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Report your Toronto-area building permit frustrations on this website

This Toronto-area homeowner, endlessly frustrated (along with his award-winning, veteran design-build contractor) by the permit process, has put up a site for other contractors and homeowners to tell their stories of over-the-top delays and red tape in getting building permits.


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October 22, 2014 by Steve Payne

Dave Collings, a homeowner client of an award-winning Toronto-area design-build firm, recently went through a very frustrating tangle of red tape attempting to acquire a building permit for a build in Richmond Hill, Ont.  Having had enough, Collings and his contractor (Michael Upshall, ProBuilt) decided to build a website for anyone to report their frustrations getting permits in the GTA area.

The website is called ‘The Real Truth About Building Permits’ (www.therealtruthabout.ca).

They welcome your input there.

Here is what  Collings says, by way of introduction.

“A lot of professionals are getting frustrated with delays in the permit process.

(This) encourages homeowners to attempt major renovations without acquiring building permits or using certified professionals. Professionals grow tired of the bureaucracy and are turning down work or being selective where they work. Many have tried fighting the system, offering suggestions, but (usually) fail.

Depending of the type of work being done – painting or flooring, for example – it may be totally fine to use a home handyman. But if the renovation is more extensive, requiring electrical, plumbing and structural work, it is in the best interest of the home owner to protect themselves and get the job done right.

By the municipalities complicating the process to acquire a permit, (they are) allowing the uncertified trades to thrive and grow. Meanwhile, professionals that take the time and added expense to get certified, to continue to educate themselves, to become members of homebuilding associations, etc., are essentially being penalized for their efforts. In the long run everyone loses, quality suffers and – in some cases – the work needs to be redone at greater homeowner expense.”


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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2 Comments » for Report your Toronto-area building permit frustrations on this website
  1. Steve, Thank you for the post.
    We welcome all visitors to come give their story about acquiring building permits.

    • Ray says:

      Hate to say it but the permit issues are not just in Toronto. We build in cottage country north of Peterborough, Ontario. The process is long and drawn out.
      Just about everything is a variance or amendment. You never get told everything up front on what you need to do at the Township until after several trips back and forth. The Townships need a upfront list of checkbox’s that they can walk through with the owner or builder for each individual property. Not sure what the City of Toronto gives you.