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What to Bring With You To the Permit Office

February 25, 2020

In this month’s blog series, we’ve outlined some of the benefits of starting your building project in the winter. Cold winter temperatures make it difficult to actually break ground and begin construction on a new building project. However, there are earlier steps in the construction process that you can tackle over the winter which will help you beat the summer rush. Namely, applying for building permits at your municipal permit office.

Consulting with the experts at Norsteel should always be your first step in the building process, but your second step should involve a visit to the permit office. While there are a handful of documents and forms that you’ll almost always require to apply for a building permit, not every municipality is exactly the same. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to visit your local permit office and ask for more information on what documents you’ll need to submit depending on the size, location, and functionality of your building.

However, as stated previously, there are a handful of documents that you can be certain your local permit office will want to see before they can review your application. Let’s examine these documents and look at some examples of what might be included in each.

Structural Drawings

If you want to acquire a building permit, you’ll need to submit a set of structural drawings which detail how your building will be built. Structural drawings are prepared by professional engineers and need to be certified – via an official seal or stamp – by an engineer who has the required certifications from the province or state in which the building is being built.

When you buy a building from Norsteel, we take care of this part for you. You will work with your own personal consultant and design team to produce a set of preliminary drawings. These drawings may change several times as you work through your structure and discuss your specific needs and requirements. Once you are 100% satisfied with the design, the engineering department takes over and produces a customized set of permit drawings for your specific building. These permit drawings are carefully engineered taking into consideration the specific codes/loads for your site location as well as the load requirements for your building’s intended use. No two sets of permit drawings are alike. These drawings, once completed, will be stamped and signed by the engineer who is responsible for your structure. He or she must be licenced to practise in your province or state.

Structural drawings provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of the load-carrying components of a structure, and of how they connect with one another. Structural drawings also provide an overview of the types of materials that will be used in the construction of the building (e.g., types and quantities of structural columns, connectors and support attachments, and fasteners/bolts.)

While structural drawings are required for permit approval, they also include detailed instructions that contractors can use to provide you with an accurate timeline for construction as well as a complete quote for the assembly of your building. These documents can and should also be included in any contract documents you sign with a contractor – this ensures that the scope and size of your building project is clearly outlined beforehand and that both you and your contractor agree on what will be included in the construction of your building.

Structural Drawing permit office
The drawing above offers a detailed overview of the rigid frame of a sample structure. The frame is the basis for a building’s structural support.

Below are some additional samples of drawings that would be included in your project’s package of permit drawings.

Structural Drawing permit office
The drawing above offers a detailed overview of a sample structure’s endwall framing. It also lists the parts that will be utilized and their dimensions.
Structural Drawing permit office
The above drawing is a detailed roof framing plan which provides a detailed overview of how the rafters and beams are fitted.

Foundation Drawings

In order to have your building project approved by the municipality, your permit office will also request a foundation drawing for your proposed project.

Within the permit drawings for your structure, you will be provided with precise locations for columns and the positioning of anchor bolts within the foundation. You will also be provided with building reactions. These are specific to each structure and are important calculations on which your foundation must be based.  

With these structural drawings in hand, you will engage a foundation engineer to design a foundation that will meet the requirements of your specific structure and site location. Just as your permit drawings are stamped by a licensed engineer for your province, so too will your foundation drawings be stamped by a foundation engineer who is certified for your location. Again, Norsteel can assist you in finding and working with a certified foundation engineer.

Structural Drawing permit office
The anchor bolt plan above shows the specific locations for columns and doors for a sample structure.

Additional Documents

The permit office will also need you to provide an updated site plan that includes information on all other structures on the property, along with accurate measurements of current property lines and boundaries. Depending on the location of your site, the permit office may also require that the owner provide things like soil testing and water drainage reports.

Depending on the complexity and intended use of your final building project, the permit office might also request that you provide information on electrical, plumbing, HVAC and insulation. The required complexity and detail of these forms will depend entirely on the specifics of your project, and can range from simple forms, to full architectural and engineered drawings that show precise locations, weights, and dimensions.

For large, complex projects, or small ones in complex locations, the end user typically consults with a general contractor who will be familiar with all the requirements and with the permit office itself. For do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, we always advise the customer to go to their municipal permit office before purchasing any metal building package, so that all the requirements are clear upfront.

permit office

Get Started Today!

When you buy a building from Norsteel, we become your partner throughout the construction process. We work with you, or with your general contractor, to ensure that all your building requirements are met. Your project is our project, and we’ll be with you the whole way through.

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