Find all of the information you need below to apply for a building or plumbing permit.

When you need a building permit

You need a Building Permit if you are:

  • building a new building or structure (house, garage, shed, etc.)
  • repairing, renovating, adding to, or demolishing an existing building
  • finishing your basement
  • installing a swimming pool fence
  • installing a solid fuel burning appliance (wood stove)
  • building a deck
  • erecting a sign that is is free standing and higher than 7.5m (24'-8"), attached to the building and the projecting weight is more than 115kg (253lbs), or if it is a roof sign with any face bigger than 10M2(108sq.ft)
  • installing a new plumbing system (you don't need a permit for replacement of existing fixtures)
  • relocating any type of plumbing system
  • replacing main building control valve (main shut off valve at meter) Permit fee as per current fee schedule. Please note: water on and off charges will apply, refer to Sewer and Water Rate Notice for more information.

We review all applications to make sure they meet the Ontario Building Code and Zoning By-law requirements.

How to apply for a residential building permit

Find out what you need for different types of residential building projects and permit requirements when Building or Renovating a Home.

How to apply for a small commercial (other than 1&2 family dwellings) building permit

For buildings that fall under Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code (other than one and two family dwelling units) you need small commercial building permit. The following is required:

Buildings that fall under part 9 of the OBC (other than one and two family dwelling units) are: three or less storeys in height, and less than 600M2 (6458sq.ft.), and for uses other than care or assembly (restaurants, churches, etc) occupancies.

Please note that requirements vary based on each project. Please contact one of our plans examiners for more information.

How to apply for a large commercial building permit

For buildings that fall under Part 3 of the Ontario Building Code you need large commercial building permit. The following is required:

Buildings that fall under Part 3 of the Ontario Building Code are: are than three storeys in height, and more than 600M2 (6458sq.ft.) or smaller buildings with care or assembly (restaurants, churches, etc.) uses

Please note that requirements vary based on each project. Please contact one of our plans examiners for more information, contact information is below.

How to apply for a building permit for plumbing only projects

When you are installing new plumbing fixtures (completely new installation, not replacement of existing fixtures) or relocating existing fixtures you need a Building Permit for plumbing.

You need the following for a Building Permit for plumbing:

Once you have all of your required documentation you can apply at the building services office or apply for your permit online. For more information, email our plumbing department or call 807-625-2203.

Also, please be aware that some commercial projects require a Backflow Prevention device.

Current building permit fees

See our current building permit fees.

Building permit forms and brochures

Use our building permit forms and documents to help you get your work done.

Building permit processing times

Depending on your project, your COMPLETE building permit application package will be reviewed within:

  • 10 business days for one and two family dwellings, residential detached garages, sheds, and all other small residential projects
  • 15 business days for small commercial building permits
  • 20 business days for large commercial building permits except those listed below
  • 30 business days for post disaster buildings (as defined in the Ontario Building Code), high buildings or buildings with interconnected floor spaces

Required building inspections and inspector contact information

Contact us

Building inspections:

Plumbing inspections:

For backflow inspections:

Supervisor - Inspections:

Building department contact information

Zoning questions:

Residential building questions:

Commercial building questions:

Plumbing questions:

Building services clerk:

Chief Building Official (CBO):

  • Call 807-625-2573

Other approvals

Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority

If your property falls in the area of an environmental overlay, is adjacent to floodplains, wetland, talus slopes and water courses in thunder bay you will need approval from the Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority.

Ministry of Transportation Ontario

If you are considering constructing or renovating a house, barn, or shed, drilling a well, installing a swimming pool, etc. close to or adjacent a provincial highway, you may require a residential Building and Land Use Permit through the Ministry of Transportation.

Thunder Bay District Health Unit

When you build a new house that does not have city sewer system, or add any additional plumbing fixtures to an existing building on a septic system, you need approval from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Call before you dig

Before you do any digging on your property you must use the Ontario One Call online locate form to locate underground infrastructure before you dig or call: 1-800-400-2255.

Ontario One Call distributes locate requests to utilities with infrastructure in the area. The Municipality of Thunder Bay will either clear the locate request, meaning that your work will not impact any buried infrastructure, or mark it onsite with paint. When complete, you will receive a locate notice through email or fax with the results.

Please visit Ontario One Call for more information or call 1-800-400-2255. 

Zoning and planning

If you are thinking about building a new building, adding to an existing structure, creating a second suite in your house or changing the use of your business, contact the Planning Services division to ensure you are meeting all of the requirements of the Zoning By-Law and Official Plan.


If you are building a new building (commercial or residential) or an addition, you need approval for the lot grading and drainage from the Engineering & Operations division to make sure that your property is not draining onto neighbouring properties. Also, When if you are constructing a new driveway or relocating an existing driveway you need a driveway permit. Contact the Engineering & Operations division at 807-625-2266.

Applicable law

Refer to the Applicable Law checklist for any other potential approvals required for your project.

If you require a PDF in an accessible format, contact our Municipal Accessibility Specialist.

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