building permits

A building permit is your formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property.

The Norfolk County Building Department follows the Ontario Building Code Act and Ontario Building Code to issue permits and orders.

• Application Requirements How to Apply • FeesForms

The following list includes examples of projects that require a building permit. Please keep in mind, however, this is not a complete list.  
If you are unsure whether your project requires a permit, please call the Building Department to discuss 519-426-5870 Ext. 6016.  

  • Building a detached garage, or accessory structure that is 10 square metres or 108 square feet or greater measured to the outside face of exterior walls.
  • Building a shed for residential use, one storey in height, used for storage, under 15 square meters or 162 square feet measured to the outside face of exterior walls, and that does not contain plumbing fixtures.

  • Building an attached carport or other roof structure of any size
  • Building a porch or deck less than 10 square meters, and used as an exit from a building.
  • Finishing the basement of a house
  • Adding a bedroom to the basement
  • Constructing an addition to a building
  • Building an enclosure for a swimming pool with a depth of 16 inches or greater
  • Creating a duplex (in-law suite, accessory apartment, granny flat)
  • Removing a load-bearing wall, column, lintel or beam
  • Re-insulating walls, ceilings or floors
  • Adding a wood stove or wood-burning fireplace
  • Installing a new window or door that increases the width of the existing opening
  • Mounting solar panels on roofs
  • Installing or altering a septic system
  • Installing site servicing (water or sewer lines) for all building types
  • Building new residential dwellings
  • Demolishing a structure greater than 10 square metres or 108 square feet in the building area
  • Installing a tent or group of tents that are more than 60 square metres (646 square feet) in aggregate ground area, attached to a building or constructed within three metres (nine feet and 10 inches) of any structure
  • Constructing or altering an industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-residential building
  • Farm Buildings
  • Sheds for residential use, one storey in height, used for storage, and over 15 square meters or 162 square feet measured to the outside face of exterior walls.

 The following list includes examples of projects that do not require a building permit: 

  • Building a detached structure that's less than 108 square feet in size, measured from the outside face of walls (that does not contain plumbing)
  • Installing a gas fireplace
  • Building a fence - however, the fence must comply with the Fences By-law
  • Installing a water softener
  • Painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work
  • Replacing a door or window within an existing opening, where no structural members are changed and no fire-resistance rating is in place
  • Installing new shingles on an existing roof
  • Removing a non-load-bearing wall in a single, semi-detached or townhouse dwelling
  • Replacing a plumbing fixture (toilet, bathtub or sink) with a new fixture in the same location
  • Demolishing any farm buildings
  • Building a detached structure that's less than 108 square feet in size, measured from the outside face of walls, and that does not contain plumbing fixtures

Application Requirements

Depending on the type of building permit required, there are several documents that must be included in the application. The Building Permit Packages below include all the documents needed for that type of permit. 

Review the How-To Guide for the Building Permit application and Schedules.

In many instances before a building permit application can be processed and a permit issued, there are other approvals from other agencies that are required. These approvals are not administered by the Building Department. Please ensure all required approvals are complete using the Applicable Law Checklist

Accessory Residential Buildings - Permit Package

A permit is required for an accessory building or structure detached, exceeding 10 sq m. (108 sq ft.) in size or contains plumbing fixtures.

A shed is exempt from obtaining a building permit provided that the shed, (a) is not more than 15 m2 in gross area, (b) is not more than one storey in building height, (c) is not attached to a building or any other structure, (d) is used only for storage purposes ancillary to a principal building on the lot, and (e) does not have plumbing.

read the guide

Accessory Dwelling Residential Unit Guide

read the guide

Zoning Compliance Information for ARDUs

See Zoning By-Law 1-Z-2014, provision 3.2.3 for full details. ARDUs are allowed in single-detached, semi-detached, street townhouses and accessory buildings or structures. They must be located on the same lot as the primary dwelling and must comply with the following:

  • Can not have a way of internal access to the primary dwelling unit, except that access to a primary and second dwelling through a common vestibule entry is permitted;
  • One(1) parking space shall be provided for the ARDU on the lot, in addition to the minimum required parking spaces for the primary dwelling unit, and in accordance with the Off-Street Parking bylaw;
  • The maximum number of residential dwelling units permitted per lot shall be two(2) including the ARDU (for example; one ADU + primary dwelling unit)
  • Is not permitted in a farm building, vacation home or
  • Any other dwelling intended for vacations, recreation, seasonal or short-term accommodation purposes. Where an ARDU is located on a lot, a garden suite, boarding or lodging house, or rooming house are not permitted. If a garden suite, boarding or lodging house or rooming house exists on the lot, an ARDU is not permitted
  • Are not permitted in buildings with a legal nonconforming use unless relief from the Zoning By-law has been approved through a Zoning By-Law Amendment or Minor Variance in order to establish such ARDU;
  • Are only permitted in dwelling units connected to the municipal or private water services and sanitary sewer system or private septic systems;
  • A minimum of 50% of the front yard shall be maintained as landscaped open space.
  • Shall not be larger than 45% of the total useable floor area of the primary dwelling unit excluding any deck or unenclosed porch. It must also comply with section 3.2.1(g) for accessory structures permitted in the applicable zone.
  • The Chief Building Official and his designate is responsible for the registration of each new accessory dwelling unit.
  • Once a unit has been approved and a building permit issued, the permitted use shall apply to the property and not to the property owner.
  • The approval and registration of an accessory dwelling unit may be revoked at any time by the General Manager of Planning and Development, the Chief Building Official, a By-law Enforcement Officer, the Fire Chief or any of his/her designates should it become obvious or apparent that the accessory unit is no longer in compliance with applicable legislation, by-law, building code or fire code, or any other applicable law under their authorities.

Sample ARDU Drawings

Complete Application

For questions regarding requirements for a municipal civic address, please contact our Geographic Information Systems Division by phone at 519-426-5870 or email [email protected]

The following information is required to ensure that your registration and building permit application are given full consideration. An incomplete or improperly prepared application may not be accepted or may result in delays during the processing of the application.

A complete application for this type of development includes:

  • Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning & Building checklist: A complete ADU Building Permit Checklist consists of completing a checklist of items required for the ADU building permit.
  • A Building Permit Application Form & Fees — A complete Building Permit Application Form is a ministry-prescribed form that is required in order to apply for a building permit. Fees will be calculated according to the value of construction.
  • A Septic Application Form & Fees— A complete Septic Application Form is a ministry-prescribed form that is required in order to apply for a building permit. Fees will be calculated according to the type of septic you require.

tiny home blueprint

An additional residential unit sometimes referred to as a secondary unit, is a self-contained unit that is either located within or attached to the primary dwelling unit or located within a detached accessory structure, subject to zoning requirements and restrictions.

There are several important factors you need to consider before adding an additional residential unit, including:

  • zoning bylaw requirements
  • designing your unit to comply with the Ontario Building Code
  • necessary building permits

Do you have questions about adding an Additional Residential Unit (or ARU) to your property?  More information can be found at Norfolk County – Accessory Dwelling Units

The province of Ontario has put together some basic information for property owners who are considering an ARU project; 'Adding a Second Unit in an Existing House' Guide and 'Build or Buy a Tiny Home' guide, by visiting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website, or by searching for more information on the 'More Homes, More Choice Act' Housing Supply Action Plan.

Additional Residential Unit Permit Package - Detached Accessory Structure

Agricultural BuildingsA farm building is a term defined in Division A, Part 1 of the Ontario Building Code as all or part of a building, that does not contain any area used for residential occupancy, that is associated with and located on land devoted to the practice of farming and that is used essentially for the housing of equipment or livestock, or the production, storage, or processing of agricultural and horticultural produce or feeds.

read the guide

Camp for Housing of Workers
A permit is required to construct a new camp for the housing of workers/bunkhouse, or conversion of a dwelling into a bunkhouse.

read the guide

Bunkhouse Declaration Form

man hanging house numbers

Norfolk County’s Building Department accepts applications for civic addresses for the GIS Department Civic Addressing and Street Names

Deck & Porches

A permit is required when a deck or porch is over 10 square meters in the building area or is used as an exit from a building.

read the guide


A demolition permit is required to demolish, or partially demolish, a structure greater than 10 square metres (108 square feet), except for farm buildings.

read the guide

Demolition Checklist

Factory Built Homes

A permit is required for the construction of a factory-built home, manufactured home, house trailer, garden suite and park model homes.

read the guide

Fence Permits

Thinking of constructing a fence on your property? Before you start, here is a guide to help you through the project.

read the guide

Industrial Permits

Learn about our different building permits and what you need to include in your application.

read the guide


A building permit is required for the construction of an addition, or alteration of a residential building. Additions may include sunrooms, attached garages and one or two-storey additions. Interior renovations that require a building permit include finishing an unfinished space in a home, such as a basement, adding or removing walls, structural changes and addition or change of plumbing.

read the guide

Residental Permit Package

A building permit is required for the construction of a single-family home, semi-detached home, and townhouses.

read the guide

Septic SystemSewage system permits are required to ensure proper functioning septic systems are installed and meet the minimum requirements of the Ontario Building Code (OBC).

read the guide

Signs The Ontario Building Code (OBC) requires that a building permit be issued for signs that are attached to a building or are designated structures. Please refer to Norfolk County Sign By-law for more information.

read the guide

Solar PanelBuilding permits are required for any solar panel installations that have an aggregate face area of 5 square metres (54 square feet) or greater that is mounted to a building or structure or designed to provide hot water, or designed to provide primary or supplementary heating. Permits are not required for ground-mounted solar panel systems that are not connected to water or heating sources. Solar Panel Permit Package

Demountable Stages and StructuresBuilding permits are required for demountable stages and demountable structures.

read the guide

Swimming Pool Permits

If you propose installing a privately-owned swimming pool on your property, a proper pool enclosure must be installed that meets the requirements of the Norfolk County Swimming Pool Fence By-law. You must obtain a swimming pool enclosure permit from the Norfolk County Building Department to ensure that your pool enclosure meets the requirements set out in the fence bylaw. 

read the guide

Tents and Temporary StructuresA temporary structure permit is required for a tent or group of tents if the area is greater than 60 square metres (646 square feet).

read the guide

Fire Safety Plan

Sewer man holeWater and sanitary sewer connection permits are required when water or sanitary sewer service is constructed, repaired, or altered on private property. Norfolk County’s Building Department accepts applications for connection permits for Public Works Division.

Questions regarding Connection Permits can be forwarded to [email protected]

Water/ Sanitary Sewer/Storm Sewer Service Installation Guidelines – Residential Water Service Exemption Request Form

wood stove A building permit is required for the installation of a new or used wood stove, new chimney, a factory-built fireplace or hearth-mounted stove inside or attached to a building and must comply with the Ontario Building Code for clearances from combustible materials. A building permit is not required for outdoor furnaces if the building in which they are enclosed is under 10 square metres (108 square feet).

read the guide<

These drawings illustrate some of the minimum Ontario Building Code Requirements which apply to typical residential construction in the Greater Toronto Area and are provided for information purposes only. They do not necessarily represent every detail of building construction, or all minimum standards that apply. For more detailed information about construction, regulations refer to the Ontario Building Code or a qualified designer.



How to Apply

  • Email: Electronically submit your permit documents [email protected].
  • In-Person: Visit our service counter located at 185 Robinson Street, Suite 200 Simcoe Ontario. Please call or email ahead and make an appointment.
  • Online Portal: Visit Norfolk Permits Portal and make your application online.


Our Permit Coordinators will review your application and provide in writing any item which may be missing from the application and a cost breakdown for the permit fees and payment options.


Please note that applications are not considered accepted until the permit fee is paid. Fees are established in Norfolk County’s User Fee By-law. If there is a discrepancy between this website and the by-law, the by-law governs.

Building Permit

  • $75.00 for the first $3000 of construction value.
    • (plus) $13 per $1000 of construction thereafter.

Plumbing Permit

  • Residential is $7 per fixture plus a $50 initial fee.
  • Commercial is $13 per fixture plus a $65 initial fee.

Demolition Permit

  • $75 if under 600 square metres.
  • $150 if 600 square metres or higher.

Agricultural building(s) are exempt.

Change of Use

  • $75
    • must be a permitted use listed in the current by-law.

Septic Permit

  • $500 new installation
  • $500 for replacement
  • $350 repair or partial replacement
  • $160 structural addition

Solar Panels

  • Flat fee for solar panel permits $500

Refer to the development charges page for more information. Development charges are due at the time of the building permit application.

The Building Department collects fees on behalf of other departments. Lot grading exemption fees, water, sanitary, & storm connection fee, and civic address are collected at the time of the building permit application. Refer to the User Fee By-law for current fees.



A list of all Norfolk County Forms can be found at Forms, Permits and Licensing Application Page

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