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 Adding Space

Adding Space

Whether you are adding an extra room, a second storey, or an entire wing there are a few details to think about that will make your build as trouble free as possible. 

Before                                      After
cottage beforecottage-after

Building and Demolition Permits
Self Contained Living Units
Health Inspections
Upgrading Systems in the Main Home
Municipal Info

Building and Demolition Permits

A building or demolition permit is one of the first steps to be taken when planning an addition.  The municipality keeps a record of permits and the associated plans to use for community planning, taxation, but most importantly emergency planning and access. 

The building inspector carries out an inspection of the addition to ensure that it meets the standards set out by the Ontario Building Codes, municipal bylaws, fire codes, and health regulations.  Three inspections usually occur as the building progresses:

Rough in-at this point the building is just a frame with a roof.  Windows and doors should be installed, but no insulation or drywall.  This provides the inspector with full access to electrical and plumbing systems. Electrical service and wiring is installed, but no fixtures.  The plumbing system will be installed, but no fixtures.  The plumbing system will need to be pressure tested before further work can commence.

Completion-The addition must be inspected prior to habitation.

Post Completion-This inspection is to ensure that any deficiencies or commissions to the original plans have been addressed and brought up to code. 

Each municipality has its own by-laws regarding additions.  Your local building inspector or contractor will be able to provide information on:
  • obtaining permission from neighbours
  • minimum/maximum size requirements
  • demolition permits (if you are removing or partially removing an existing structure)
  • distances from lot lines or waterfront
  • health inspections (when adding substantially to the home or increasing the number bedrooms)
  • plumbing permits and approved plumbers
  • required distances from well and septic systems
  • access to town provided water and sewage
The cost of a permit is generally based on the square footage of the proposed addition, averaging out to about $0.35 per square foot.  Most municipalities have a ceiling on the cost of permits.  Failing to obtain a permit prior to the start of work can mean work stoppages, demolition or removal of the building, and fines. 

Health Inspections

Certain types and sizes of additions require a health inspection to be carried out prior to building.  This is essentially to determine if the existing septic system will be large enough for the requirements of the new addition.  This helps to prevent system overloads which can lead to early failure of the septic system as well as messy backups that can damage foundations and interiors.  It also helps to protect future owners from costly upgrades when the use of the home changes. 

Self Contained Living Units

Additions such as granny suites and self contained apartments are subject to certain limitations.  Check with your building inspector to determine the best way to proceed.

Upgrading Systems in the Main Home

 The mechanical systems in your home should be inspected by licensed professionals to ensure that the capacity is sufficient for the proposed addition usage. 

Heating/Cooling Systems
HVAC(heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems are installed based on the square footage and layout of the home at the time the system is installed. Adding 500-1000 square feet to your home, or introducing walls to a previously open space can reduce the effectiveness of your current HVAC systems.  Overloading this system can result in higher fuel consumption, inadequate environmental temperatures, unit failure, reduced unit life, and fire hazard. 

Electrical Systems
This is of particular concern in older homes where the service coming into the home is outdated or less than 200 amp service.  It can also mean an in adequate supply of available breakers needed to supply power to the addition.  Upgrading service can add significant costs to a project, but are worthwhile investments that provide a safe electrical supply for your family. 

Concerns regarding plumbing involve both water in and water out.  The main concern with plumbing systems is the availability of the supply and adequate pressure and water temperature. 

Urban areas require a plumbing permit when new water lines and fixtures are being introduced.  Many urban communities require plumbers demonstrate a knowledge of the water and septic systems by obtaining a license from that municipality.

Hot water tanks, boiler units, and water furnaces can also be affected by an increased demand for supply.  The units should be inspected for soundness as well as ensuring that capacity is adequate.

Septic systems are especially vulnerable to increases in waste. Interior piping is engineered to ensure that waste is effectively evacuated into the holding tank outside.  Increases in distance can reduce the rise needed to prevent back ups and odors arising from insufficient clearing.  Your building inspector will be able to help you determine the age and size of your current septic tank if you aren't sure, and a licensed plumber will provide advice on system requirements. 

The main purpose of any foundation is to support a structure. Instability in this support can lead to damage to the supported and attached structures and discomfort to the occupants. 

The foundation types most recommended for additions generally consisted of concrete footings poured below the frost line.  Drainage tile is laid outside the foundation and tied into the main drain for the home.  The foundation walls are then attached to the footings and tied into the existing foundation walls as it is built up to the desired height.  Since the height is usually level with the height of the main floor, the depth of the basement may vary from 5' to 10'.  A height of 24" or more above surrounding ground level is best to prevent snow build up and runoff from seeping through the plate and walls of the addition. 

Insulating the exterior of the foundation with Styrofoam serves a dual purpose.  It helps to keep out the external cold/heat and retains internal heat such as ground heat and radiant heat from underfloor ducting.  Leaving heat ducts exposed this area warms the space and keeps floors comfortable. 

Special consideration needs to be given to additions that will house bathrooms and kitchens.  Additional heat ducts may be needed to prevent pipes from freezing. 

Soil type
Footing components for all foundations must be four feet below ground level.  This reduces the possibility that the footing will sink and cause damage.  This is particularly important as the foundation, walls, and roof are tied to the existing structure.  Boggy soils may require an adjustment to the concrete used to pour the footings to improve the strength. 

Municipal Information

For more information on building and plumbing permits in your area, please contact the municipal office or the building inspector.

Dennis Fridgen
(613) 432-3290 www.admastonbromley.com
Arnprior Doug Schultz
Ext. 225
Barry's Bay
Andrew Peplinski (Andy) (613)756-2747 Ext. 216
Bonnechere Valley
Mark Schroeder   (613) 628-3101
Ext. 242
Brudenell. Lyndoch, Raglan
Info not available
(613) 758-2061 NA
Deep River
Info not available

(613) 584-2000

Greater Madawaska
Dennis Fridgen
(613)752-2222 ext.225 www.greatermadawaska.com
Head, Clara, and Maria
Info not available (613) 586-2526 NA
Info not available
(613)432-6271 www.hortontownship.ca
Killaloe, Hagarty, and Richards
Don Wrigglesworth (613) 757-2300 www.killaloe-hagarty-richards.ca
Laurentian Hills
Gerry Dupuis
(613) 584-4015 town.laurentianhills.on.ca
Laurential Valley
Claus Trost
(613)735-6291 www.laurentianvalleytwsp.on.ca
Madawaska Valley
Andy Peplinski
(613)756-2747 Ext. 216 www.madawaskavalley.ca
Info not available
(613) 623-5756 ext 225
North Algona Wilberforce
Mark Schroeder
(613)628-3101 ex. 242 nalgonawil.com
Arthur J. (AJ) Smith
(613) 735-6821
Ext. 1331
Levi Junop
(613) 687-5536
Ext. 2008
Info not available
(613)432-8166 Ext. 304
Doug Schultz
(613) 646-2282
updated April 2014

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