About Building Services

The City of Pickering wants you to 'Build Smart. Build Safe'.  Whether you're a homeowner with a DIY project, or a professional contractor with years of experience, our friendly, knowledgeable Building Services staff is here to help you. Remember: "Measure twice, cut once; 15 minutes now saves 2 hours later", so call us first before you make that first cut.

The Building Services Department is responsible for administering the issuance of Building Permits, including the application process, the review of plans for all new construction, and the inspection of building and plumbing systems during construction.  We also provide zoning by-law interpretation and zoning compliance checks/approvals for lawyers, letters, applications and building permits.

Building Permits regulate all types of construction permitted in the community, and ensure the safety of the property owner, professional contractors and our community at large. Approved plans must comply with the Ontario Building Code, local zoning by-laws, and other applicable laws and regulations. Don't have the time or experience to manage your project alone? You can authorize a designer or contractor to obtain the permit on your behalf.

Notice: Electronic Building Permit Process - a new way to do business

Despite the restrictions imposed on all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Building Services Department is still open for business. While we are not available to conduct in person meetings, we remain fully staffed by phone, email or video chat, in order to review all permit applications and conduct all required inspections once the Building Permit has been issued.

New Electronic Application systems

To ensure uninterrupted service delivery, now and into the future, we have made the permanent switch to a fully electronic process for application and issuance of Building Permits. As such, we will no longer accept printed hard copies of any forms, documents or drawings.

Despite our best efforts, we are currently experiencing some delays as we adapt to this new way of doing business, and ask your patience as we refine our processes to serve you better. 

For information on submitting new applications for Building Permits, or to enquire about your current Building Permit, contact us at 905.420.4631 and speak directly to a Building Services Clerk.

Book an Inspection - what to expect under COVID-19 restrictions

Book an inspection

During this time inspections can be booked as usual, with the following conditions:

  • Applicants will be screened at the time of inspection request, and then again when the inspector arrives at the site.
  • During inspection, occupants are requested to leave the building or move to a different area of the building.
  • Occupants are asked to maintain a minimum of  2m/6ft physical distancing from the Building Inspector.
  • Our Building Inspectors will be wearing face coverings during inspection of any enclosed space, and we respectfully ask that occupants also wear a face covering if interacting with our Building Inspectors.


Re Temporary Patio Approvals 

Under the Provincial Phase 2 Emergency Orders for re-opening of businesses, outdoor patios may begin operations as of 12.01 am, Friday, June 19, 2020.

Patio operators must comply with the guidelines issued by the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario, the Region of Durham Health Department, as well as the guidelines and requirements set out by the City of Pickering (see link below).

Both the temporary expansion of existing patios or the creation of new temporary patios will be reviewed.

The City of Pickering requires a patio operator to review our guidelines and submit a 'Request to Review for Temporary Patio' form for our review prior to establishing new patio space or expanding existing patio space. The patio operator will receive notice from the City indicating whether the patio can go ahead as proposed, or if there are matters to be resolved before we indicate that we have no objection.

We understand the urgency of putting approvals in place and will be expediting the review and response to these applications.

The City's review and approval process, and our application form are available for download:

The 'Request to Review for Temporary Patio' form requires the applicant to upload a site drawing outlining the proposed location of the temporary patio (upload field in application form).  See our guidelines for direction on this site drawing.

All processes are in electronic format, and are free of charge.

For more information or assistance with this process, please contact the Fire Services Department at fire@pickering.ca or 905.683.7575, or citydev@pickering.ca or 905.420.4617.

Expectations for Construction Site Maintenance

The City of Pickering is serious about job site safety and cleanliness.

To protect the safety and continued enjoyment of our community, the City of Pickering developed a list of Expectations for Construction Site Maintenance. Building Permit applicants are expected to read and acknowledge their understanding of these expectations before taking possession of their Building Permit.

Many of these expectations are legally required by either a municipal by-law, provincial code, or a Provincial/Federal Act. Other expectations are just good, common sense and being a good neighbour.

Build Smart. Build Safe. Read our list of expectations before you start your project. 

When do you need a building permit?

In general, the following projects require an approved Building Permit:

  • a new home
  • a new commercial or industrial building (even when there are others already on the site)
  • any addition to a home, commercial or industrial building
  • sheds or other detached structures greater than 108 ft² (10 m²) in area. See our Shed/Garage Construction Guide
  • raised porches, or decks of any size if they are attached to a building. See our Deck Construction Guide.
  • complete replacement of a deck or shed, even when the same as prior construction. New decks and sheds must comply with the current zoning bylaw in effect on the property.
  • carports or garages (either attached, or detached from the home or building)
  • structural alterations to any existing building
  • demolition or relocation of a house or any existing building of other uses
  • installation of a woodstove or fireplace
  • creation of rooms in a basement
  • addition of a basement entrance
  • creation of a Second Unit within a home (aka additional dwelling unit or basement apartment)
  • alteration or addition of any plumbing piping in any building type
  • connections to water service or sanitary or storm sewers from any building type

 You do not need a building permit for:

  • detached sheds and other structures less than 108 ft² (10 m²) in area.  Zoning requirements still apply.  Confirm the minimum location restrictions with Building Services staff before proceeding with your project.
  • decks that are less than 24" (600mm) above grade, and are not attached to a building. Zoning requirements still apply. Confirm the minimum location restrictions with Building Services Staff before proceeding with your project.
  • replacement of window or doors, provided the same width of opening is maintained
  • repairs or replacement of roofing, siding, exterior cladding or chimneys
  • foundation waterproofing
  • replacement of interior finishes, such as painting, flooring, trim, cabinets
  • replacement of plumbing fixtures (in the same location, with no plumbing alteration)
  • replacement of a heating system
  • installation of most television antennae or satellite dishes

Still not sure? Contact Building Services staff at 905.420.4631 between the hours of 8:30 am to 4 pm, or email us at citydev@pickering.ca

Permit Fees

A full list of all potential charges is provided in Schedule B of the Building By-law. Be aware that all fees, deposits, and charges are subject to change. We recommend that you confirm all rates with our staff before submitting your application.

A building permit will be issued once all fees, deposits, and charges have been paid, and we have confirmed compliance with the Ontario Building Code. For a list of current permit fees view our Schedule of Application Fees and Information Price List.

The minimum permit fee is $144.00, taxes included. Typically, decks, sheds and minor alterations fall under this minimum fee.

Timeframe to Obtain a Building Permit

The City will issue building permits promptly for submissions that meet zoning standards, the Ontario Building Code, and the requirements of other agencies, such as the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, or the Region of Durham Health Department (if applicable).  The more complete the permit submission is, the quicker we are able to review the application for compliance and issue the permit.  Once the permit is submitted, the Building Clerk will give you an honest estimate of time to issue the permit.

Once the Building Permit is issued, construction may start any time within 6 months from the date of issue. Construction should never start before the Building Permit is issued.

Building Permit Application forms

Snow Load Mapping

Snow Load Zones Map

Call Before You Dig ! Utility Locates

The City is not responsible for locating public utilities on your property such as hydro, natural gas, water or sanitary services.

Before you dig, Build Smart. Build Safe. and call Ontario One Call (ON1Call) at 1.800.400.2255 or contact them online to get a locate in advance. Failure to locate your utilities can result in personal or property injury or delays in construction.

If you're on septic - be sure you know where you septic tank and septic bed are located.