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Home Additions and Structural Services

This information is intended to assist you tp understand what to expect during the design and approval process and what to expect from your home designer and/or structural engineer. It is important to be knowledgeable about the qualifications of the designers that you chose to hire. 


Who can design your home? 

In Ontario, renovations and additions to a home can be designed by a variety of qualified professionals which may include Architects, Designers, Engineers, Contractors (design builders), Technologists, and Technicians. 

Since the skill levels and abilities of home designers varies, the province of Ontario decided in 2006 to enact Bill 124 which set up various regulations regarding the qualifications of "designers" who can design homes and also submit those designs to the municipalities for building permit applications. If the addition you are planning requires a Building Permit, the people you can enlist for the design can be: 

  • Person with BCIN Number
  • Licensed Architects
  • Professional Engineers 

The Design Process

In a broad sense, the overall process that needs to be followed in order to obtain a building permit for an addition or significant change to the exterior of a home involves the following steps:

  1. Zoning Review with the Municipality - Examples of zoning regulations which must be followed would include maximum allowable height restrictions, mimic side yard setbacks, maximum allowable lot coverage, etc
  2. Preliminary Design - This is when the overall concept dsirng for your project is formally prepared. During this phase, the size, shape and functional layout of the design are established by preparing basic drawings. 
  3. Detailed Design - Once all doing issues have been dealt without he project can move ahead into the detailed design phase. Once the aesthetic and functional design has been completed, we will ask you to "sign-off" on the final layout to confirm that what we have drawn is what you want to build. 
  4. Structural Design - During the phase, the size of the beam, post, floor joist, foundation walls, and footings is determined by a structural engineer. 
  5. Building Permit Application and Approval - During this phase, the building permit application is made. This involves filling out the application form and submitting it to the municipality. Fees for the building permit are also usually levied at the time of permit application. The permit application can be done by the owner themselves or by the designer. Most applications for a building permit should take only about 10 business days to process. 

Other Permits That You Will Likely Need:
  1. Plumbing: in most municipalities, a plumbing permit is, upon request, issued along with a building permit. To obtain a plumbing permit, it is often only necessary to complete a form with lists the number of plumbing fixtures which are to be installed as part of the proposed work. 
  2. Mechanical (HVAC):  In many home addictions and renovations the HVAC permit is obtained but he heating sub-contractor directly who is going to supply and install the new heating system (or modify the existing one) for the project.
  3. Electrical: Electrical permits are obtained directly by the licensed electrician that works only your home - electrical is under the electrical safety authority (ESA) and is not part of your municipal building permit application. 

How much does it cost? 

Once you meet with us, we will provide you with an estimated cost proposal for our services. Our firm charges a fixed fee for design services. 

Typical design fees for the design of an addition to a home would be in the neighbourhood of $4,000.00 to $8,000.00, depending upon the complexity of the project, including structural engineering. Note that some companies do not include structural engineering as part of their design fees, but instead charge this out as a disbursement which is payable but the owner near the end of the project. Make sure that you know whether of not the proposal of the design services that you receive from others includes structural engineering. Our firm charges a fixed fee of $500 + HST per site visit during the construction (which included a written report). Site visits are always chawed on aper-site visit basis, since we never know what extent we will be asked to inspect by the city inspector . Sometimes, an inexperienced contractor will make mistakes during construction and in such instances, we may need to attend the site more than once, unfortunately this cost must be borne by either yourself or by your contractor.

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