Customizing your home is exciting. And since your garage is often a key storage and project space, you may be thinking of upgrading it to make it more user friendly. Whether you need any paperwork before you start your renovations depends on what changes you intend to make.
Changes Requiring a Permit
According to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), permits are required when you are altering the structure of, or systems in, your home. Permits are a way to ensure that your renovations meet “basic requirements for health, safety, and structural soundness as set out by building codes for your area” as well as municipal considerations such as “zoning regulations and heritage building designations.”
Permits are meant to maintain building standards, and the regulations in place may be frustrating, but they’re often there to ensure your safety. You could end up spending more money fixing your unapproved renovations if you don’t bother getting a permit, or reversing changes you’ve made that don’t match the changes you presented for the purpose of securing a permit.
Here are a few renos in your garage upgrade that are likely to require permits:
- New additions
- Changes to walls (moving or removing them)
- New windows
- New door openings
- Electrical changes
- Plumbing alterations
The scale of your project will also determine the level of detail required for the plans you submit.
Here are some projects that the CHBA says may not require a permit (though you should always check with your municipal permit office to make sure):
- Installing flooring
- Installing cabinets
- Replacing windows (as long as you aren’t enlarging the opening)
- Replacing doors (see addendum above)
Getting the Permit
If you’re planning to remove a structure like a garage entirely before replacing it, check if you need a permit for this step specifically. Remember that if you do need a permit, you’re responsible for securing it, whether you are doing the renovations yourself or paying a professional renovator to make the changes for you. You may also receive a visit from an inspector checking to see if you are altering the structure of your home according to municipal requirements.
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