Building Permits

The purpose of a building permit is to ensure the minimum standards of the Ontario Building Code are met in order to protect the health and safety of building occupants by regulating design, construction, quality of materials, use and occupancy of buildings and structures.

  • Before starting any work you must obtain a building permit or ensure that one has been issued.
  • Please note that no structures of any kind are allowed on vacant land.
  • The zoning by-law must be followed even if you do not require a building permit.

Projects that require a building permit

 Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a building permit is required to construct, demolish
  • New residential dwellings
  • Sleeping Cabin/Bunkie (any size)
  • New Accessory Buildings greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet)
  • Additions to existing buildings or structures (any size)
  • Adding a bedroom
  • New or replacement decks or stairs
  • New or replacement piers under a building
  • Finishing the basement of a house
  • Creating an accessory apartment 
  • Plumbing fixtures added or relocated
  • Replacing or adding new water supply lines or drain pipes
  • Removing a load bearing wall, column, lintel or beam
  • Re-insulating walls, ceilings or floors in a residential building
  • Wood stove, wood burning fireplace, or a wood furnace (interior or exterior)
  • Replacement of windows or doors, when the opening size is enlarged
  • Retaining wall that is greater than 1 metre (3' 3") in height, pending location
  • Solar Panels that are mounted to a building and have a face area of 5 square meters (53.8 square feet) or greater
  • Construction of a temporary enclosed tent to be used for human occupancy
  • Crib docks or other permanent docking systems
  • Changing the use of a building (example: a shed to a bunkie, or a church to a home)
  • Septic systems new, altered or replaced
  • Demolition of a structure greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet) in building area

Projects that do not require a building permit

It isn't necessary to obtain building permits to perform the following work. However, you must still comply with the requirements of the Highlands East Zoning By-Law and, if applicable, the Ontario Building Code and the Crowe Valley Conservation Authority.
  • Accessory buildings not used for human habitation with a total floor area, including the deck, porch or loft, of 10 square metres or less in size
  • Fences
  • Replacement of interior fixtures in the same location
  • Replacement of exterior siding and roofing
  • Replacement of windows and doors, same size and location
  • Temporary portable shelters, constructed of metal tubing and fabric (if you have structural reinforcement a building permit is required)
  • Floating docks

If the above lists do not include specifics related to your project, or if you are not sure whether a permit is require please contact the Building Department.

What to include with your building permit application

Site Plan

  • Site Plan showing location of all buildings and septic systems on the lot. Also show the distances to the property lines, Front Yard Setback, Side Yard (both sides) and Rear Yard.
  • Location to other buildings on the lot.
  • Location to Hydro Lines or any other hazards on the lot.
  • Entrance to the lot.
  • When there is a difference in Municipal records, proof of ownership of the property is required.

Building Plans

  • Two complete sets of legible scaled drawings, preferably prepared by a qualified designer.
  • Foundation Plan: example showing footing sizes, pier footings, locations, laminated beam sizes and floor joist size and spacing etc.
  • Floor Plan: example showing room sizes, locations, exterior, interior wall thickness, door sizes, window sizes, chimneys and ventilation system etc.
  • Cross Section: example showing foundation depth, foundation type (block or solid concrete etc.), foundation damproofing, foundation drainage, foundation slab, footing sizes, sill gasket, anchor bolts (spacing), joist size, subfloor size stud sizes and spacing, insulation, vapour barrier, interior, exterior finishes, roof type, sheeting, shingles and venting etc.

Other Requirements

  • Copy of Truss Drawings from manufacturer.
  • Engineered specifications for all engineered components.
  • Letter of Agent – if applicable
  • Municipality of Highlands East copy of the Site Inspection Report for a Sewage System, when required.
  • Entrance Permit from the Municipality of Highlands East Roads Department, County of Haliburton or the Ministry of Transportation when required.
  • Any Permit required by any other authority.
  • Payment of Fees

Please note that any application which is not signed by the owner, and is signed by another authorized person, it shall be accompanied by a letter of authorization signed by the owner.

Any difference found in the Front, Side, or Rear setbacks by the Chief Building Official may result in an Application for a Building Permit being refused or revoked, until the Plot Plan is corrected.



Demolition Permits

The Building Code requires demolition permits for all buildings greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet), with the exception of buildings located on a farm. The purpose of the permit is to provide the public with an adequate level of safety and to ensure the building services are disconnected in an appropriate manner.


Septic System Permits

Visit our dedicated Septic System Permits page for detailed information including Applications, Winter Inspections and Fees.

Learn more

Visit Planning and Development and Zoning By-Law and Official Plan for more details.



For more details on how to apply and what is required please see Building Permits.

Permit Fees
Non-refundable administration fee $75
Minimum building permit fee $100

Permit fees are calculated by the floor area of the proposed construction multiplied by the values as set out under Building Classifications below.

Floor area shall be the total area of all floor above grade measured to the outside face of the exterior walls.

Building Classifications
Building TypesFee

Buildings used for human habitation including dwellings, guest cabins, multi residential, second suites or additions to those buildings.

$0.70 per square foot
Renovations to existing dwellings. $0.30 per square foot
New foundation under an existing building or the interior finishing of a basement. $0.40 per square foot
Accessory buildings and/or additions to those buildings. $0.50 per square foot
Commercial, industrial and institutional buildings or additions to those buildings. $0.70 per square foot

Agricultural buildings and/or additions to those buildings.

$0.30 per square foot
Flat Rate Fees
Plumbing $100
Wood burning appliance (wood stove) $100
Decks, docks, verandahs, covered porches

$0.50 per square foot

Minimum $100

An administration fee may apply if the above are issued as standalone permits.

Other Permits
Demolition permit $100
Temporary tents over 60 square metres $100
Sea containers $100
Conditional permit $100 plus applicable building permit fees
Partial building permit $100 plus applicable building permit fees
Change of use $100 plus applicable building permit fees
Transfer of permit $100
Septic Permit Fees
Application for a class 4 septic system. $875

Application for a class 2, 3 or 5 septic system or to replace the tank or bed only of a class 4 system.

Septic review or revision to permit. $100
Addition or renovation to an existing septic system. $250
Re-inspection of septic systems. $100
Additional Fees
Permit renewal $100
Revisions on plans $100
Additional inspections $100
Re-inspections over five years $100 per inspection
Re-inspection fee (not ready) $100
Fine for construction without a permit (in addition to the building permit fee) Double the permit fee
Fee to remove Order to Comply and/or Stop Work Order $200
Miscellaneous Fees
File search for copies of septic systems $50
Zoning compliance letter $100
Zoning and septic compliance letter $150
Severance or Lot Addition Application Fees
Less than 10 acres $300
Greater than 10 acres $150
Subdivision Fees
1 to 10 lots $300
Each lot over 10 $150
Refunds of Permit Fees
TypeRefund Amount
No inspections made Fees less $75
Administrative functions only have been performed 80%
Administrative and plan examinations have been performed 45%
Permit issued but no field inspections have been made 35%
Permit issued and field inspections have been made No refund
Permit revoked in accordance with the Act, Building Code or By-law No refund

No refunds less than $75 will be made.