Design & DIY

Are there buildings that don’t require permits?

Cottage Construction

Are there any buildings that don’t require permits? —Rachel Stockman, via e-mail

Indeed: The Ontario Building Code says that structures less than 108 square feet don’t require building permits. But everything else? Ask your local building department. Also, some of these tiny structures—outhouses spring to mind—still have specific rules about, for example, placement. (Outhouses must be three metres from any property line.) And don’t forget setback requirements, or municipal zoning bylaws, which can dictate all sorts of things: What you can build, how many, and where (e.g., how close to the water or road). So, always check first. Better safe than slapped with a fine.