Building and Renovating

Ready for an inspection?  To request a building permit inspection click here. If you require a septic or plumbing inspection, contact the County of Lambton at 519-845-0801. 

Note: submitting a building permit includes two components:
1) Complete the on-line Building Permit Form (step 4)
2) Submit the signed Building Permit Application (step 5) by attaching it and any other required documents through the portal

For more information about building permits, fees and other resources, please use the drop-down tabs below.

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2024 - All building permit submissions require a deposit to be paid prior to review of the permit application.  Payments for the deposit, can be made by cash, cheque, or debit at the municipal office.  We also accept credit card payments, through Paymentus.  You can also make a credit card payment by phone by contacting Paymentus at 1-844-491-6796. Please note that Paymentus charges a 2.50% service fee for this service. The deposit will be fully refundable when all inspections are completed to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official and a final inspection has been granted on the permit that was issued.  For further information, please contact Jeanette Worrall at 519-243-1400 Ext. 8510.

Step 1: Before you get started

 What is a building permit?

A building permit is a formal approval to construct, add to, move or remove a building or structure on your property.

The Ontario Building Code Act requires that a building permit be obtained for the construction of a new structure, or an addition or alteration of any structure which results in a building area of more than 15 m2 (162 square feet).

Please note that it is illegal to construct or demolish a structure without first obtaining a building permit. Anyone found guilty of building without a permit or has not followed an order issued by a Building Official can be charged under the Ontario Building Code Act.

Building Inspections protect the interests of both the individual and the community as a whole. The Building Department ensures that all construction in the municipality meets the Building Code's minimum standards for fire and structural safety standards. The review by a qualified individual also ensures the plans comply with the regulations of the local municipal zoning by-laws as well as all other applicable laws and regulations.

Please note: If the contractor or designer obtains the building permit on your behalf, it is still the building/property owner who is ultimately responsible for complying with all building requirements.

As of July 1, 2005, building permit applications submitted to municipalities must use the provincially mandated building permit application form. In addition to the "Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish", there are Schedules for "Designer Information", "Sewage System Installer information", and "Plumbing Information". Assistance with these forms can be obtained from the Building Inspector. As an application can not be considered until it is "complete" there is a check list provided o assist the applicant when completing the documentation.

 Do I need a permit for my project?

Examples of works that require a building permit:

  • Construct a new building
  • Solar panels installed on buildings
  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Install, change or remove most walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of windows and doors
  • Add a skylight
  • Build a garage
  • Build a balcony or deck (over 2 feet off the ground)
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning ductwork
  • Reconstruct a chimney, add a wood burning fireplace
  • Duct work
  • Temporary Event Tents

Examples of works that do not require a building permit:

  • Replace existing, same-size doors and windows
  • Install siding on small residential buildings
  • Build a roofless deck less than two feet off the ground
  • Build a utility shed less than 15 square metres (162 square feet)
  • Re-shingle a roof, providing there is no structural work
  • Install eavestrough, providing that drainage is on your own property
  • Replace or increase insulation, dry-wall or plaster
  • Damp-proof basements
  • Paint or decorate
  • Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Erect a fence (fence will need to comply with Municipal regulations)
  • Replace existing forced air furnace (that does not include any ductwork)
  • Minor electrical work
 How long does it take to get a building permit?

When an application is submitted, the Chief Building Official has 10 business days to review most submissions. If all the required information is provided, (including the septic and/or plumbing permit(s), if applicable) the building permit will be issued within the time period as noted below. If during the review, the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant will be notified as soon as possible of the documentation needed. Once the required documentation is received, the Chief Building Official will issue the permit within the time period as noted below.

Providing all required information is submitted with the application, a permit will be issued within the following time period:

  • Septic/Plumbing permits: 10 business days
  • Houses, Townhouses, etc.*: 10 business days
  • Accessory structures serving the above: 10 business days
  • Small Commercial Buildings: 15 business days
  • Agricultural Buildings - under 600 m2: 15 business days
  • Tents under Section 3-13 of the Ontario Building Code: 10 business days
  • Signs under 3-14 of the Ontario Building Code: 10 business days

* Please note:  Time period starts AFTER the septic/plumbing permit(s) has been issued and/or conservation authority approvals received.


  • Large Buildings under Part 3: 20 business days
  • Agricultural Buildings over 600 m2: 20 business days

Call before you dig - locates

Planning on digging on your property? Visit Ontario One Call to request a locate or call 1-800-400-2255 at least 5 business days before you plan on digging.

Does your project impact an endangered species and/or their habitat?

In situations where there is a high likelihood that development may impact species at risk (SAR) or their habitat as protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Municipality requires that building permit applications be accompanied by evidence that the applicant has done due diligence in determining if the ESA applies to the situation and if there is a need to seek approvals from the province. In particular, this applies most commonly to development on properties in communities near Lake Huron that still contain natural vegetation and tree cover.

The protection and recovery of species at risk in Ontario and their habitat is a key part of conserving Ontario's biodiversity. The Endangered Species Act is a key tool and the Species at Risk Branch leads the review of applications for ESA permits and agreements to ensure the protection of vulnerable species throughout the province when activities are carried out that might impact these species and their habitat.

Proponents seeking to obtain permits and agreements can contact the ministry through The Ministry website contains information about permits and agreements, the application process and policies, guidance, and best management practices.

The process begins with a preliminary assessment by the proponent to determine the presence/absence of species at risk and therefore the potential for impacting SAR or their habitat. If the proponent decides to seek a permit or agreement, they proceed through a six-stage application process with the Species at Risk Branch. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the decision about whether a permit or agreement is required is determined by the proponent, often with procedural and other guidance from the ministry's Species at Risk Branch.

Contact for more information.

Step 2: Planning your project

 Important things to do before applying for a building permit

It is very important to first inquire at the Municipal Office as to whether or not the construction you are proposing complies with the Municipal Zoning By-law. If it does not, you must then decide if you wish to proceed with the variance or amendment process - estimated time for an application to be processed, including required notice and appeal periods - 8-10 weeks.

Contact the Planning Department at for details of this process. Building permits will not be issued until compliance has been met with the Municipal Zoning By-law and/or the Municipal Official Plan.  It is also important to know that other requirements that could include a septic or plumbing permit, approval of the Ministry of Transportation, or if your property is within a regulated area within one of the Conservation Authorities (Ausable Bayfield or St. Clair Region), may also be required prior to issuing a building permit.

These permits must be obtained and submitted with the building permit application.

 Other information that may be required

HVAC (Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning) CALCULATION: When building a new house, or if the planned renovations involve updating the heating or air conditioning systems, the homeowner is required to submit an HVAC
calculation completed by a qualified HVAC technician.

PLANS: The Chief Building Official requires stamped building plans (floor plans, elevations and cross sections, roof trusses, and heating as appropriate) for both large projects and smaller projects such as a garage or similar accessory buildings.

SITE PLAN:  The Chief Building Official requires a site plan of the proposed construction on your property outlining setbacks to property lines, and other structures including septic tanks and septic bed (if applicable).  This is to ensure that the proposed construction is compliant with the municipality's zoning by-law. BE SURE TO INDICATE ANY UTILITIES SERVICING YOUR PROPERTY ON YOUR SITE PLAN.  Setback regulations regarding Hydro One, click on the link provided Working Safely On Your Home ( Applicants submitting a building permit are responsible for indicating any and all utilities on the site plan when submitting a building permit as identified in safety regulations such as the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the Ontario Building Code, and Hydro One Distribution Standards. 

SEPTIC TANK INSPECTIONS: For those properties serviced with private septic system, a septic review will be required if the proposed addition exceeds 15% of the existing area. In addition, a septic review will also be required if a planning approval is necessary prior to proceeding (ie. minor variance, consent, zoning by-law amendment). Inspection fee: $ 75.00 (payable to the County of Lambton).  Click here for more information.

 Fees and development charges

Please refer to the schedule of fees (Schedule B - Building and By-Law) for a full list of fees.

Additional fees may be required and are listed below.

  • Building Inspection Security Deposit (By-law 35 of 2022) - This fee is required to be paid at the time the building permit is issued. Deposit amounts vary depending on size and scale of the construction project. This bond will be refunded to the property owner once a final inspection has been completed by the Building Inspector.
  • Development Charges (By-law 43 of 2008, as amended) - Development charges are designed to have growth pay for new or improved infrastructure required to service the growth. Fees have been established for urban services - water and wastewater services, plus municipal wide services. A complete copy of the Development Charges By-law and report can be obtained at the Municipal Office. The Municipal Office can also advise you of the amount applicable to your application.
  • Plumbing permit fees - determined by the number of fixtures being installed as indicated on the drawings submitted.

  • 911 Sign & Post (if required)
  • ¾" Water Meter *Price for larger sized meters can be obtained from the Community Services Department - 519-243-1400 or 1-866-943-1400

  • Meter Pit - Price for meter pits can be obtained from the Community Services Department - 519-243-1400 or     1-866-943-1400

For development charges, please refer to our Development Charges page.

 Locating underground utilities
Homeowners needing to locate underground utilities can call Ontario One Call 1-800-400-2255 or Please note Ontario One Call will locate underground infrastructure such as hydro, water, sewer, natural gas, telephone, and internet/cable at no charge within 5 business days. Please note, locates are good for 30 days only.
 Scheduling mandatory inspections

During construction, several mandatory inspections are required to ensure that all work is done in compliance with the approved plans and the Ontario Building Code. Inspections do not happen automatically - it is your responsibility to ensure that either you or your contractor contacts the Municipality to arrange for an inspection. The required inspections are listed on the building permit that was issued.

Please note, the inspector must be able to see the part of the work to be inspected. Failure to have inspections performed may result in having to uncover and expose work for inspection.

Inspections must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.

Click here to schedule an inspection

Step 3: Permits, forms, and other resources

 Permits, surveys, forms, and drawings

To submit your permit, please use the online form in Step 5.


Permit to Construct or Demolish: It is illegal to construct or demolish a structure without first obtaining a building permit. Once you have completed everything required to receive approval from planning, you can submit your building permit application.

Foundation Survey - New House: A foundation survey is required, and must be submitted prior to final inspection. This is to ensure that the foundation is located in compliance with the zoning requirements.

Site Plans for Additions or Accessory building: A site plan is to be submitted with building permit applications for additions and accessory buildings. The drawing is to drawn to scale, and identify buildings and other features in relation to the property boundaries. Other pertinent information that will need to be provided is the location of any easements or right of ways, and a calculation of the lot coverage. The property owner is also required to sign a form indicating that he/she has been advised of the required yard setbacks and that he/she takes full responsibility for ensuring that the structure adheres to the setbacks.  BE SURE TO INDICATE ANY UTILITIES SERVICING YOUR PROPERTY ON YOUR SITE PLAN.  Setback regulations regarding Hydro One, click on the link provided Working Safely On Your Home ( Applicants submitting a building permit are responsible for indicating any and all utilities on the site plan when submitting a building permit as identified in safety regulations such as the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the Ontario Building Code, and Hydro One Distribution Standards.

Grading Certificate: Before the final inspection, a grading compliance letter will need to be submitted if required in the subdivision agreement.

Home Insurance: During renovations, you may want to consider "home renovation" insurance for the duration of the construction as such coverage is often not part of a standard homeowner's policy.

Restrictive Covenants: In addition to municipal requirements, development in certain subdivisions is subject to "restrictive covenants". Restrictive covenants are part of an agreement between the developers and the land purchaser. Property Owners are encouraged to review their deed and/or contact the resident association in the area to determine any additional building requirements.

Asbestos testing: Homeowners should be aware of the potential requirement to have their homes tested for the presence of asbestos dependent upon the vintage of their home. If asbestos is present, it must be removed before construction commences. asbestos.html

 Additional permits that may be required

County of Lambton: Plumbing Permits or Sewage System Permits (519-845-0801 or Toll Free 1-866-324-6912)

Electrical: Hydro One (1-888-664-9376)

Conservation Authority Flood and Fill Regulations:

  • Area: Port Franks, Thedford, Arkona, Grand Bend
    • Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority - 71108 Morrison Line, R.R. #3, Exeter, ON (1-888-286-2610) or email (
  • Area: Forest, Ipperwash
    • St. Clair Region Conservation Authority - 205 Mill Pond Crescent, Strathroy, ON (519-245-3710) or email (

MTO: If your property is in the vicinity of Highway 21

Evaluation of Alternative Solutions: download the online fillable form

 Other resources

Other Related Links

Step 4: Complete the electronic building permit

Before submitting the permit application on-line in step 5, please complete the building permit application (fillable PDF) and sign it. Once you have completed this form, it can be attached in the submission portal in step 5.

Step 5: Submit your permit application using the portal below

To submit your permit application, please complete the form below. Please have your completed and signed building permit application (from step 4), and any other pertinent information from Step 2 ready to upload and attach. 

For further information, questions, or clarifications, please contact Samantha Vermeiren, Building Inspector, or Jeanette Worrall, Administrative Assistant - Building Department

Bill 23 Notice: Conservation Authority, approvals, and permits
The passage of Bill 23 has caused confusion respecting the roles of Conservation Authorities (CA). Please note that nothing in Bill 23 has changed CA Regulations as they affect the Municipality of Lambton Shores. Boundaries of CA-regulated areas and requirements to obtain CA approvals for any structures or alterations to grade within these regulated areas have not changed.

In particular, please note that decks constructed on the banks of Lake Huron and inland watercourses continue to require CA approvals. Setbacks from top of bank contained in the Municipal Zoning By-Law continue to apply. Further, a deck is also required to obtain a building permit from the Municipality if any portion of the deck exceeds 24 inches above grade.
Annual Building Permit Fee Reporting

The purpose of this annual report is to satisfy the annual reporting requirements for Building Services, as set forth in the Ontario Building Code Act, SO 1992 C23, as amended.

The Ontario Building Code Act, SO 1992 C23, as amended, Section 7(2) prescribes that the total amount of fees authorized for the application and issuance of permits, for maintenance inspections and orders must not exceed the anticipated reasonable costs of the municipality to administer and enforce the Act in its area of jurisdiction.

The Ontario Building Code Act, SO 1992 C23, as amended, Section 7(4) prescribes that a municipality is required to prepare a report every twelve (12) months that contains information about fees prescribed for the application and issuance of permits, for maintenance inspections and orders and costs of the municipality to administer and enforce the Act in its area of jurisdiction.

The Ontario Building Code Act, SO 1992 C23, as amended, Section 7(5) prescribes that the annual report is to be made available for the public.

A municipality is permitted to have a reserve fund which is available to manage the risks involved in the operation of Building Services. Construction downturns, capital purchases, litigation and changes in legislation are examples of factors which may place stress on the annual budget. It is for these types of unexpected expenses that the Reserve Fund is established. 

2022 Annual Building Fees Report

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