Building Permit for basement reno in Toronto

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Posted by: from Toronto
6/15/2015 at 1:00:15 PM

I'm planning to have a full basement reno with full kitchen and bathroom, plus a couple of bedrooms. This is for my in-laws and not for rent. I am not removing any structural wall/column. Do I need to get BP? I'm hiring license electrician. If I choose not to, what are possible consequences? A friend told me, my insurance will not pay if ever there's fire or something especially with the full kitchen in the basement.

Any info/advice is appreciated.

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Date/Time6/15/2015 at 7:23:02 PM

In London ON finishing a basement requires a Building Permit even if there are no structural changes. I'm sure the rules are similar in Toronto. Under OBC (Ont Building Code) basement bedrooms require a proper egress window or exit in case of fire, rented or personal. Smoke and CO detectors need to be installed and inter-connected with other floors. Plumbing inspection will definitely be required with a bathroom and kitchen. Electrical ESA permit will also be a must. If they get considered to be separate living quarters, you may even need fire doors to separate the dwellings.


Precision Contracting - London

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Date/Time6/15/2015 at 7:32:18 PM


You need to have Building Permit,it does not mater if You are renting it or not.As long You are constructing separate unit You need to comply with Building code, fire code and ESA.

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Jay from Instalall in Ottawa
Date/Time6/15/2015 at 7:37:23 PM

You need a building permit to finish a basement.

If you like to sell your house one day the home inspector will ask you for basement finishing permit.

And your friend 100% correct concerning the insurance.

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Dave from 360renos in Navan
Date/Time6/15/2015 at 8:18:02 PM

The guys are correct Rob need a building permit

One of the challenges you would face is the day you sell your home the buying realtor for the prospective clients could ask if you got permits to complete the basement. If you didn't it raises red flags to the buyers that the basement may not be up to building code.

The electrical, plumbing, framing, insulation and final inspections will ensure your project was completed properly by you or your contractor.

Do you really want to take a chance with your home and the big investment you made? Do it right and it will ensure your sleep well at night

Good luck


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Brian from Next Restoration in Rockwood
Date/Time6/15/2015 at 8:31:49 PM

Hi Rod,

You not only need a building permit if you are installing a stove or any cooking devices you will need to fire proof the entire apartment including smoke detectors in your furnace pipes cost to do something like this is $40 to $50 thousand.

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Rod in Toronto
Date/Time6/16/2015 at 7:17:25 AM

Thanks for all your reply. So I guess I better get BP.

Only problem now is the fire separation thing, from what I just gather it sounds like a fortune (approx 50k) to do that, equal to my budget for the basement reno itself. I don't think that's an option for me financially. How do I deal avoiding the fire separation requirement? Will forsaking the full kitchen do? Is there anyway to have at least a kitchenette or something?

Thanks again for any advise/comments.

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Date/Time6/16/2015 at 7:36:08 AM

Hi Rod,

Reading all this comments would even scare me but it's not all that bad. Fire separation is quite simple. The best think you can do at this point is to invite few contractors to meet with you and explain more in to details.

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Date/Time6/16/2015 at 11:08:47 PM

Yes you need a BP, don't cut any corners or let any contractor tell you otherwise.

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Rod in Toronto
Date/Time6/19/2015 at 12:39:20 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I actually already talked to a contractor and signed an agreement. But he advised that I do not need BP since it is for personal use even with a second kitchen. But checking the City website and others, as well as comments from this posting, I believe I need BP.

Okay, I will apply for BP. But will fire separation / sound insulation be required prior to issuing BP even if it is not rented only for personal use? I just worry about additional cost that I can no longer negotiate since I'm already tied with the contractor plus my budget is already tight as it is. For a 1000 sq.ft. of basement, what is a ballpark estimate I can expect for the fire separation/sound insulation additional charge? Our project is drywall everywhere including ceiling, except for the furnace room that is currently estimated as one side finish only/

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