Not all kitchen renovations projects require a building permit in Toronto. You may only need a building permit for your new kitchen if the planned works involve material alterations to your property’s structure.
The City of Toronto’s building permit’ regulations do not specifically talk about kitchen renovations. They refer to new buildings and or additions to new buildings such as garages, carports, sunrooms, decks, porches, as well as second or third stories.
If you are only replacing cabinets and appliances in your kitchen, you will not need to obtain a permit. But if you are installing a new window or door, or any of the renovations mentioned below, apply for a permit before you start any work.
Here are some of the kitchen renovation works that require a building permit in Toronto:
Your new kitchen project will likely not include all of the works we highlighted above. But there is a chance it will include one or two. For example, you may need to:
If you are moving the kitchen to a new room, it is more than likely you will need to do most of the works we have mentioned above to successfully reconfigure the new space.
To avoid penalties from the city and to ensure your safety, you must be sure about the level of renovation you are undertaking. You will need a building permit for any work that may compromise the structural integrity of your house.
As an example, while replacing a window may not require a building permit, if it involves removing the existing window’s lintel, you will need a permit as lintels are a part of any building’s structural support.
As we have said, you may be moving your kitchen to a different room or the new kitchen may be a new extension. In such a case, you will have to modify or install new plumbing and electrical systems.
To ensure your new plumbing system or electrical wiring meet safety regulations, you will need to apply for a permit. To be sure if you need a permit or how you should go about obtaining one, ask the plumber or electrician you have hired for the job to guide you.
The time it takes to get approved and get a permit for your kitchen renovation depends on the size and complexity of the project. But, generally, you have to wait between 15 and 30 days to get the building permit for your new kitchen.
Expect to wait up to 30 days if your new kitchen project involves major structural alterations on the existing building. But however long it may take to get a building permit for your new kitchen, resist the temptation to proceed without one:
While you can get a permit after work on your new kitchen has already started, this is unwise. If you are not sure whether your renovation project requires a permit or not, consult the relevant city department for clarity.
Renovating without a permit attracts a ‘work without a permit’ fine, which is an extra fee on top of the standard building permit fee. Check the building permits fee schedule here.
The fine may not be the end of your troubles. If work is still ongoing, you will be asked to halt it until after you have obtained a permit. More seriously, you will be asked to take down your renovations if it is deemed they don’t meet building regulations. Let’s not forget the legal obligations to your contractor.
For a general outline of the building permit application process, the City of Toronto has prepared this homeowners’ guide. Review it to proceed with confidence.