Building Permit Process

The Town of Renfrew requires building permits for certain building activities. Residents can apply for building permits online through City Reporter. For assistance with your application, email or call 613-432-4848. A building permit regulates the type of construction allowed in the community and helps keep residents safe by ensuring building standards are met. The building permit process protects each homeowner's interests, as well as those of the community and helps to ensure that any structural change is safe, legal and sound. Before proceeding with construction or demolition, you must submit a building permit. The Chief Building Official reviews and issues permits for all development in Renfrew. Once a building permit has been issued, and payment has been received, the project/demolition may commence. 

All building and development proposals must comply with the Town's zoning regulations. Many zoning provisions affect your property, such as overall lot coverage, setbacks, building height and type of zoning. Even if your project does not require a building permit, the Town's Zoning By-law still applies. See Zoning By-Law here.

Quick Links for Building in Renfrew

Apply for a Building Permit Online

The Town of Renfrew offers an online permitting system through City Reporter. Permits are required for new construction, decks, shreds and any structure with a building area of over 15 square meters. 

Sign By-Law

The Town of Renfrew has a by-law that regulates the installation, location and types of signs permitted. A permit is required for new signs and alterations to existing signs.

Pool Permit

Useful information for residents in Renfrew looking to install a new pool. Find out why are permits and fencing are required and where to get a permit. 

Building Fee Schedule

The building fee schedule sets out the building services and activities offered in Renfrew and costs associated. 

Development Charges By-Law

Development charges are collected when you apply for a building permit and help pay for municipal services required for new development. 

Deck Permit

When applying for a permit to build a deck, please use the attached plans and fill in the blanks and circle the building materials and construction methods for your deck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to apply for a building permit?

Permits are required to ensure that a new use in an existing building does not impact its life and structural safety. You do not need a building permit for sheds that have a building area less than 15 m2 (161 sf) if there is no plumbing.

You must obtain a building permit for:

  • New construction
  • Additions (regardless of the building area)
  • Renovations
  • Demolition
  • Creating an in-house apartment or a secondary unit
  • Prefabricated buildings
  • Mobile homes
  • Installing or altering a building system (e.g., plumbing, heating, and air conditioning)
  • Farm buildings
  • Fireplaces and other wood-burning appliances
  • Decks and porches
  • Carports, garages (detached or attached), and other accessory buildings
  • Changing a building's use
  • Finishing a basement
  • Roof-mounted solar panels
  • Wind turbines
  • Tents (3.14 of the Ontario Building Code) 
  • Free standing signs (3.15 of the Ontario Building Code


How much does a building permit cost?

Please see the User Fees and Charges By-law for all fees. Fees are calculated using the size of the proposed structure and type of construction. 

The minimum fee for residential building permits is $75 unless otherwise stated. You will be advised of your fee when you are told your permit is ready to be issued.

Development fees are applicable when building permits are issued for new residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings. 

See the Development Charges By-law.

How long does it take to get a permit?

Typical residential permits are issued within 10 days. This timeframe is working days and starts the day after you submit a complete application. We consider an application as complete when the plans and documents set in our Building By-law have been included and are approved. Other types of applications may have different timeframes as provided in the Ontario Building Code.

What if I need to make a change to my permit?

If you'd like to make changes to the construction authorized under a permit, please contact the Department of Development, Engineering and Infrastructure by phone at 613-432-4848. 

Can I build a deck without a permit?

A building permit is required for a deck of any size and height if the deck is appurtenant to a building or another deck (meaning it serves the building directly) via a doorway of any kind then a permit is required for the deck even if it is less than 10m2.  However if you construct a stand-alone deck in your yard that is less than 10m2 a permit is not required. 

Why do I need a building permit?

The Ontario Building Code Act requires homeowners to obtain a building permit prior to construction to ensure construction meets the Building code standards and other municipal requirements including zoning. By applying for a building permit, you ensure that your project meets minimum structural, fire, and health and safety standards. A building permit is required for the following: construction of a new structure over 15m² (161 sq. ft.) in area; addition/renovation to any structure; installation or alteration of a plumbing system and installation/alteration of a heating/ventilation system. Swimming Pool/Enclosure (fencing) permits are required under the Swimming Pool Bylaw. In addition to a building permit, your project may also be required to comply with other approvals such as the Electrical Safety Authority, New Home Warranty Program, Heritage, Site Plan Control, Conservation Authority, Planning, Lot Grading and Drainage. 

Building permit application forms are available at the Municipal Office and online here. Your application must be submitted with two sets of plans and specifications. Incomplete applications or drawings will not be accepted. All plans must be drawn to scale and accurate for detail. 

When do I need a building inspection?

An inspection is required prior to any part of the construction being covered. 

All Permits Require Final Inspections Prior to the Expiry Date

Permission to occupy an unfinished building may be granted provided the Chief Building Official has determined that it is in conformance with Section Division 2 Part 1 of the Ontario Building Code. Please note that a signed building application authorizes the building inspectors of the Town of Renfrew to enter a subject property and any buildings thereon for the purposes of inspection (ref. Section 12.1 of the Ontario Building Code Act).

Town of Renfrew Inspection Schedule

Who's responsible for scheduling a building inspection?

The building permit holder, who can be the owner or contractor, is responsible for:

  • Calling to arrange inspections at the required inspection stages.
  • Ensuring construction meets the Ontario Building Code.
  • Make sure you set up your inspections on time to avoid delays.
  • Standard Inspection Schedule Guidelines

Please note: Contractors can also schedule building inspections on the permit holder’s behalf. To book an inspection, contact the Chief Building Official.

Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?

All pool structures that are designed to hold a minimum holding capacity of water and are 24” in depth are subject to the issuance of a pool permit. A building permit is NOT required to build a fence around the swimming pool. 

When fencing is required? 

  • In-ground pools require a fence. 
  • Above ground pools with soft walls require a fence. 
  • Above ground pools with hard walls 24” high, but less than 48” high require a fence. 
  • Required fencing to be a minimum of 48” high. 
  • Fence gates to be latched from the pool side of the fence. 

Please Note: If you are still not certain whether or not your project requires a building permit, please contact the Building Department.

What restrictions are there for building fences?

The Town of Renfrew has a by-law that restricts the height of fences on residential properties. Fences in side or rear yards and irregular lots cannot exceed 1.9m, except in cases where they are adjacent to non-residential properties, where a maximum height of 2.5m is allowed. Different minimum distances must be maintained between fences and main walls of neighboring dwellings based on fence height. Fences around tennis courts can be up to 3.7m. Chain link fences under 1.6m are permitted in front yards. Additionally, no fence exceeding 1.0m is allowed in a required front yard. Barbed wire is prohibited in conjunction with residential property fences. 

Read the Town of Renfrew fence by-law.

Do I need a permit to put up a sign?

The Town of Renfrew has a by-law to regulate the erection, location and type of signs permitted.

Read the Consolidated SIGN BY LAW

What happens if I don't get a building permit?

An individual who is charged and found guilty of an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992, such as building without a permit, can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences. For a corporation, a first offence could result in a maximum fine of $500,000 and $1,500,000 for subsequent infractions. Failure to comply with an order from the municipal building department is also an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992.