Farmers should consult officials during the planning stage to reduce the risk of delays and extra costs
By Kate Ayers
Before constructing new or renovating existing facilities, farmers must apply for and obtain building permits.
While all property owners in the province must obtain such permits, “the application and enforcement of the Ontario Building Code varies slightly from municipality to municipality,” said Christa Roettele, OMAFRA’s spokesperson.
“Municipalities will have bylaws indicating the particular requirements, and owners should consult their local building departments early in the planning stages for construction projects.”
To acquire a building permit, property owners must show that the proposed building or renovation will comply with Ontario’s Building Code and Electrical Safety Code, OMAFRA’s “Building permit requirements to construct, expand or renovate farm buildings” article said.
Producers who want to build livestock or poultry facilities, or want to install manure storage tanks, must submit an approved nutrient management strategy with their building permit application. This strategy is under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002. Contractors must site these facilities to meet Minimum Distance Separation II setbacks.
“The purpose of a permit is to ensure that a project meets all applicable codes, standards and laws. By ensuring that the permit application submission illustrates conformance and includes all required documentation, the permit process can be greatly streamlined,” Roettele said.
For a complete permit application, municipalities may request
- a finalized permit application form (which may be municipality specific)
- a completed general review commitment form (which may be municipality specific)
- building plans and specifications including floor plans, elevations, structural drawings and mechanical/plumbing drawings
- a site plan showing the location of the proposed building and any required setbacks or separations
- a “code matrix” illustrating the results of the designer’s code review
- an approved nutrient management strategy for livestock, poultry or manure storage facilities
Farmers may need additional approvals for some projects, including permits to take water or environmental compliance approvals, the article said. Permits from the local conservation authorities may also be required in some cases. Without these approvals, municipalities may not issue building permits.
Farmers should submit proper documentation to their municipalities well before they plan to break ground.
“Upon receipt of a completed permit application and supporting documentation, the Ontario Building Code, Article 220.127.116.11. of Division C indicates the maximum time period within which a permit must be issued or refused,” Roettele said.
“In general, this period is 15 business days for buildings not exceeding 600 square metres (6,456 square feet) and 20 business days for buildings larger than 600 m2 in building area.”
Overall, producers should understand their obligations during the building process before they apply for permits.
“The owner is responsible for all permits and approvals. But the owner can have his or her consultant or contractor make certain applications or obtain certain approvals on his or her behalf,” Roettele said.
“It is strongly suggested that the contract between the owner and consultant and between the owner and contractor be clear on the roles of each party and the associated costs.”