Do I need a permit?

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Posted by: from Hamilton
9/17/2020 at 3:38:34 PM

I had an insurance job done in my bathroom it was completely renovated the plumbing was changed and the electrical - lights , light switches and the receptacle were all moved the entrance was widened by eight to ten inches and a new window was put in the bathroom fan was moved and now exhausts 2 ft from the bathroom window coming out of the soffit facing down on my barbecue do I or them need a permit?

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Richard in Edmonton
Date/Time9/17/2020 at 5:25:23 PM

In Alberta it's debatable whether this project would require permits. Permit regulations allow for certain minor projects (typically under $5,000) without permits; however the work still needs to comply to all Codes. The bathroom fan discharge mentioned shouldn't be any kind of Code issue.

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Magi in Dhaka
Date/Time9/18/2020 at 4:31:05 AM

Richard is RIGHT

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Adam from iSky Plumbing in Toronto
Date/Time9/18/2020 at 11:01:29 AM

Yes, you need a permit for all of them.

Thank you

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Date/Time9/20/2020 at 3:04:28 PM

You definitely need an electrical permit and inspection. This should have been obtained by the Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) and is provided by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).


John Kuehnl-Cadwell, CD, ME

Mater Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time9/22/2020 at 5:40:43 PM

Hi Brad,

You have pointed out a few issues here.

One, yes you actually require multiple permits.

You will require a Municipal Permit from the City which will require a mechanical permit for the plumbing and HVAC modifications.

You will also require an electrical permit from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) which will require a licensed (with Master rating) electrical contractor or sub-contractor.

As for the bathroom exhaust fan coming out of the soffit, that is incorrect and can lead to a lot of future problems.

It is the easiest method of venting a bathroom that has not previously been vented, but bathrooms should exhaust out the roof and never under a soffit.

The issue is that the exhaust of a bathroom is not for the odours (as most would believe), it is to exhaust warm moist air from inside the conditioned space.

In most cases, soffits are vented to permit air to enter the unconditioned attic and exhaust either through roof vents or a ridge vent. This allows for a) cooling of the underside of the roof and 2) drying of the structure from any potential condensation.

Exhausting the most humid or moisture laden air from a bathroom (say after a shower) directly into the attic air intake (soffit vents) will pull all of that exhausted air directly into your attic.

In colder months, that warm moist air will almost instantly condense on the wood framing of the underside of your roof and water and wood lead to mold and rot!

It is not difficult to vent through the roof but must be done correctly, as does any penetration through the home's structure.

In addition, bathroom exhaust fans are normally operated by a switch beside the light switch. They are usually turned on when the occupant enters and turned off when they leave (shortly after showers).

This is when the exhaust fan is most needed.

The best scenario is to speak to the contractor on the project and ask that their electrician install a humidity sensing fan or switch. In this case you leave the switch on forever and allow the fan or switch to activate the exhaust whenever it detects an increased humidity level.

Lastly, if a window was cut in and a door was widened in a situation where it does not appear that a permit was obtained, I would strongly recommend a review (structural engineer) of the support above those openings (called lintels). It is imperative that these are sized correctly and in fact installed.

Best of luck

Jason Irving

Cedarfalls Building Consultants Limited

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