Necessary Knowledge, Toronto Infill and New Home Construction

Building a house or an addition is a chain of different contractors, material suppliers, workers and many other people linked to each other,so the key element  to have a successful project, is to plan it from step one to the final step before you hammer your first nail. This article covers a lot of necessary knowledge that will facilitate navigating the waters of a new home construction or infill project.

Creating a blue prints can be considered as creating a general plan for your construction, where all of steps will be carefully thought from beginning to end, agreed and approved. So do not be lazy and spend extra time to plan ahead as it will save you a lot of money in a future. There are two main stages of building process: creating blue prints and actually building your project. To begin with your project let’s visit city building department first…

  1. Zoning
  2. Committee of adjustment
  3. Survey
  4. Heritage, Conservation Area & other special permits
  5. Area Value
  6. Creating an Idea
  7. Building Permits approval


Zoning. Since every area in the city is planned by special department in municipality it is important to find out by-laws for particular area where your project is located. Each municipality establishes a set of rules that work for certain area/zone. By-laws determent the size of the house possible to build, the heights of the house, how many units can be placed on one lot, etc.

Committee of adjustment

Committee of adjustment. In many cases current by-laws would not allow you to build exactly what you want and can seriously diminish your future house. In the case when your project is out of by- laws regulations you may apply for city committee of adjustment and push your project despite regulations. In current construction boom era In GTA passing your project through the committee is rather a rule than exception.


Survey. In many cases survey is providing with the house, but in some case it is essential to get survey from licensed specialist. Survey is a written document, given to the property by licensed specialist to provide full information about your piece of land. It will outline where city lines are, total area of the property, what are the registered buildings on your property and their dimensions. Once you have this document you can plan your future construction and find out if it’s possible to avoid committee of adjustment.

Heritage, Conservation Area & other special permits

Heritage, Conservation Area, Trees Permits. In some cases the houses are protected by the law as historical or conservation area sites and either cannot be alter at all or need to be worked on under special supervision from municipalities and with final approval from them.  In any case if your property in special zones it will imply additional costs and time. So usually when you making an initial search in regard to the piece of property/ house, it is important to check with municipalities for such special cases to have full picture about your future construction.

Area Value

Area Value. Once you checked with the city and rough ideas of future project are flying in the air it is important to make property assessment as well as future value of accomplished project to find out the “financial room” you have for your project. What will make sense an addition or building a new home?  In majority of situations the answer depends on the increased value of the property after a project would be completed. Those and other questions of financial side of the construction are studied more closely in “Budget calculation” section.

Creating an Idea

Creating an idea. When you have rough ideas about your future house and approximate number for the budget it is time to start work on the project`s drawings. Professional designer or architect will listen all of your ideas and wishes about washrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and thousand other things you would like to have in your new home and will help you to make your project on paper, ready to be build by your general contractor. Professional designer will make sure that you are following OBC and other city regulations, drawings would be accepted and approved by the city and help you understand the cost for your project as well as advise you how and where you can save.

Building Permits approval

Building Permits approval. Once you create your idea on paper its time to prepare the entire set of all required documents and submit it to the city. Obtaining permits is a final part of the Planning & Design process. No matter how detailed your drawings, it s always a work to approve your project through the city departments especially if you are going through committee of adjustment. City will always ask for minor adjustments to be applied to the project, additional documentations or engineer calculations to be submitted, or by simply calling to the city and remind them about your project and due dates.

City would require the following package of documents to be submitted:

  1. Drawings. Once we made your ideas on paper we have to do it in drawings according to the North American drafting standard and submit it to authorize city divisions for review. Upon completion the city would issue a permit to build on the requested property. Each set of drawings including.
    1. Existing property drawings.
    2. Site plane
    3. Layout of all floors
    4. Elevation
    5. Section Details
  1. HVAC Design and calculations. City needs an HVAC calculation and design to be presented in order they can review your heater and air conditioning systems. Will it produce enough BTU`s to heat your house? What are the proposed routes for air ducts and if it’s not in conflict with OBC and city standards.
  1. Survey if necessary.
  1. Structural Engineering, required calculation. Professional engineer have to calculate our project and approve it with his seal. This is done to make sure that all the bearing walls are made according to code and simple physic`s law and your house would not fall apart once its build.
  1. Additional papers. If your project is require additional permits from one of the departments like (Conservation, Heritage, Planning, Transportation, etc) they also have to be obtained prior to apply for city Building Permit.

Once all documents are received we are ready to submit them to the city. It takes about 4-8 weeks for city to approve unless we are going through committee of adjustment or any other city departments.