Important Notice: Effective January 1, 2022, new OBC requirements including Stairs, Guards & Handrails

On January 1, 2022, changes to the Ontario Building Code (OBC) related to Stairs, Guards, & Handrails came into effect and may have significant impact to the construction and/or design of proposed projects or buildings.

Complete building permit applications and developer Certified Models with sitings, submitted for OBC review prior to Friday, December 31, 2021 will be reviewed and processed under the previous OBC provisions.  Applications received after Friday, December 31, 2021 will be reviewed under the new OBC provisions.

If you have any questions about this Code change, we encourage all applicants, designers, and developers to consult Building Services staff prior to submitting your application.

Booking an Inspection

Inspections should be booked using our Inspection Request form.

The deadline for booking next day inspections is 3pm, Monday to Friday only.

Until all Provincial Health & Safety Guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic are fully lifted, inspections will be conducted at the discretion of the Building Services Department, and may include the requirement for applicant screening, the potential for occupants to remain outside of the inspection area, and to maintain a 2m distancing from the Building Inspector at all times.

The owner remains responsible to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, including Ontario Regulation 82/20 , the Ontario Health & Safety Act, O Reg 213/91, and the latest emergency orders in place.

Electronic Building Permit Processing

Pickering’s Building Services Department remains open for business. The majority of our services are now available online and through virtual communications.

We have also made the permanent switch to a fully electronic process for the application and issuance of Building Permits. The submission of printed, hard copies of any forms, documents or drawings is no longer accepted.

To apply for a Building Permit, applicants should first contact Building Services staff to confirm submission requirements.  Staff will then provide a unique link to our digital permit system, where the applicant must submit all required documents and drawings. 

Our City Development front counter is currently closed for in person permit enquiries.  While we anticipate re-opening of City Hall on January 31st, we still prefer enquiries continue to be made by phone or email at 905.420.4631 or, where you can speak directly to a Building Services Clerk.

Thank you for your patience, as we continue to evolve our systems in order to better serve you. For general inquiries please call 905-420-4631, or email us at . Please note: digital drawings sent to this email box will not be accepted or reviewed.   

Temporary Patio Approvals - 2022 Season

As of January 5th, 2022, the Province of Ontario has moved back to a modified Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen, (until at least January 31, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators. The full set of changes can be reviewed in the Province's Amending O. Reg. 263/20. This temporary change in Health & Safety criteria does not affect the requirements of the City of Pickering's Temporary Patio program.

Municipal Bylaw 7769/20, as amended, governs the operation of new and/or extended outdoor patios, and continues to be in effect until such time as all Covid-19 related Emergency Orders that restrict food or beverage service have been lifted by the Province of Ontario and our local Region of Durham Health Unit.

Restaurants must continue to abide by all Provincial Health & Safety, and Alcohol & Gaming Commission criteria as well as Ontario Building Code and Fire Code requirements related to the use of tents and outdoor heaters, including:

  • Alcohol may only be served until 10 p.m. and must be consumed before 11 p.m.
  • No more than 10 people per table can be seated together (see Amending O. Reg. 263/20 for exemptions).
  • Two sides of any tent must remain open while in use by patrons for outdoor food or beverage services.
  • All emergency access routes must be maintained in their current locations.
  • The patio must have a minimum of 2 egress points, each with an opening no less than 1m wide.
  • Maintain a 1.2 metre clearance from all fire hydrants or fire connections (Siamese) and they must be visible and accessible at all times.
  • The City does not object to the use of propane heaters, bbqs or fire places on patios, provided they are used in conformance with the manufacturer’s instructions regarding distance to combustibles.
  • Propane heaters may only be used in accordance with their listings and manufacturer instructions. Prior to using a propane heater, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for required clearance to combustibles (min. 3 meters), amount of ventilation, placement location, and fuel storage requirements. Refer to TSSA guidelines for more detail.  

  • Lighting in tents is permitted but must be temporary and comply with all applicable safety standards and codes for lighting levels and temporary wiring.

  • Tents may be exempt from requiring a separate building permit provided the tent or group of tents are not more than 60m2 in total area and are erected not less than 3m from a building.

  • Tent, tarpaulins, and decorative materials associated with the covered area must be flame resistant and certified to CAN/ULC S109 or meet NFPA 701 testing requirements.

  • A 2A10BC multipurpose fire extinguisher is required to be installed for the tent area.
  • Ensure that all fire protection equipment is being maintained as per Ontario Fire Code regulations and all staff are trained in the use of that equipment.

Temporary patios operating on City owned property are now closed to accommodate the safe operation of our Winter Maintenance services. Applications for new lease agreements to allow temporary patios on City property will be made available sometime in late February 2022.

For information on City of Pickering criteria for approvals and operation of a temporary patio on private property, please review our set of municipal guidelines, or contact staff in the City Development Department at 905.420.4617 or email us at citydev@pickering . 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 or 905.683.7575, or or 905.420.4617.

To apply for City approval to open a temporary new or expanded patio, complete our Request to Review for Temporary Patio form.

 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.

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?

Many common projects require an approved Building Permit including, but not limited to, those listed below. Not sure if your project needs a Building Permit? Please always check with us to see if one is required before you start work. We're here to help ensure your project is done legally and safely.

  • 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
  • construction to create additional tenant spaces or units in a commercial building (demising walls)
  • construction to accommodate a tenant in a previously unoccupied “shell” building
  • construction to accommodate a new tenant in a commercial building (tenant improvements or tenant fit-up)
  • change of use for a new tenant in a commercial building (change of use permit, no construction occurring)
  • 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

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 $140.00, 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.

Zoning By-laws and Requests for Zoning Information 

View our Zoning By-law web page for information about Zoning By-laws in Pickering.

Zoning information is no longer provided over the phone or at the City Development front counter. Requests for zoning information must be submitted online by using the Request for Zoning Information Form, with the appropriate service fee (payable online through eStore). Responses to online requests for zoning information will be provided in writing by email within 3 to 5 business days.

For legal compliance letter requests regarding a property, including matters related to Building and Zoning, please use our Lawyer Compliance Letter Request Form .