Real Estate

Do we need a building permit for a bunkie?

Small shed lakeside with a wooden swing in the summer shade, bunkie Photo by BlokPhoto/Shutterstock

We are thinking of making a guest bunkie (10′ by 11′). Do we need a building permit?
—Eager to Expand

Permit requirements vary depending on where your cottage is located. The Ontario Building Code, for example, requires a permit for any structure with floor space greater than 108 sq. ft. At 10′ by 11′, this bunkie comes in at 110 sq. ft. Could you scale the guest house down a little to avoid having to get a permit? Maybe—but you really need to call your building department and ask. Some municipalities need permits for anything over 100 sq. ft., plus every municipality has zoning bylaws (shoreline setbacks, for example) that will dictate what you can build and where. And this is assuming, of course, that the bunkie won’t have plumbing, a heating system, or other features that require approval.

Before you start your project, visit your municipality’s website for details about permits and bylaws, plus building department contact info.

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