Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Municipal Office is closed to the public. Building Services is still taking permits digitally and conducting only necessary inspections. We have now adopted the computer program Evolve to take electronic applications. Launching this technology is timely as it will enhance the safety of our staff and yourself while we practice social distancing. We will continue to serve our community in a modified method designed to increase your efficiency.

At this time, building permits will be accepted electronically by applying online. Click on the Cloudpermit icon below:

Visit CloudPermit application

For step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a building permit through Cloudpermit, please see our How to apply for a building permit document. If using Cloudpermit is not possible, please email your application documentation to If it is not possible to apply electronically, applications can be left at the Municipal office drop-box outside the main door of the Municipal Office/Plex located at 600 Tomlinson Drive, Port Elgin. 

View more information on applying for a building permit and the new mandatory inspections stages process on our Building Services Information Sheet.

Saugeen Shores Building Services can help with your building projects. We issue building permits and assist with:

If you are thinking of doing work to your home or property, we can help you create safe, accessible and sustainable buildings, and apply and follow building standards. We also evolve with the changing construction industry.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Where do I start?

Before applying for any building permits, you must first know whether your construction plans meet legal zoning and property uses. One example of a zoning requirement is the minimum distance needed between an addition and your property line.

What else must I know?

You must comply with all applicable laws when starting a build. This may include:

  • Regulations from the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority. This process requires added time and money.
  • Site plan control regulations (R1 and R2 exempt).
  • Private septic system placement relative to construction, if applicable.
  • Any regrading work, which does not negatively affect your neighbour's drainage. All new house construction requires a Lot Grading and Drainage Plan, prepared by a professional engineer (P.Eng), certified engineering technologist (CET) or Ontario Land Surveyor (OLS) as applicable.
  • Approval from a condominium board by way of a letter or email, if applicable.

How do I obtain a building permit?

  • Complete an Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish, or pick up a paper copy at our municipal office.
  • Include the following documents:
    • A site plan
    • A lot grading and drainage plan designed by a professional engineer (P.Eng), certified engineering technologist (CET) or Ontario Land Surveyor (OLS) as applicable (required for new builds)
    • Two sets of plans and specifications (one set will be returned to you to keep on the construction site)
  • Submit your completed application and required documents one of the following ways:

    • In person or by mail to the Municipal Office at 600 Tomlinson Drive PO Box 820, Port Elgin, ON, N0H2C4

    • By email to Building Services. Please note, you will be charged a printing fee ($18.08 per page larger than 11x17”, $0.36 per page smaller than 11x17”) when submitting by email as we require physical copies of required documents.

What information must be provided to obtain a permit?

Please see Section 3.2 of our Building By-law for more detailed information about complete application requirements for specific types of buildings.

How much will a building permit cost?

View the following list for fees associated with building new buildings or structures:

  • Residential Buildings, Additions & Renovations - finished space: $9.95 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Residential Buildings, Additions & Renovations - unfinished spaces: $6.45 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Commercial, Group D and Group E: $10.71 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Assembly/Institutional, Group and B: $11.76 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Institutional or Group A Assembly Occupancies: $11.76 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Industrial, Group F1, F2 and F3: $8.09 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • New Accessory Buildings for Small Buildings under Part 9 (non-farm): $6.45 per m² with a minimum fee of $141.83

  • Demolition: $147.56

  • Letter of Compliance: $95.70

  • Letter of Compliance in less than 48 hours: $140.87

View a list of our classes of permits and permit fees. Contact our office at 519-832-2008 x118 if you need help determining your fee.

How long will it take?

Our permit review process depends on many factors, such as the class of building, completeness of the building application and volume of permit applications.

10-day time period

  • A detached house, semi-detached house, townhouse or row house where no dwelling unit is located above another dwelling unit

  • A detached structure that serves a building described in Clause (a) and does not exceed 55 m² in building area

  • A tent to which Section 3.14 of Division B applies

  • A sign to which Section 3.15 of Division B applies

15-day time period

  • Buildings described in Clauses (1)(a), (b) or (c) of Division A, other than buildings described in the 10- or 30-day time periods

  • Farm buildings that do not exceed 600 m² in building area

20-day time period

  • Buildings described in Classes (1)(a) or (b) of Division A, other than buildings described in the 10- or 30-day time periods

  • Farm buildings exceeding 600 m² in building area

30-day time period

  • Post-disaster buildings

  • Buildings to which Subsection 3.2.6 of Division B or any provision in Articles to of Division B applies

If your application is approved, we will call you to advise that your building permit has been issued. If your application cannot be approved, we will send you an email or letter with further information on what is still needed.

How many inspections do I need?

The number of inspections depends on the complexity of the work and will normally be assigned with the building permit. Visit Building Inspections for more information.

What are my responsibilities regarding building permits?

It is the owner's responsibility to obtain a building permit, ensure that the building permit is posted and that the approved plans are kept on the job site.

When is a building permit not required?

You do not need a building permit for non-structural work, such as:

  • Painting

  • Landscaping

  • Kitchen cupboards

  • Siding

  • Shingling

What are my responsibilities once I obtain my permit?

  • Post your building permit so it can be seen from the street or road.

  • Keep a copy of your approved building plans on the construction site and have them available during inspection.

  • Requests for permit inspections are to be made at least 48 hours in advance. For more information, visit Building Inspections.

What must I do if changes to the building plans are required?

During construction, if changes or modifications are made to the original design, the owner is responsible to make an application to Building Services. We may require drawings.

How can I learn more about secondary suites?

A secondary suite is a self-contained unit within a dwelling that has its own kitchen, bathroom facilities and separate entrance. Secondary suites are not permitted in detached structures within Saugeen Shores (i.e., detached garages, bunkies and/or granny flats). 

Before beginning renovations to add a new secondary suite to an existing dwelling, review the Government of Ontario's innovation guide to help you understand the safety implications and requirements needed to begin your application process for a building permit with the Municipality.

Learn more about secondary suites with this helpful article.

Call before you dig

If you are planning a home improvement project that requires digging such as planting a tree or putting up a fence, you are responsible for getting locates on all utilities and services before digging. These services include:

  • Natural gas pipes
  • Telephone lines
  • Hydro
  • Cable lines
  • Water and sewer pipes

Before you call

You will need to know:

  • Who is digging (it is recommended that the person doing the digging submits the locate request).
  • When and where you are digging (address and description of the area that the digging is happening within).
  • The type of work being done (fence, pool, landscaping, etc…) and the method of digging that will be used (by hand, machine, shovel, pick or spade).

Ontario One Call

Once you have this information, call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 for a free, 24/7 locate service or visit their website to submit an e-ticket.

For more information on locates and areas to avoid, visit Dig Safe.