Frequently asked questions
Information about permits & inspections
What is a building permit?
Building permits are regulated by the Winnipeg Building By-law and allow for construction to begin. This may include new construction, additions, or alterations to existing structures such as non-residential buildings and new homes or accessory structures including garages, pools, and decks. Building permits confirm that structures meet code requirements and must be obtained before beginning construction.
Why is a building permit required?
Building permits approve how your construction will take place. They require a review of detailed building plans to confirm compliance with the Manitoba Building Code and other applicable codes, standards and bylaws. Building permits must align with all prior development permit approvals. Many projects require separate trade permits for electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. Even if your designer or contractor get permits on your behalf, homeowners are responsible for ensuring required permits are in place prior to beginning any work.
What construction projects require building permits?
Projects that typically require a building permit
- Constructing a new building
- Any addition to an existing building
- Alterations to buildings
- Detached garages or accessory structures (storage sheds, gazebos, etc.) larger than 10 m2 (108 sq. ft.)
- Decks more than 600 mm (2’-0”) above ground level
- Enclosing an existing open deck
- Basement development
- Plumbing, electrical or air-conditioning systems
- Structural foundation repairs
- Pools, spas and hot tubs, or any structure capable of containing over 600 mm (2’-0”) of water
- Installing a solid fuel burning appliances such as wood stove or fireplace
- Commercial barrier-free ramps
- Temporary structures larger than 83.7 m2 (901 sq. ft.), such as special event tents
- Solar photovoltaic installations
- Demolishing or removing all or a portion of a building
Projects that typically do not require a building permit
These projects must comply with the building code and applicable zoning bylaw requirements:
- Replacing stucco or siding with the same material
- Replacing singles with the same material
- Fences (single/two family dwellings only)
- Detached accessory structures less than 10 m2 (108 sq. ft.)
- Open decks under 600 mm (2’-0”) in height
- Interior work (painting, patching, decorating, installing cabinets or shelves)
- Replacing doors and windows with the same size
What if I don't get a building permit?
Work done without a building permit may not meet the minimum building code requirements and could result in substandard construction which could lead to costly repairs to correct the problem. Work that does not comply with building code will require removal. The cost of a permit after construction has been completed will be charged as per the City of Winnipeg Fees and Charges By-law No. 196/2008 and as identified in the Planning, Development and Building Fees and Charges schedule, and legal action may be initiated to ensure compliance. Please call Permits Direct Line at 204-986-5140 prior to beginning any work.
What are the processing times for permits?
It is important to obtain all required permits and approvals and to submit your application(s) well in advance of your project start date to ensure your permit application is processed as efficiently as possible.
How can I obtain a copy of residential house plans or commercial building plans for a closed permit?
Obtain a copy of your house plans by contacting central files at email@example.com or 204-986-7395.
Refer to the Planning, Development and Building Fees and Charges schedule for associated fees.
To request a search, you must be the legal owner of the property or submit a written authorization signed by the owner when you make the request. Authorization should give you permission to access the building plans for the specified address. The following sample letters of authorization may be modified for your circumstance:
Examples of situations where written authorizations from the owner will be required include: search requests from a tenant, purchaser of the property, contractor, design consultant, or other professional engaged by the owner. Real estate agents acting on behalf of current owners/sellers may submit copies of the real estate listing contract instead of a letter of authorization. (Information in the commission section of the form may be deleted/obscured).
How do I learn if permits have been issued for a property?
Use the permit search by address tool. Knowing whether building permits were obtained may be useful in planning renovations or to decide on purchasing a property.
You do not have to be the legal owner of the property to request a search. Refer to the Planning, Development and Building Fees and Charges schedule for associated fees.
Request a search and obtain a copy of your permits by contacting central files at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-986-7395.
What is a zoning variance?
The Winnipeg Zoning By-law regulates land use and development within the city. Within each zoning district there are rules for development that apply to building setbacks from the property lines, building heights, lot coverage, etc. When a property owner finds it impossible or impractical to meet these rules for development, a variance application may be submitted to deviate from the provisions of the bylaw.
There are three types of zoning variances:
- Tolerance – up to five percent of the bylaw requirement
- Administrative – any variance B or C that is greater than five percent (or one foot)
- Community Committee - all other variance and conditional use applications
Refer to development applications for more information.
What is a conditional use?
Conditional use means a building or land zoning use that may be unique in its characteristics or operation which could have an impact on adjoining properties. For example, changing the use of a single-family dwelling into a residential care facility.
What if I have a concern about service received?
We are committed to providing effective customer service. If you have a concern related to a specific process or the type of service provided, we encourage you to ask to speak to the appropriate supervisor. All concerns will be reviewed and receive a response.
If you have a concern about a Manitoba Building Code related matter, the Winnipeg Building Commission is available to review the following:
- Approval of new methods or materials related to building construction
- Requirement to alter or install equipment under the Code or another bylaw
- Anyone affected by an order or decision by the designated employee with respect to construction materials or techniques
- Development and building permit process
- Bill 37
- Bill 38
- Development permits
- Protecting yourself from basement flooding
- Other permits and licences
- Call Before You Dig
Please contact us.
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