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Building Department

Updated: Jan 2, 2024

The Chief Building Official Ed Podniewicz provides building department services to Howick and is available to meet with residents at the Howick municipal office.

To schedule an appointment, an inspection or to answer any of your building inquires please contact the Howick municipal office via mail (44816 Harriston Rd, RR 1, Gorrie Ontario N0G 1X0), email Ed at, fax (519-335-6208) or phone (519-335-3208 ext 6).

Building Permits

Important Information once you receive your Building Permit

  • Building Inspections require 48 hours notice
  • Permits must be posted at the site
  • Plans on site must have makings " Plans reviewed by Township Office Building Department"
  • Shop Drawings for trusses with Engineers Stamp on site
  • Shop Drawings for Engineered wood products on site

Building/Sewage Permits Documentation

Frequently Asked Questions

A building permit is a formal approval to construct, add to, move or remove a building on your property.

The Ontario Building Code Act requires that a building permit be obtained for the construction of a new structure, or an addition or alteration of any structure which results in a building area of more than 10 m2 (108 square feet).

Please note: that it is illegal to construct or demolish a structure without first obtaining a building permit. Anyone found guilty of building without a permit or has not followed an order issued by a Building Official can be fined under the Ontario Building Code Act.

Building Inspections protect the interests of both the individual and the community as a whole. The Building Department ensures that all construction in the municipality meets the Building Code’s minimum standards for fire and structural safety standards. The review by a qualified individual also ensures the plans comply with the regulations of the local municipal zoning by-laws as well as all other applicable laws and regulations.

Please note: If the contractor or designer obtains the building permit on your behalf, it is still the building/property owner who is ultimately responsible for complying with all building requirements.

Examples of works that require a building permit:

  • Construct a new building 
  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Install, change or remove most walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of windows and doors
  • Add a skylight
  • Build a garage
  • Build a balcony or deck (over 2 feet off the ground)
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning ductwork
  • Reconstruct a chimney, add a wood burning fireplace
  • Duct work

Examples of works that do NOT require a Building Permit:

  • Replace existing, same-size doors and windows
  • Install siding on small residential buildings
  • Build a roofless deck less than two feet in height
  • Build a utility shed less than 10 m2 (108 square feet)
  • Re-shingle a roof, providing there is no structural work
  • Install eaves trough, providing that drainage is on your own property
  • Replace or increase insulation, dry-wall or plaster
  • Damp-proof basements
  • Paint or decorate
  • Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Erect a fence (fence will need to comply with Municipal regulations)
  • Replace existing forced air furnace (that does not include any duct work)
  • Minor electrical work

Note: Although a building permit may not be required, you must still comply with the requirements of the Zoning By-law, and other application laws and regulations.

Building permit applications can be obtained at the Municipal office or on this website under forms.

As of July 1, 2005, building permit applications submitted to municipalities must use the provincially mandated building permit application form. In addition to the “Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish”, there are Schedules for “Designer Information”, “Sewage System Installer information”, and “Plumbing Information”. Assistance with these forms can be obtained from the Building Inspector. As an application can not be considered until it is “complete” there is a check list provided to assist the applicant when completing the documentation.

It is very important to first inquire at your Municipal Office as to whether or not the construction you are proposing complies with the Municipal Zoning By-law. If it does not, you must then decide if you wish to proceed with the variance or amendment process – estimated time for an application to be processed, including required notice and appeal periods - 8-10 weeks. Details of this process can be obtained at the Howick Municipal Office.

In order for your building permit to be processed in a timely manner, it is important to ensure that all requirements of outside agencies have been met BEFORE you submit your application. These requirements could include a septic tank permit, approval of the Ministry of Transportation, or if your property is within a regulated area, a permit from the Conservation Authority. These permits must be obtained and submitted with the building permit application.

HVAC (Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning) CALCULATION - When building a new house, or if the planned renovations involve updating the heating or air conditioning systems, the homeowner is required to submit an HVAC calculation completed by a qualified HVAC technician.

PLANS - the Inspector requires 2 sets of building plans (floor plans, elevations and cross sections, roof trusses, and heating as appropriate) for both large projects and smaller projects such as a garage or similar accessory buildings.

SEPTIC TANK INSPECTIONS - For those properties serviced with private septic systems, a septic review will be required if the proposed addition exceeds 15% of the existing area. In addition, a septic review will also be required if a planning approval is necessary prior to proceeding (ie. minor variance, consent, zone

If an existing structure is being removed, you will require a demolition permit. If you are rebuilding on the site, the demolition permit can be issued in conjunction with the building permit. If the building to be demolished is served with municipal water and/or wastewater, the operating authority of these systems (OMI) must
complete the capping and all inspections.

When most residential applications are submitted, the Building Inspector has 10 business days to review the submission. If all the required information is provided, (including the septic tank permit, if applicable) the building permit will be issue within the 10 day review period. If during the review, the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant will be notified as soon as possible of the documentation needed. Once all the required documentation is received, the inspector has 10 business days to issue most building permits however the time period may vary depending on the class of building/structure. 

Locating Underground Utilities:

Homeowners needing to locate underground utilities can call Ontario One Call 1-800-400-2255 or Please note Ontario One Call will locate water, sewers, gas, telephone etc at no charge within 5 business days. Please note, locates are good for 30 days only.

During construction, several mandatory inspections are required to ensure that all work is done in compliance with the approved plans and the Ontario Building Code. Inspections do not happen automatically – it is your responsibility to ensure that either you or your contractor contacts the Municipality to arrange for an inspection. The required inspections are listed on the permit, and include ( but are not limited to) footings, foundation pre-backfill, framing, insulation–air and vapour barrier, completion of air barrier system, fire separations, plumbing, HVAC, final interior and exterior.  Please note, the inspector must be able to see the part of the work to be inspected.

Failure to have inspections performed may result in having to uncover and expose work for inspection.  Inspections must be booked at least 48 hrs in advance.

Planning to build, renovate or make repairs?

The building department and its Inspectors ensure that all buildings that receive building permits comply with the Building Code. They also respond to allegations of building code violations.

For more information on these, please see the Ontario Building Code Act.

Barrier-Free Access Guideline

A multitude of emerging opportunities exist to reduce barriers that prevent many people, but especially our disabled population, from enjoying full inclusion.  A key area where Municipalities have direct influence over improving barrier-free access for persons with disabilities is through the development process.

As properties are being developed through new construction or redevelopment, there is a significant opportunity and obligation for Municipalities to ensure that the facilities being constructed are accessible. 

Please see Howick's Accessibility Guideline for Site Plan Control for more information.

Call Before you Dig!

Related links: (for utility locations) (formerly Ontario New Home Warranty Program)

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Get In Touch

Ed Podniewicz Chief Building Official

519-335-3208 ext 6