Do I Need a Building Permit to Re-Insulate My House in Ontario?
So you finally decided to insulate your basement and transform it into a whole separate suite. And while you’re thinking about it you figure out that the attic also needs an insulation upgrade to improve energy efficiency. But before you actually start the renovations you ask yourself: “Do I need a building permit for insulation?” We’ll have to admit that building permits can bring many questions to mind for any homeowner. We know that government regulations can be demanding when it comes to home improvement. You most certainly know that to add an extension to your home or start any major remodel in Ontario will require a building permit.
But what about insulation? Well, here you have the answer:
If you are looking to re-insulate or insulate your building in Ontario, you will not need a building permit. That, for as long as you follow the Ontario Building Code requirements for safe and efficient energy-saving practices. A building inspection is required though. Learn more about it below...
And of course, you will also need an experienced insulation company that is capable of successfully completing the installation process. Keep in mind that an insulation contractor must be licensed in the country they operate, in this case, Ontario.
Residential and Commercial Insulation Requires an Inspection
During an insulation inspection, a certified building inspector reviews the work of the insulation crew. The areas that are inspected include the location of insulation, air barrier systems, vapour barriers, minimum thermal resistance, and how the installation of insulation is performed. After the site inspection, a Field Inspection Report is issued to the building owner to confirm whether or not there is sufficient insulation installed. The latter prevents condensation within the building envelope and complies with the energy-saving standards. After the completion of the work, you can ask your insulation contractors for a work report that will later be required for the inspection.
Ontario Building Code Requirements for Insulation
Each section of a building that separates the inside from the outside and vice versa must have:
A thermal barrier
A vapour retarder
An air barrier
The insulation system is formed by these barriers. The insulation material must be in contact with an air barrier to prevent airflow. When the insulation is exposed to water, it is recommended to install 2” above the crawl space floor. And if the material is vulnerable to weather conditions, a 12mm cement parging or 6mm preservative plywood is necessary to protect the insulation.
If you have not insulated your attic you are losing money. See, hot air is lighter and it goes up to the attic and eventually finds its way out of the building. This causes your air conditioner to keep on heating the air repeatedly to maintain the desired temperature indoors. This is what causes a shock in electric bills and can be prevented by adding the proper amount of insulation in the attic. With new regulations from the Ontario building code, the required attic insulation R-Value has changed from R-50 to R-60.
Simply put, continuous insulation is an uninterrupted insulation envelope that has no thermal bridging. It prevents air leakages and increases the performance of an insulation system. When insulating, the goal is to reduce the negative effects of thermal bridges. This will ensure that indoor heat will not escape during winter and cooled air will not escape during summer.
You will need to obtain a building permit in Ontario before you:
construct any new building structure more than ten square meters in an area or place another structure on your property (such as a mobile home).
remodel, fix/repair, or add to your building.
build detached or attached garages.
do electrical work, plumbing, heating & ventilation, and air conditioning.
construct fireplaces or chimneys.
add new windows or entrances, change the size, or close windows or entrances.
install swimming pool enclosures, build decks attached to a building, or build detached decks more than 60cm above the ground.
before you relocate or demolish a part of a building or entirely.
finish former unfinished spaces within your building.
change the functionality of a building structure.
excavate or make a foundation.
construct a seasonal building.
And you will not need to obtain a building permit in Ontario for these renovations:
replacing siding or stucco with the same material.
replacing windows and doors without changing the structure of the opening.
minor chimney repairs such as installing a chimney cap.
upgrading insulation in your home walls, basement, attic, etc.
installing eavestroughs (the drainage contained within the property).
decorating, patching, painting.
installation of shelves or cabinets.
fence construction (pool enclosure fence not included).
replace or increase plaster or gypsum board (insulation).
To simplify and better understand whether your insulation project requires a building permit, you can consult with the entitled enforcing agency. If yes, you can get an application from your municipality or the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Note that applications for a building permit are submitted to your municipality, not to the provincial government.
Why are building permits important?
As you may understand, it is your responsibility as a homeowner to obtain a building permit before you start one of the constructions mentioned above. From fixing the basement, building a garage, to adding a room, or remodeling the interior of a house - renovation is today’s answer to moving. And with that comes responsibility. A building permit is granted when your project complies with the Ontario Building Code regulations. The framework establishes safe building practices with detailed administrative and technical requirements. It sets the standards for the construction of buildings to meet objectives such as safety, health, resource conservation, fire protection, and more.
EcoStar Insulation Company is proud to be serving the Greater Toronto Area and the suburban communities with professional insulation services since 2008. Whether it be a small maintenance issue or a top to bottom insulation project, peak or slow season, our team will help you find a solution that meets your building insulation needs at the best cost-quality ratio. And, if you still are uncertain if your insulation plan needs a building permit or not, we are at your service. The work of our installers complies with the Ontario Building Code regulations and we opt for sustainable and long-lasting insulation. Contact us to get a free estimate today.