Plan Your Project

Step 1: Plan Your Project

Before you apply for a building permit, it's important to ensure that you review and understand the requirements of your particular project. For additional information about the building permit process, click here

A building permit is required for:

  • Any structure over 10 sq.m. (107 sq.ft.)
  • Any addition to a structure, regardless of the size of the addition
  • Interior alterations for non-residential units
  • Interior alterations for residential units if; a bedroom is created, a garage is converted to living space, a seasonal room converted to a year round use, etc.
  • Additional residential units
  • Granny / in-law suites
  • Finishing an unfinished basement
  • Installing solar panels
  • Installation of solid fuel appliances (i.e. woodstoves and fireplaces)
  • Any structural changes or repairs
  • A new entrance
  • A new window/door opening or a larger window/door in width
  • A deck
  • A shed over 15 sq.m. (161.5 sq.ft)
  • Adding new dormers
  • Enclosing a porch
  • Any change of use to a greater hazard (see O.B.C.
  • Signs installed on an exterior building face or roof
  • Free standing and portable signs
  • Any installation or alteration of a plumbing system (water supply, drain, waste or vent)
  • Converting from a well or septic to Town water or sanitary sewer

A building permit is not required for:

  • A detached accessory structure (gazebo, tool shed, etc.) that measures 15 metres square (161.5 square feet) in area or less*
  • Installing asphalt shingles on a roof
  • Minor roof sheathing repairs
  • Repointing of brick veneer
  • Replacing siding
  • Replacing doors or windows (provided they are in the same size opening)
  • Kitchen or bathroom cabinets (not including plumbing)
  • New flooring
  • Installation of air conditioning units or heat pumps
  • Fences (not enclosing a pool - see Fence By-Law requirements)
  • Pool heaters
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping

*Note: Although a building permit may not be required, your project must still comply with the Ontario Building Code, Zoning By-Law and any other applicable law/regulations/standards, etc.

If you are still unsure if you need a permit, contact our staff at 519-688-3009 ext. 4600 with details of the work you're planning. 

We've developed Doing It Right Guides for the most popular projects. These guides walk you through what you need in order to apply and provide details specific to your project type. If the guide you need isn't available, please contact us.  

Doing It Right Guides

Additional Information

Find out what applicable zoning by-laws apply to your property and project by visiting the County of Oxford website

If you don't know what your property is zoned as, you can contact us, or you can check using the maps below:

Interactive Map

Tillsonburg Zoning Map

The Building Code Act requires that a range of individuals and firms responsible for design activities regulated under the Act be qualified in their appropriate area of design and, when required, registered with the Province. Individuals and, in some instances, their firms must file with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to obtain a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN).

The Ministry’s Qualification and Registration Tracking System (QuARTS) includes a public registry of qualified designers and registered firms.

For more information about the Ontario Building Code in general, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website at

For certain projects, such as most industrial / commercial / institutional construction, a qualified or registered designer is not sufficient and the drawings must be stamped by an architect, professional engineer or both. Refer to Division C, Section 1.2 of the Building Code for specific requirements, or contact the Building Department. The seals and signatures of architects and professional engineers are required to be original on at least one set of drawings. Please refer to the Town of Tillsonburg permit application requirements for additional information. 

The following search terms can be used to find a qualified designer or registered firm on the internet:

  • BCIN drafting services
  • Drafting services
  • BCIN qualified designer
  • BCIN house designer
  • House designer Ontario
  • Registered and qualified designer
  • Registered and qualified designer BCIN
  • Registered design firm
  • Registered drafting services

In addition, the following Associations and Organizations have listings or contact information for local designers:

Once you have found a designer or firm, you can ensure that they are qualified in the area(s) of design that fits your project using the Qualification and Registration Tracking System (QuARTS) from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing


Disclaimer: The Town of Tillsonburg does not specifically endorse any individual designer or organization. This list has been assembled for general information purposes only. 

Take the next step...

Learn how to apply for your building permit.                                                             

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