: 

  • Costly repairs may be required to gain compliance
  • Removal of work done not in compliance will be required
  • The building permit application fee may be increased
  • Legal action may be initiated by the Planning & Building Services Department to gain compliance

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What is required to apply for a permit?

  • With a good working knowledge of houses and construction you can design your own project
  • Develop your ideas on paper with rough floor plans and specifications
  • Have a draftsperson or other knowledgeable person transform your sketches into proper plans
  • If your project is too complicated, acquire the services of a qualified person
  • All work indicated on your drawings must conform to the Ontario Building Code and City of Windsor Zoning By-laws
  • Documentation and Drawing Required - Schedule "B" - Part A
  • Information Required for Permit Application - Schedule "B" Part B 

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How long is the permit valid before revocation?

  • Construction or Demolition must start within 6 months of issuance of the permit. Failure to do so could result in the revocation of the permit
  • Construction or Demolition must not be substantially suspended or discontinued for more than one year. Suspension or discontinuation could result in the revocation of the permit

Note: Certification by a Professional Engineer is required for certain prefabricated structures or construction components. Check with City Hall's 4th floor Building Customer Service Representatives. 

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Where do I apply for a building permit?

Planning & Building Services Department
350 City Hall Square West, 2nd Floor
Windsor, Ontario

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When do I need a Building Inspection?

  • Several inspections are required during construction to ensure that all work is done according to the approved plans

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What is the zoning of my property?

  • Zoning designations can be found by using & "E-Services" located in the drop down menu at the top of this page. Click on the Property Query button to access the next screen, which will allow you look up properties by municipal address
  • If you know the location of the property within the city, you can also use the zoning maps to confirm the designated zoning
  • To view the provisions of each zoning, you can view the zoning by-law
  • For more detailed zoning information, you will need to contact the Planning & Building Services Department at 519-255-6543

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When will construction commence? 

  • Construction will start for a commercial or industrial project once site plan approval has been granted and a building permit has been issued

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What do I need to obtain a demolition permit?

Once a demolition application is received, the Planning & Building Services Department sends out, by fax, a request for a clearance from ENWIN and UNION GAS. We do not issue the demolition permit until these clearances are received back to the Planning & Building Services Department. It is incumbent upon the demolition contractor to contact these utilities to obtain the necessary shutoffs so that the clearance can be sent to the Planning & Building Services Department in a timely manner.

The "Demolition Permit Application Checklist" must be filled out and signed by the applicant. If there are any environment considerations, the necessary Environmental Building Audits must be submitted prior to the issuance of the demolition permit. Also, please note:  if the building exceeds:

  • 3 storeys in building height or 600 m² in building area,
  • the building structure includes pre-tensioned or post-tensioned members,
  • it is proposed that the demolition will extend below the level of the footings of any adjacent building and occur within the angle of repose of the soil, drawn from the bottom of such footings, or
  • explosives or a laser are to be used during the course of demolition, a professional engineer must be retained to undergo the review of the demolition. This Department, prior to the release of the permit, will require documentation from the professional engineer

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Planning & Building Services Department
350 City Hall Square West, 2nd Floor
P. O. Box 1607
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 6S1

For general information, call 311.
For detailed inquires, call 519-255-6267