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What is a Secondary Suite/Dwelling?
A secondary suite is a self-contained unit within a house that has its own kitchen, bathroom facilities, and separate entrance. Secondary suites can be a viable housing option provided the units are constructed safely.
• Secondary suites are only allowed in specific single detached, semi-detached, and street townhomes.
• Only one secondary suite unit is allowed in each eligible house.
The concept of second dwellings has gained considerable attention. Additional living spaces are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. Many homeowners are exploring the idea of creating a separate living space on their property.
Second dwellings provide a versatile solution to various needs, such as accommodating aging parents, providing a rental income stream, or creating a private space for guests. Engineered Plans will explain the importance of second dwellings and offer insights into how to design these spaces to maximize their functionality and aesthetic appeal.
When designing a second dwelling, it's crucial to optimize the use of available space. Consider the layout carefully to ensure that every square foot serves a purpose. Ontario Building Code has specified all space areas and lighting requirements.
Lighting and Area Requirements:
LIVING AREA REQUIRMENT:
· Minimum area for living area is 145 sqft with 14.5 sqft (10% of Living area) of lighting. If the house is older than 5 years then 7.25 Sqft (5% of Living area).
KITCHEN AREA REQUIRMENT:
· Minimum area for the Kitchen is 45 sqft with more than one bedroom, 40 sqft for 1 bedroom and there are no lighting requirements for lighting in the Kitchen.
DINING AREA REQUIRMENT:
· Minimum area for Dining area is 75 sqft with 7.5 sqft (10% of Dining area) of lighting. If the house is older than 5 years then 3.75 Sqft (5% of Dining area).
MASTER BEDROOM AREA REQUIRMENT:
· Minimum area for Master Bedroom is 95 sqft with closet and 105 sqft without closet. Glass Area is 5 sqft (10% of Master Bedroom) of lighting. If the house is older than 5 years then 2.5 Sqft (5% of Master Bedroom).
SECOND AND MORE BEDROOM AREA REQUIRMENT:
· Minimum area for the Second Bedroom is 65 sqft with closet and 75 sqft without closet. Glass Area is 3.75 sqft (10% of Second Bedroom) of lighting. If the house is older than 5 years then 1.9 Sqft (5% of Second Bedroom).
SECONDARY DWELLING MAXIMUM SIZE REQUIREMENT:
· A secondary suite may occupy up to 45 percent of the gross floor area (GFA) of the main dwelling, but not be less than 35 square meters in floor area.
· Second dwellings should be designed with flexibility in mind. Consider the potential uses of the space over time. A well-designed second dwelling can serve as a guesthouse, a home office, a rental property, or even a space for extended family members.
SECONDARY DWELLING PARKING REQUIRMENT:
· At least three parking spaces are required on the lot to ensure sufficient parking is available to accommodate the main dwelling and the secondary suite. The parking spaces must be located on a properly surfaced driveway, garage, or carport and cannot include parking on the street or street allowance.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN DESIGNING A SECODARY DWELLING:
· To maintain a harmonious aesthetic, the design of the second dwelling should complement the main residence. Pay attention to architectural details, materials, and colors to create a cohesive look. This not only enhances the overall appeal of the property but also adds value.
· sustainable design practices in the construction of second dwellings is increasingly important. Energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and eco-friendly building materials can contribute to a smaller environmental footprint and lower utility costs.
· Extend the living space beyond the walls by integrating outdoor elements into the design. Consider adding a patio, deck, or garden space to enhance the overall living experience.
We provided engineering and design services to legalize an existing basement.
1. Contact Us
2. Gather required information
3. Receive Quote
4. Receive Permit Drawings
Please reach us at if you cannot find an answer to your question.
In Ontario, obtaining a permit is necessary for renovating a basement. Specifically, basement renovations that involve structural modifications, changes to plumbing or electrical systems, or the creation of a livable space mandate the need of building permits.
Such renovations without the essential permits can result in fines and complications. Therefore, it is recommended to secure the appropriate permits before commencing any basement renovation project in Ontario.
Permit drawings for basement renovations have complete architectural and structural plans the current basement layout and the proposed changes to the basement.
These drawings are vital when seeking a building permit. These drawings show clear information needed by the city and include a site plan, floor plans, elevations, and requisite details. Local authorities utilize these permit drawings to evaluate proposed changes, ensuring adherence to building codes, safety regulations, and zoning ordinances. The precision and comprehensiveness of these drawings play a pivotal role in securing legal approval to proceed with your basement renovation project.
Building permits are typically needed for construction, demolition, renovation, and additions to residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Projects involving changes to a building’s structure, plumbing, or mechanical systems often require permits
The timeline for obtaining a building permit depends on the complexity of your project and the workload of the city’s building department. Simple projects may be approved in a few weeks, while more complex projects can take several months
Modifying permit drawings during construction can be possible, but it often depends on the nature and extent of the changes.
We recommend reaching out us to resolve changes in your current construction project. We will talk with the city and inspector to accurately show changes that were made one site after getting the permit approved. It’s essential to communicate any alterations promptly to us. We can assess the modifications and determine if they comply with regulations, and guide you on the necessary steps for approval.
We have worked with 100's of clients whose permit was previously rejected or had too many ongoing changes requested by the city. We will your review your application for Ontario Building Code, National Building Code and City By-laws to make sure it is not rejected again.
Incorporating crucial information like floor plans, elevations, sections, site plans, and construction specifications is imperative when creating permit drawings for a basement renovation. These drawings offer a comprehensive visual depiction of both the current layout and the intended changes, ensuring alignment with local building codes and regulations. The inclusion of all necessary details aids local authorities in accurately evaluating the project, facilitating the approval process for the permit required for your basement renovation.
The duration of a basement renovation permit in Toronto ranges from 6 months to 2 years, contingent on the permit category and the complexity of the project. It's important to be mindful of the permit's expiration date and initiate the process for renewal or extension if required, ensuring compliance with the stipulated timeframe.
The FASTRACK building Building permit service aims to issue permits for specific home renovation projects within a 5-business-day timeframe. However, it's important to note that FASTRACK applications are designed for minor interior renovations and projects without any external work. For more extensive projects like additions, garages, or new builds, the processing time is typically longer, depending on the project's individual scope.
It's often overlooked that the city of Toronto involves different departments in reviewing various aspects of an application. Different departments handle HVAC, life safety, and structural drawings. If your project involves external work, such as building an addition or a shed, the city of Toronto will also review it to ensure compliance with zoning by-laws. Obtaining a Building permit entails more than just submitting a few documents, which is why the process generally extends beyond the 5-day period.
We've encountered numerous clients facing similar issues. They acquire a property only to discover that the second-floor addition, deck, or secondary unit was not constructed in compliance with building codes and was erected unlawfully. The harsh reality is that, if you've purchased such a property, it now falls upon you to rectify the mistakes of the previous owners, despite them being the ones who implemented the changes. This is why conducting a thorough inspection before purchasing the home is crucial, ensuring that everything is in proper order.
According to legal obligations, sellers are required to disclose any additions or unpermitted work they are aware of. However, openly addressing this situation allows for collaboration with buyers, reassuring them that necessary adjustments can be undertaken. Selling a house with minor unpermitted work is indeed a viable possibility.
The rules and regulations regarding building without a Building permit vary by municipality in Ontario, and it's important to check with your local municipal building department for specific guidelines.
Constructing a backyard shed, garden shed, or storage shed does not necessitate a building permit if it is smaller than 160 square feet (or 15 square meters). However, any shed exceeding 160 square feet does require a building permit. It's important to note that building permits are obligatory for accessory structures with plumbing, irrespective of their size. For additional details, you can refer to the Toronto website.
In Ontario, it is illegal to build or renovate a building without the required permits. The legislative guidelines for constructing or renovating structures in the province are provided by the Building Code Act of Ontario. Without a valid permission, it is illegal to construct, dismantle, or permit the construction or demolition of a building. If these actions are carried out without the required authorization, there may be severe repercussions, such as fines, penalties, and possible legal action.
If found guilty of a breach of the 1992 Building Code Act, such as building without a permit, the fines might reach $100,000 for many infractions and $50,000 for first offenses.
Prepare Your Plans:
Complete Application Forms:
Issuance of Permit:
Final Inspection and Occupancy:
See our detailed guide here.
1. If you would like to rent the basement as a second unit.
2. Add kitchen with Stove
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