On My Obstacles Securing A City Of Toronto Building Permit

Riverdale / Playter Estates

Welcome to a new installment of Tales From Tennis Crescent, where I'm sharing my journey re-inventing a 1960s super-solid utilitarian plain-jane duplex on Tennis Crescent in Riverdale.

Last month I was finally ready to proceed with my project, where I'm adding both a second floor rear extension and a new third floor to my property. However, as excited as I want to be, I'm more inclined to feel overwhelmed at the level of detail and number of decisions required by me. It's been a lot for one person to take on. Despite having owned over 2 dozen properties in my life time, this one has required so many layers of paperwork required by 'the powers that be' at City Hall, that I now have even higher respect for the construction industry who navigate our City's bureaucracy on a daily basis.

Just when I thought I was through the most onerous challenge Navigating The Committee Of Adjustment For Toronto Real Estate, and had attended to some of the necessary hoops as I wrote in this recent post called Countdown To Construction – Tree Protection In Toronto, I breathed a big sigh of relief when the Construction Drawings for the Building Permit were finally stamped by my engineer and submitted by my architect to City Hall. I thought “Yea, next week demolition will begin and before the snow flies the new roof will be on the new structure which soon will be my Home!”

I was wrong.

Instead, a couple of weeks after the Application was made I received this:

Toronto Building
From the Chief Building Official and Executive Director


Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
Building Permit Application
2 Unit – Semi-detached – Multiple Projects
Toronto-Ward: Danforth (30)



Accompanying this defeating Headline were three pages of specifics outlining why my Application was being rejected.

For any of you embarking on your own Permit Application here's the entire list, so you can see the specificity the City invests in ensuring every detail is clear and concise. Otherwise, consider skipping down to the next paragraph where I address the most time consuming and costly issue outstanding before the Permit can be issued.


1. The submitted Architectural Plans are difficult to read due to the fact that all notes are boxed-in and surrounded by thick lined frames usually overlapping other notes in the same frames. Submit clear information for review.
2. There are three major areas of concern that must be clearly and conclusively resolved per Part 9 or Part 11 OBC.
1) Exiting Systems
2) Non-combustibility of exterior walls
and 3) FRR and STC rating of interior walls and floors.
I have entered a few notes directing to areas of the OBC affected by proposed work. Resolve, Revise and re-submit.

1. Any New Exposing Building Face at the proposed addition, that is located within a limiting distance that allows a Maximum Area of Glazed openings of 0 to 10%, shall be constructed in conformance with table Therefore any new walls must be of non-combustible construction (i.e. wood studs and trim are NOT PERMITED), must have minimum of 1 Hr FRR and must be covered by non-combustible cladding.
Any posts, within these walls, supporting beams, must also be of non-combustible construction.
Additionally please note that the R-24 Min Insulation between the wall studs is required to comply with CAN/ULC-S702 and have a mass of not less than 1.22 kg/m2 of wall surface per SB-2 (2.3.5.(2). Therefore, for a limiting distance of less than 4'-0″ spray foam insulation is not permitted. See OBC.
Submit wall assembly from MMAH Supplementary Standard SB-3 that satisfies the above requirements.
Note that there is no Compliance Alternative for Art. OBC.
Existing (Non-conforming) walls constructed more than 5 years ago can remain, with new insulation, Vapour Barrier and non-combustible cladding added without any repercussions.
Verify compliance to the OBC, adjust Wall Types 3A, 3B and 3C accordingly. Submit clearly and conclusively resolved documentation
2. Load bearing Steel Studs shall be designed per Part 4 OBC, in accordance with Submit Structural Drawings, sealed by P. Eng. Co-ordinate with Architectural plans.
3. The area of all openings on East Elevation shall be in compliance to Art. OBC. Submit information, including area of exposing building face, dimensions of all unprotected opening existing/proposed, and area calculations proving compliance to the OBC.

Submit detailed calculations proving compliance to the OBC.
Note that increased area of Unprotected Openings is not permitted on the South Elevation wall, that is located at a Limiting Distance of less than 4'-0″, per Art. OBC.
Compliance Alternative C-168 OBC permit existing openings of the same or lesser area to be relocated to another part of the same wall plane when the conditions of Compliance Alternative C-168 OBC are met. I.E. “Relocated windows shall be off-set by at least 300 mm (113⁄4¿), either horizontally or vertically, from opposing windows of adjoining buildings, where the buildings are less than 2400 mm (7¿-10¿) apart”
4. The new canopy shows a system of wire hangers supporting the proposed canopy structure. DWG A2.3 shows differently. Co-ordinate.
5. Indicate height of window sills above floor level and provide guards or otherwise protect the window opening as required per Art OBC.

1. Only proprietary products/elements evaluated by the Canadian Construction Material Centre (CCMC) as complying with the pertinent Codes and Standards are acceptable. All design details, handling and installation shall be in strict conformance with the manufacturers¿ specifications and instructions, including, for greater certainty, limitations and conditions imposed by CCMC.
Submit information RE: “NANAWALL SYSTEM”, to be compatible with the Wall Assembly requirement above.
2. Submit Wall Assemblies reflecting Non-combustibility requirements outlined above (Side Elevations Note 1)

1. A minimum of two exits are required from every floor area in accordance with Art 9.9.9 OBC. Please note that a shared exit (see is shown on plans. Submit documentation and references to OBC including Compliance Alternatives per Part 11. Document how these requirements are satisfied in the proposed exiting system, and indicate additional measures taken to bring to compliance.
2. In submitted Building Sections and on all floor plans show by hatching location of Fire separations and indicate their FRR and STC rating required by OBC.
3. FRR of 45 Min and STC rating of 50 shall be achieved with chosen assembly, on ALL walls and ceiling assemblies affected by proposed work. Or use the appropriate compliance alternative in Part 11 OBC.
4. Complete details are required for proposed exit stair, including the construction materials, the type of construction, dimensions (rise, run, tread), handrail and guard rail details, etc.
5. Complete details are required for proposed exit stair, including the construction materials, the type of construction, dimensions (rise, run, tread), handrail and guard rail details, etc.

1. An Administrative Permit is required prior to undertaking any work on the Party Wall.
2. A party wall on a property line, on a house where one dwelling unit is located above another dwelling unit, MUST be constructed as a Fire Wall in accordance with 3.1.10 OBC, as required by Art. 9.10.11 OBC.
The Party Wall at the 3rd level will be an exterior Party Wall, (because adjacent remaining structure is only a 2 story building), located on the property line and as such it shall be constructed to provide FRR of 1 hr, per OBC. The wall Assembly shall be selected from Table 1 MMAH Supplementary Standard SB-3. USE: Wall Number EW1a for 1 Hr Exterior wall. This wall shall provide R-24 Min insulation per OBC. Note subscript (6) on EW1 indicates that the absorptive material that this assembly has been tested for is Mineral Fibre Processed Insulating material. That excludes blown-in foam insulation Use Insulation conforming to CAN/ULC-S702, per 2.3.5. SB-2 OBC.
Additionally to the above the Party Wall shall be constructed in strict adherence to the OBC and TACBOC details. (Submit TACBOC details)
On Elevations show location and roof geometry of the adjacent semi-detached structure.
Submit clearly and conclusively resolved documentation required to verify compliance to the OBC

1. The proposed insulating material shall provide at its thinnest section, a minimum of R-31 insulation and shall be installed with vapour barrier on warm side of roof. What appears as an “Inverted” roof must provide the total R-31 insulation at the top layer identified as 2″ ROXUL TOPROCK. If the 11 1⁄2″ COMFORTBATT insulation is used to provide the required R-31, it shall be provide with 3″ CROSS VENTILATED air space (or 2 1⁄2″ if purlins are applied on top of roof joists), from top of insulation to the underside of roof sheathing, in accordance with Art. 9.19.1 OBC.
Detail, as shown, does not provide the required cross-ventilation and it is not acceptable.

Wall 3 C is identified as PARTY WALL (R-14). In plans Party wall is shown as Wall Type 3A. Described as “Existing exterior wall assembly¿.” Information is not correct and does not relate to a Party wall. Clarify please.

1. A soils report, sealed by a P. Eng, must be submitted.
The designing P. Eng shall use data/values/soil conditions appearing in this soils report to design the proposed Foundation System (Helical Piles). Submit all required documentation.

1. Show stair enclosure hatched. Indicate Rated doors with self closer and FRR and STD rating of walls and floors.

9. DWG A2.3:
1. In Proposed BSNT PLAN there is a Note Referring to “Contractor to site verify size of existing structure¿”
The size of the existing footings must be verified by digging at the footing level and visually inspecting existing footing. Compliance to Art. OBC must be confirmed.
Because the proposed floor joist span exceeds 16¿-1¿, you must use the alternative method, described in Supplementary Guidelines 10 of the Ontario Building Code, to investigate if the existing footings are adequate for proposed two storey structure. Or submit a sealed report from P. Eng verifying adequacy of existing structure. Same applies to the new and the existing footings. Submit for our review clear and concise calculations proving adequacy.
2. Proposed 2X12 @ 16 cannot span the width of the house as shown, unless they are designed per Part 4 OBC. Submit a sealed report from P. Eng showing any additional measures taken to provide adequacy, per art 4 OBC.

10. DWGS A5.0 & A5.1:
1. Remove all thick surround lines around boxed-in notes to make drawings less confusing. See also our General Notes, Note 1.above. Revise drawings to reflect OBC requirements, including Non-combustibility of construction, 1 Hr FRR, STC rating, etc.

Wall 3 C is identified as PARTY WALL (R-14). In plans Party wall is shown as Wall Type 3A. Described as “Existing exterior wall assembly¿.” Information is not correct and does not relate to a Party wall. Clarify please.



I will admit I felt defeated when I first read through the list. Here I am ten months into the year and I'm desperate to get this going. I truly don't want to delay until spring, in part because I'm now living in rented accommodations across the street to the tune of near $2000 a month in rent. Yup, the 'soft costs' of needing temporary accommodations are yet another expense on what is becoming a very costly endeavour. For anyone considering a substantial renovation, make sure your pockets are deep.

The most daunting of the 11 outstanding issues with the City are ensuring the existing footings of the house will support a new third floor, and that the soil at the rear of my property is conducive to Helical Piles which the rear 2 storey addition will sit on (I opted to go with Helical Piles as they'll have less impact on the tree root system of the massive maple that straddles my property line with my neighbour to the east). Now I'm not arguing the necessity of this information but apparently, according to my architect and engineer, sometimes the City will let an owner proceed with their project and, as demolition proceeds, the Building Inspector assigned to the project will work with the contractor in progress to confirm the necessary information. Not in this case, as it turns out. Sigh.

Now lined up over the next two weeks are my contractor, who will be digging out my garage floor to expose the existing footing and removing the rear deck (cost tbd), and Haddad Engineering Inc. who will be doing the soil test, measuring the footing, and creating a report – at a cost of $2850 – which will be submitted to City Hall along with revised Construction Drawings.

Here's a drawing where the red shows where the holes have to be dug for the footing and soil testing:



Hopefully this will all resolve itself in a timely manner where City Hall will be satisfied next go round and I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Will I be able to start the renovation before winter sets in? At this moment I don't know.

Despite having been engaged in the property market for 26 years, all I can say is this is not for the faint of heart. 

Stay tuned for more Tales From Tennis Crescent!


~ steve

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000


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