You asked, we Answered!

When do I need a Building Permit?

In short, you need a permit for any structure in excess of 107 square feet in most municipalities in Ontario.
A building permit is required to ensure that your project, whether a small deck or a large house is built to the minimum standards set out in the Ontario Building Code (OBC). 

The OBC is a provincial regulation created and administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing which also includes the Building Code Act.  The Building Code Act allows municipalities to ensure such things as structural and fire safety and energy conservation are maintained at a level equal to what is required in the OBC. 

A building is a structure occupying an area greater than 10 square metres (107 square feet) consisting of a wall, roof or floor or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures and service systems.

You need a building permit when you:

  • Remove or build wall in your house
  • When you underpin your basement
  • Alter the location of a door, a window
  • Establish a new window
  • Finish your basement
  • Excavate for steps to your basement, among many other things.
  • It is also important to note that changing the location of plumbing fixtures requires a Plumbing Permit which is a very simple application that does not require drawings in many cases for a residential application.
What are the things I DO NOT need a building permit for?

You do NOT need a building permit for:

  • Painting your walls
  • Change your flooring finishes, such as carpet, hardwood, tiles, vinyl floors,etc.
  • Replacing door and windows (as long as location and size of openings remains the same)
  • Waterproofing your basement, and installing a sump pit / pump (As long as the excavation does not interfere with the soil, grade, and angle of repose in relation to your neighbors.
  • Renovating your kitchen (as long as you do not change the location or add new plumbing fixtures [that requires a plumbing permit]. And do not remove or build new walls)
  • In some municipalities, a gazebo that is less than 100 sqft in area as long as it complies with your zoning bylaw provisions.
  • Replacing your lighting fixtures
  • Replacing your appliances
  • Installing new smoke detectors
  • Replacing your roof shingles
  • Upgrading your insulation
  • Removing asbestos and other hazardous materials (as long as it is done by a professional and does not require alterations to walls and structures)

If you are still not sure, send us an email to

What can I get designed?

We are a one stop shop for your engineering and design services offering:

  • Custom House Design 
  • House Addition Design
  • Interior Alterations Design
  • Load Bearing Wall Removal Design
  • Basement Apartment Design
  • Below Grade Steps Design
  • Attached or Detached Garage Design
  • Prepare Notice to Comply and stop order drawings and designs. 

How long does it take?

We know how important your project is. That's why we do our best to deliver it as soon as possible. 

All timelines will be discussed with you upfront. 

How are design fees are calculated?

Designing your project with a professional is a major milestone for your project, and selecting the right design firm is essential for the success of your project, and for maximizing value of your property. For residential projects, there is a wide spectrum of methods to determine the design fee, and there is a wide range of pricing from different designer, architects, and engineering firms.


Some companies base their fees on the area of the building, and this fee typically ranges between 2-5$ / sqft for a custom house design.

ie, The design of a 3,000 sqft house will cost $6,000 based on a rate of $2/ sqft.

However, this method has several disadvantages, some of which are not knowing the final size of the building until the design is complete, and ambiguity of how the area of the house is measured, and what it includes, and excludes.


Other firms calculate their fees as a percentage of the estimated construction cost, and this percentage can range between 2-5% of the estimated construction cost, however, there are many disadvantages for this method as well, as the estimation of construction cost can be very fluid, and it may result in disagreement between the client and the designer.


Another method is based on hourly rate, however, most project owners avoid this method as auditing the number of hours is quite difficult, and the probability of getting into disputes between project owners and designers is quite high.

In addition, the three above mentioned methods do may not clearly identify the deliverables, for example, do the services include exterior 3 dimensional renderings for the building? do they include walk-through videos and illustrations?


The most recommended method is the lump sum method, whereby the designer will commit to a fixed number even if the size of the building changes within reason, and regardless of what the construction cost will be. this method offers peace of mind for the project owner (Client), and will lessen  the possibility of dispute between the parties.

KBK Architects Inc. has created a simple method that offers pricing based on ranges of house areas, and based on deliverables.

This method allows builder to obtain a full set of construction drawings and building permit sets starting at $ 5,200 + HST for a custom house design for a house 1,600 sqft in area and under. There are other design costs that may be required such as surveying ($1,600 - 5,800 depending on range of services), soil test reports, septic system design fees, mechanical design, special reports that may be required for particular situations and projects. 

How much are the Municipal Fees?

The fees for obtaining a building permit varies between municipalities, and is based on the area of work in some municipalities, and on the estimated construction cost in other municipalities. To identify Building Permit Fees in your municipality, contact your building department, or find their published Fee By-law typically posted on their official website.

- In Toronto, Building Permit fees for building a new house are $17.16 per square meter [1.59 $/sqft] calculated on the Gross Floor Area which does not include the built in garage area or an unfinished  basement area

- In the City of Mississauga, the fees for obtaining a building permit for a custom house are based on $16.45 per square meter of Gross Floor Area (1.53 $/sqft).

Other municipal fees

In addition to the cost of the building permit, other fees may apply such as development charges, levies, and fees paid for Minor Variances and Planning applications.

Those fees will depend on whether those applications are required for the type of project, and can vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Call your municipal offices, or call us on 1-800-203-7010 to learn more. 

What is the cost of construction?

Assuming your lot is leveled properly for construction, and is connected to all municipal services, the cost of construction will range between $220 - 320 per square foot of the gross floor area depending on the level and quality of finishes.

A standard builder quality finish will cost around $250/sqft. However, the builder must account for other possible costs, such as demolition cost if applicable, landscaping, fences, driveway, curbs, tree removal, and many other possible costs that will depend on the site conditions and factors.


Want to learn more?  Call 1-800-203-7010, or send an email to 

Can I benefit from your tendering service?

Our Clients can benefit from KBK Tenders®, and our Construction Administration services, whereby we tender your project with our approved contractors to allow you to receive multiple competitive offers to build your project. In addition, our technicians will administer the construction phase through recurring inspections during construction to ensure the work is done as per the construction documents and the building code provisions, and constant support for the General Contractors, Sub-contractors, and trades to answer questions and provide technical support. 

I received a Notice to Comply. How can you help me?

If you have started your construction project without hiring a professional, or have receive a notice to comply from your municipality to stop work, or to comply with the provisions of the Building Code, it is a good time to give us a call so we can assist you obtain the necessary permits and ensure your project is built to the proper standards.

We have assisted customers get out of messy situations, and brought them peace of mind in hundreds of messy situations.

A Stop Work Order, or a Notice to Comply from your Municipality or your by-law enforcement officer may result in major consequences and hefty fines, but by hiring us, you can turn around the situation, and ensure proper construction of your project.

Our team will take care of the preparation of all technical drawings, application forms, submission of building permit applications, and follow up with municipal staff until the building permits are issued.

KBK Architects Inc. offers very competitive rates, and has an excellent record in assisting clients all over Ontario in receiving Building Permits for all types of construction projects. 

So you want to Team up? 

If you'd like to get an immediate estimate, or would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your project please contact our office at:
​Toll Free: 1(800)203-7010

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If you'd like to share with us your advertising opportunities or would like to schedule a meeting to talk with our marketing team please call/email:
​Toll Free: 1(800)203-7010 

Thinking about joining our team?

KBK Studios invites talented and professional Architectural Designers and Interior Decorators who are willing to work in a fast-paced and family oriented firm where they can suffice their expertise and skills to apply online. If you think you are the we are looking for, please email your resume today so you can be a member of our growing firm.
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