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Residential lot grading

Property owner responsibilities

Lot Grading Permits have been required since 1980. If your house was built before then, as the property owner, you are responsible for:

  • maintaining all lot grades that were established and approved by the City before the passing of this by-law or established by a lot grading permit,
  • ensuring that any surface water originating on your property does not damage neighbouring property, and
  • ensuring that roof downspouts, downspout extensions, sump pump hoses, and splash pads meet the requirements of the Lot Grading By-law.
Tips and things to remember
  • Ensure that there is proper slope away from the foundation, including the area under decks and steps.
  • Keep all drainage swales and grading along the common lot line unobstructed and free draining.
  • Add the final landscaping (e.g., topsoil, sod, or other decorative landscaping material) only after the lot has been certified by your surveyor. To obtain a copy of the Lot Grading Certification of your property, contact your builder.
  • Clean your eavestroughs and downspouts regularly. Make sure downspout extensions are discharging surface water onto your own property.

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If your property has been recently certified and you have questions about your grading or are having some drainage problems, contact your builder or surveyor.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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Proper lot grading keeps surface water away from your home and the weeping tile system. Your lot should be sloped away from the home to allow all surface water to flow to the property line and/or swales.

Call your surveyor to set the grades in order to establish substantial grading. Once you have completed substantial grading on your property, call your surveyor once again to survey your property and prepare a Lot Grade Certificate.

Contact your builder or surveyor and ask for a copy of the lot grade certificate.

No. Contact a qualified surveyor to provide you with lot grade certification.

Your substantial grade should allow for approximately 100 mm (4 inches) for topsoil and sod. If you are unsure of what the final grade is, contact your builder or surveyor.

Yes. If you are placing rock, mulch or bark, the substantial grade should allow for decorative material.

This depends on your builder or surveyor. Contact your builder or surveyor to get more information.

Yes. As soon as your property has been certified for substantial grading by your surveyor, you can put down topsoil and sod. We recommend that you obtain a copy of the Lot Grade Certification for your property from your surveyor.

You need to adjust the grade levels where instructed by your surveyor. Some adjustments may be as simple as adding some topsoil to a low area, or removing sod or soil from a high area.

It depends. If a concern or problem with the final grade is found, the surveyor will tell you what to do. Only the specified location(s) require improvement.

Talk to your builder or surveyor regarding inspection fees.

Yes. Any settlement should be repaired. Proper grading usually will not fail from minor rain damage, such as erosion channels at the downspout locations. Talk to your builder or surveyor to get more information.

Inspections depend on weather conditions. Surveyors will normally do lot grading inspections as long as they can see the ground and survey the elevations.

Once we receive a copy of the Lot Grade Certification and you fill out a deposit refund form, we will process your refund.

If you have any other questions, contact 311.

Last updated: February 24, 2014


As the property owner, you are responsible for maintaining the lot grade elevations established by the lot grade permit.

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