Archive for the 'Building Permit' Category

July 15th, 2012
By Vivian Martin


Many renovations fall off the rails due to oversights of unplanned expenses. Do you think you have a firm understanding of all of the costs associated with your renow? They may go well beyond the cost of labour and materials for the job itself. Have you considered:

Hidden secrets. Few people know what secrets are hidden within their walls. Demolition could reveal a host of issues that could affect your estimated cost of renovation – mold, creepy crawly colonies, faulty plumbing or wiring, even structural issues! You will want to make sure you have a contingency fund for the what-if’s.

Building code requirements. Depending on where you live, you may face requirements to upgrade your renovated space to current codes. Some examples are wiring upgrades, smoke alarm systems and even energy and seismic upgrades. A bit of research before committing to a remodelling job is recommended.

Offsite storage. Tradespeople are not contortionists. In order for them to work effectively, you’ll need to store stuff that could be in the way. If you don’t have garage space, a basement, a willing friend with extra space (how many of those exist?!) you may have to rent a storage unit for the duration of the project. You’ll need to pad the timeframe a bit as well… Few renovations happen on schedule.

Utility expenses. Table saws, nail guns, paint sprayers and floor sanders all require power and that will add to your utility bills. Heavy traffic will mean frequent door-opening and that will increase your heating and cooling costs, especially during hot or cold weather.

Eating out. Particularly if your project includes a kitchen remodel, you will need to budget to eat out or by pre-prepared foods. When you are in the midst of construction clutter, it is often just a sanity-saver to eat out but these expenses add up quickly!

Creature comforts. Unless your contractor includes a pet-whisperer on staff, you may need to kennel pets during the most intensive phase of construction. This is a far better option than trying to find an escaped pet or deal with a new-found neurosis!

Dumpsters and port-a-potties. These are common expenses that are overlooked. Construction refuse has to be disposed of and this is rarely free. Likewise, unless you want your powder room to suffer some industrial traffic, a portable loo will ensure less disruption to your home.

Always think of your renovation as if Murphy’s Law is poised and ready and you will not find yourself stopping a project before completion just because things did not go perfectly and the budget ran out.

Finally, don’t forget that the expenses don’t stop when the job is complete. Major additions or updates can increase your home’s assessed value, filtering through to your tax bill. Assessment departments have ready access to building permit departments and that can lead to an increase in your assessed value. Of course you don’t want to do an unpermitted renovation to avoid your potential tax increase.

April 7th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

There are a number of different construction standards for low energy and/or green homes in Canada. Depending on the region of Canada you are in, you may be familiar with one or more of the following standards:

Energy efficiency is the key objective of virtually all of the certification programs and the EnerGuide rating system is the key reporting mechanism used.

An EnerGuide rating is a standard measure of a home’s energy performance. Ratings are calculated by professional EnerGuide rating service energy advisors (also referred to as a Certified Energy Advisor or CEA) from information collected during the analysis of building plans and the results of the blower door test performed once the house has been built.

The home’s energy efficiency level is rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and requires no purchased energy on an annual basis and is referred to as a net-zero house.

A rating or 80 or higher is the NRCan’s goal for all new housing.

The rating is determined by collecting detailed information about the home’s energy systems, construction materials and assembly and inputting that information into an energy simulation modeling program developed by Natural Resources Canada. To factor out the influence of occupants habits (i.e., to measure the way the house itself uses energy, not the energy-using habits of its occupants), standard operating conditions are used in the rating.

The assumed variables are:

  • four occupants in the house
  • a thermostat setting of 21°C (70°F) on main floors and 19°C (66°F) in the basement
  • a total domestic hot water consumption of 225 litres per day
  • lighting and appliance electricity consumption of 24 kilowatt hours per day
  • a minimum monthly average ventilation rate of 0.35 air change per hour during the heating season

When construction is complete, the CEA verifies the applied energy upgrades and performs a blower door test. After the data has been collected, the home receives its EnerGuide for New Houses rating.
The home owner is provided an official label to display the rating on the home’s furnace or electrical box.

For more information on the NRCan’s EnerGuide rating system for new homes, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources Canada.

Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.

September 4th, 2010
By Vivian Martin

Are you an insufferable romantic? While “cordwood masonry” sheds employ a building method of days gone by, they still have an unmistakeable charm. This cordwood shed is a particularly charming and whimsical interpretation of this lost building method.

Article excerpt courtesy of Sunset Magazine

Creative ideas for backyard retreats, detached home offices, and reinvented sheds

Fairy tale eco shed

Photography by John Granen, Kathleen Brenzel

Gail and Mark Dupar’s shed looks like a cozy vacation cabin, or something out of “Hansel and Gretel.” But the cordwood structure is really the nerve center of the couple’s kitchen garden on Decatur Island in Washington’s San Juans.

Here they start seedlings, arrange flowers, raise tomatoes, store tools, and dry freshly harvested shallots on the warm brick floor.

Photography by John Granen, Kathleen Brenzel

Tour the cabin’s creative details

A note of caution… If you are looking to add a cordwood garden shed to your property, it is best to first check with your local permit office. We have a previouse blog entry on this topic here. For alternate shed options, you may also wish to look at the DrummondHousePlans Shed Collection.

August 30th, 2010
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 2961-16 - Plan # 2961-16

Adding outbuildings and sheds can increase your property values and add much-needed space and efficiency. When adding a building to your property, you need to be aware of your local guidelines.

The best thing to do is to check with your local permit office for details on what buildings require permits and which buildings may be exempt. Often, a building under 100 sq.ft. without a permanent foundation will not need a building permit. But still ensure you are familiar with local regulations regarding size limits and setbacks.

Permits are normally set by the provincial building code, but enforced by municipalities. The reason for the permit process is to ensure that zoning requirements for the town or city are met and that safety and fire codes are also met. Zoning regulations can usually be found in the town or cities zoning by-laws. Municipalities and towns may add specific zoning requirements for their area.

The realtor’s mantra of location, location, location applies to these buildings. They cannot impact septic tanks, property lines, easements, utility lines, water, or drainage systems. Some places may also have rules regarding placement in relation to public roads or separation from the home. Areas with a building scheme may also have conditions on the type, size and location of storage building placement. Some subdivisions may not even allow the construction of sheds so it is best to do your homework to make sure you are a good neighbour.

If a building permit is required, you may be required to provide a diagram illustrating the location of the proposed building. Included will be the location of existing structures, water lines, power lines, septic tanks, and property lines. Again, your local permit office will be the best place to start.

When constructing a larger storage building, shop or garage, construction plans are required to obtain building and development permits, which may include:

- A plan illustrating the dimensions of the proposed building

-  Cross-section building plan showing the material used for the roof, walls, and floor.

Depending on where you live and the complexity of the building (structural, electrical, plumbing) you may require an inspection or inspections be conducted by the building inspection department. You can also avoid headaches and frustration by allowing plenty of time for the issuance of your permit and required inspections.

Knowing the steps to securing a permit will make the process of adding storage or workspace will make the process much quicker and easier.

Drummond House Plans has a great variety of sheds, garages, and even garages with bonus space above. At Drummond, we can be customized sheds and outbuildings to complement your home by echoing the architectural elements or simplify the look to blend into the background.

May 20th, 2010
By Vivian Martin

The May long weekend is upon us and the promise of spring is all around. The long weekend can be relaxing, productive or both! Just in case you are wondering what to do with your first long weekend, we have compiled our “top 10″ list of activities:

1. Open the cottage.We have recently blogged on this topic. It is time to bring your recreation property out of hibernation to allow for maximum enjoyment for the rest of the summer.

2. Plant a veggie garden. The May long weekend is traditionally a safe time to plant all of your vegetables. The risk of frost is virtually past. If you are a novice to the art of planting veggies, fear not! Growing veggies, is fun and the product is rewarding. If you don’t have a family member or neighbour with a green thumb, the Internet is a great place to become an armchair market gardener. Great reference sites include:

3. Garden Centre Tours – Once you know what you are planting (or even if you do not!) a trip to your local garden centres is in order. Just remember that potted plants are fragile and need to be pampered until you get them in the ground. Allowing them to dry out, even once, will affect the health of the plants. Because of this, resist the urge to over-purchase. You can always do a trip back to pick up more.

4. Road trip! – This is a great time to be a local tourist. Pay a visit to your local tourism centre and get a local attractions guide. You can do several day trips or a weekend excursion which ties into the next item…

5.  Camping – The May long-weekend is often the first major camping weekend. Campsites are normally at a premium so you are best to book a site before leaving to avoid disappointment. Critical grocery items? Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Camping is just not the same without S’Mores!

6. Build a deck – Summer living often involves a lot of outdoor living and great decks help with staycations –  vacations in your own back yard! If you are very visual, try an online tool  like the one at TimberTech to help you get a better idea of what your deck will look like. And don’t forget your building permit!

7. Time for a new BBQ? If your old BBQ just doesn’t cut it anymore, it may be time to look for a new one. What better way to kick off the vacation season than grilling something special! If you are not sure which BBQ is best for you, this article may be helpful.

8.  Build a shed. Many home improvement stores include shed kits which can be quickly and easily assembled. If you are looking for something a bit more substantial, check out the DrummondHousePlans shed and storage collection. As always, make sure you have a building permit if one is required.

9.   Shakeout cruise! The May long weekend is often the first outing in the family pleasure craft. It is important to note that all Canadian boaters operating a powered watercraft for recreational reasons in Canada need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or they risk a $250 fine. If you haven’t already written your exam, you can actually do so online.

10. Property hunting. On the May long weekend, realtors notice a marked spike in the number of clients who search for “that perfect place” for either their next home or vacation getaway. Most places look attractive at this time of year. Remember the property selection mantra… “location, location, location.” And when you have the perfect location, let the friendly staff of DrummondHousePlans help in the selection or customization for your perfect space.

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and be sure to play safe and stay safe!

March 27th, 2009
By Yves Carignan

Fridays are not always the same…  This one, is a particular “positive Friday” !  Since I was very busy and out of the office most of the week, I decided to go through my e-mails and found this one who really made my day !

“Dear Mr. Girouard (Dan Girouard is our production manager),

I would like to express my thanks for the efforts Johnny Graziani did on changing our house plans.

While the modifications to our plans were not much out of the ordinary, we ran into some unexpected administrative discussions with our town in getting the needed permits. This required additional modifications to the plans with a very quick turnaround time. Johnny made sure that he understood our needs, worked within the limitations of his staff and assisted us in getting preliminary versions of the needed changes so we could work with the town as quickly as possible. Johnny could easily just told us that his schedule was fixed and we would have to wait until his team could complete the work efforts. But instead, he worked with me to understand what the minimum we needed was and how he might be able to get this done quickly.

It was truly a pleasure working with Johnny and the resulting plans match our needs perfectly. I hope all the people in your organization are as pleasant as Johnny to work with.

Kind Regards / Viele Grüße,

Thomas Voshell
Director Industry Solutions
Constituent Services
SAP Labs
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004 USA

We can get recognition from our industry partners but nothing matches that kind of comments to me !  Thanks for your e-mail Mr. Voshell and I want to congratulate our modification team, Johnny, and Dan who does a great job managing all the production team.

To answer your question, Mr. Voshell, I am sure all the people in our organization are as pleasant as Johnny !…  Except myself, sometimes !!!   ;o)

Have a great week-end everyone !

September 18th, 2008
By Yves Carignan

Last Monday, I posted this messsage on my personal blog from one of our many satisfied customers :o)

Good Afternoon,

We recently purchased one of your designs and are currently in the process of having these plans approved by our local building inspector.  We thought we would share some comments he had about your design. 

We are going to be doing our own construction and we were very impressed by the detail provided in your plans.  Our building inspector indicated that he has never seen such complete and detailed plans and that it was a pleasure to review.  Your plans will not only be a hugh benefit to us as we begin to build but it obviously has facilitated the approval process.


Linda Lindsay, Flinton, ON

(original content posted on

Considering the fact that the Ontario Building code is very strict, including the BCIN, we are very pleased with that kind of comments from our customers.  So, Ontario customers, get the peace of mind with Drummond’s plans !




January 2nd, 2008
By Timbermart

Deciding on which contractor will build your home is a critical step in making your dream a reality.  There are many things to consider when making your choice.


The contractor’s role is to control the construction process and manage all aspects of the job from start to finish.  They will work from your floor plans, obtain the necessary permits for construction in your local area, and arrange for materials to be delivered to your site from your local lumber yard when needed.  The contractor will also manage other necessary trades people (excavation, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, drywall installers, etc.) that will work on your home so that they arrive when needed and complete their jobs efficiently and quickly.  All this will be done in a time frame that you agree on and at a quoted cost.

Contractors should be members of the provincial or local home builders’ association which requires them to conform to a code of ethics as well as attend courses on the latest techniques, building code requirements and technologies to remain in good standing.  They should also be licensed to work in your area and you should be able to see these licences upon request.

Contractors should also carry insurance in case of an accident during construction or in the event of a dispute.  You should be familiar with the rules required by your local government, your home owner’s insurance policy and your bank to ensure that you understand the liabilities involved with building a home and how to protect yourself.


It takes more than just looking in the phone book to find a contractor.  A good place to start is often with friends, family or neighbours.  Ask them if the contractor they used lived up to expectations and delivered what was agreed to.  Ask if they had any problems with the contractor and, if so, how they were resolved.  Most importantly, ask if they would hire the same contractor again.  You want to know they have a good reputation and a history of satisfied customers. 

Your local home show can be a perfect place to look for local contractors who do the type of work that you are planning.  You will be able to talk with several contractors and see photographs of their projects while learning about construction materials and getting advice from professionals.

You can also approach the Canadian Home Builder’s Association (visit They will be able to put you in contact with contractors from your local area that are members in good standing.


Before you begin hiring, take the time to do research.  Go online to familiarize yourself with the materials and local requirements for your job.  You can’t expect to learn as much as the professionals, but by educating yourself you will more likely be able to identify a contractor that may not be fully competent (or even dishonest).  Educating yourself now will also save you time and increase your confidence later when it comes to making decisions like picking fixtures and making choices on items such as flooring materials that will have to be done when construction is under way.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 21st, 2007
By Timbermart

Adding a garage is not only practical – it also increases the resale value of your property. With planning, excavation, foundation, construction, electrical and other costs, a simple garage can easily cost upwards of $10 000. Such an important project requires some serious planning.


Budget is the starting point with just about any construction project. A garage is no different. Start by deciding how much you can afford to invest in your new garage.


How you plan to use the garage is the largest factor influencing design. Will you use the garage for:

- Parking a vehicle or vehicles?
- Storage?
- Workshop?
- Additional accommodations?

Will the garage require;

Electrical outlets?
Windows or a service door?
Heating or insulation?

Take time to carefully consider all of the uses you want now and in the future. You may only have one car now, but down the road you might wish you had planned for a two-car garage.


An unnecessarily large garage will cut the amount of useable space on your property, while one that is too small will limit its uses. When is comes to size, build as large as possible while still being practical and affordable. This will allow maximum flexibility for the future even if all the space is not used right away.

To better visualize the layout of your garage, do a sketch on graph paper including rough size dimensions. This will help when discussing the project with a professional.


Regardless of whether you purchase plans or have them custom designed; you will require them in order to receive the necessary building permits from your town or municipality.


Your plans will need to be approved by local authorities that will issue the appropriate building permits. Often multiple permits are required for electrical, structural, foundation and other work. Check with your local municipality for the complete regulations in your area. Remember that obtaining permits is not optional – it is a legal requirement.


Your final decision is whether to hire a contractor or build it yourself. Although doing it yourself will save on labour, building a garage is a complex project that should not be undertaken by inexperienced individuals.

A contractor can manage every step of construction including permits and working with sub-trades like foundation and electrical. You may spend a little more, but the results will be worth it.


Plans and materials estimate
Financing costs
Site preparation, excavating and grading
Foundation / footings
Framing and carpentry
Windows and doors
Exterior siding


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