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Building Permits

What is a building permit?

A building permit gives you legal authorization to start construction of a building project in accordance with approved drawings and specifications. Building permits are issued by the Building Services Section of the Growth and Development Department at the City of Greater Sudbury.

Building permits are reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code, applicable municipal zoning bylaw and other provincial and municipal regulations for the protection of public safety, health and welfare.

Who is responsible for obtaining a building permit?

An architect or contractor may obtain a building permit on your behalf but the property owner is ultimately responsible.

Why do I need a building permit?

A building permit is the best way to protect a major investment in your home. A building permit provides information about the City's construction by-laws and regulations. It ensures that minimum construction standards are met and appropriate materials are used. It provides access to the professional advice of Building Services staff during the design and construction phases of your project to avoid problems in the future.

Construction, alteration, conversion and/or demolition cannot start until a building permit is issued. Starting construction without a permit is illegal and a Provincial Offence under the Ontario Building Code Act. Charges may be laid. At a minimum, you will be subject to an extra administration fee.

Unsure whether you need a building permit?

City of Greater Sudbury Building Services staff will be pleased to answer your questions and to help you assemble and submit your application(s) for a building permit and other permits governed by the Ontario Building Code.

When is a building permit required?

In general, a building permit is required to erect, install, extend, alter or repair a building. The following are examples of projects that require building permits:

Construction of any new structure, including decks, garages, sheds and playhouses, larger than 108 square feet (10 square metres)

Addition of a carport, garage, porch, room(s), dormer, roof over a deck, second storey to an existing home or second story dwelling unit

Renovations to the exterior of your home including construction or repair of foundation, installation of siding or brick and the addition or alteration of windows and doors

Interior renovations that change or remove partitions and load-bearing walls and installation of insulation, air/vapour barrier and drywall

Installation of a fireplace/woodstove or installation/repair of a chimney

Installation of a mobile home on your property.

What is a complete submission?

New regulations came into effect January 1, 2006 allowing applicants to declare submissions as COMPLETE, thereby requiring us to process the application within prescribed time periods.

It is important that applicants understand what constitutes a COMPLETE submission.

An application (in general) can be declared as complete, by the applicant where:

The applicant has completed the Applicable Law Declaration form (PDF 50 KB) and provide proof of compliance to any identified applicable law.

The new Application to Construct or Demolish (PDF 28.35 KB) has been properly completed and signed.

The application must be accompanied by complete plans, specifications, and documents to establish compliance with the Ontario Building Code regulations and City of Greater Sudbury Zoning bylaw.

Complete details can be found in the latest version of our Building By-law (2 MB).

It is important to note that compliance with the Ontario Building Code requirements is determined by technical examination review and NOT a condition of whether an application is COMPLETE.

Questions about a COMPLETE submission can be answered by contacting the Building Services Department at 705-674-4455, extension 4278. 

Are other permits required?

In some circumstances, Building Services staff will inform you that additional approvals are required before a building permit will be issued.  Examples include:

A plumbing permit for installation, major alteration and additions to a plumbing system

A demolition permit before you take down all or part of a building

An occupancy permit if construction is not complete at time of occupancy

A swimming pool enclosure permit for outdoor swimming pools with a capacity of more than 24 inches (61 cm) of water

A minor variance for existing or proposed structures that do not meet the standards set out in the municipal zoning by-law

An application for consent to subdivide land (lot split or lot addition) without the requirement of a plan of subdivision

A permit for electrical work, such as lighting, wiring, switches and outlets. Contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1-877-372-7233 or visit on-line at

What information do I need to apply for a permit?

The City of Greater Sudbury's application process for building projects requires detailed information from the property owner or authorized representative. Requirements depend on the nature of the project.

Deed or tax bill to verify property ownership and to provide a legal description of the property.

A copy of a plot plan or a normal property survey illustrating the following:

Lot Dimensions

Location of easements

Size and location of existing structures and proposed structures

Distance between structures and proposed structures

Distance between structures and distance to property lines

Drainage Patterns


Total value of construction, including materials and labour.

Two complete sets of construction plans which may include some or all of the following:

Foundation plan (new construction, an addition, installing a basement or repairing a foundation)

Cross section showing load bearing walls and beams (new construction, interior renovations)

Elevation plan (new construction, alterations to the exterior of your home)

Floor plan (new construction, an addition, renovations to existing structure)

What is the fee for a building permit?

Fees for building permits and other permits governed by the Ontario Building Code are adjusted annually under City of Greater Sudbury By-law. It is recommended that you contact Building Services for assistance in determining your permit fee before completing and submitting an application for processing. All fees must be paid in full before staff can process an application for permit. 

What is the approval process for a building permit?

Each building permit application undergoes a zoning review and an Ontario Building Code construction standards review. Building Services staff will inform you whether additional approvals are required before a building permit can be issued.

Committee of Adjustment/Land Division Application for projects that do not comply with the zoning by-law.

Nickel District Conservation Authority for properties located in a flood plain or adjacent to any watercourse within the City. Call (705) 674-5249.

Additional agencies may include: Engineering Services, Fire Services, Sudbury & District Health Unit, Ministry of Transportation, Greater Sudbury Utilities or Hydro One Network.

The property owner is responsible for obtaining required approvals from all agencies and authorities. A building permit cannot be issued until all requirements have been met.

How long does it take to process a building permit?

It takes approximately five (5) to ten (10) working days to process and issue a building permit, provided your proposal complies with the Building Code, the local zoning by-law and all other applicable laws.

If a zoning change or a minor variance is necessary or if building plans must be altered to comply with the Building Code, it will take longer to obtain your permit.

Incomplete applications or plans will not be accepted. Assembling and submitting the proper documentation will hasten your application through the approvals process. Contact Building Services for information at 705-674-4455, extension 4278. 

What is a BCIN and when is it required?

 A BCIN (Building Code Identification Number) is issued to designers by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

In general, designers other than professional engineers and architects that engage in the following 'design activities” are required to meet the qualification/registration requirements under the Building Code: 

Preparing a design as part of a building permit application;

Giving information or an opinion concerning whether a building or part of a building complies with the Building Code if the information or opinion is to be submitted to a chief building official in connection with a building permit application; and

Preparing a written report for submission to the chief building official based on a general review, where a general review is required by the Building Code.

Homeowner's who do their own design work are not required to obtain a BCIN.