Building Standards & Inspections
The City has adopted several by-laws to ensure that the maintenance and occupancy of property within the community is maintained to an acceptable standard.
Examples of the maintenance standards include:
- The maintenance of all plumbing, heating, ventilation, electrical, lighting, and all interior & exterior finishes in buildings.
- The removal of rubbish; litter; debris; dead or decaying trees; wrecked, dismantled, unlicensed or inoperable vehicles; dilapidated buildings.
- The cutting of tall grass and weeds that exceeds 12” in height.
The Property Standards Officer has the responsibility to administer and enforce property standards by-laws within the City of Barrie. Property Standards Officers are appointed, by by-law, as both Property Standards Officers and Building Inspectors under the authority of the Building Code Act.
With any of the following regulated matters found under FAQ’s below, the Building Services Department expects:
- the tenant to co-operate with the owner, landlord and/or property manager (owner) by providing access, in accordance with applicable legislation, to carry out repairs at reasonable times, and
- the owner/tenant to carry out and complete remedial work in a timely manner.
We are here to assist both the owner and tenant achieve compliance with municipal by-laws. Any attempts to hinder the owner’s efforts to carry out remedial work are discouraged and may negatively affect the priority of the complaint and/or prompt completion. Likewise, if necessary, non-compliance with a notice or order will result in Building Services exercising the fullest extent of the law.
Upon receipt of a complaint, a Property Standards Officer will investigate the complaint. The investigation may include any or all of the following actions:
- contacting the tenant and/or owner to confirm the complaint is valid or has been resolved,
- attending the property to conduct an inspection to obtain evidence,
- issuing verbal or written orders to the contraveners (with applicable service fees),
- initiate additional legal action where necessary.
All complaints should be directed to the Property Standards Branch. A name and phone number of the complainant and owner are required so an thorough investigation can be conducted. The Property Standards Officer may contact the owner to confirm they are aware of your concerns. As the tenant/occupant, you are expected to provide access to the owner or property manager, subject to reasonable notification in accordance with applicable legislation, so they can carry out the necessary remedial work.
In most cases, a written complaint must be received by the Building Services Branch to initiate an investigation.
|Frequently Asked Questions
|Can I withhold rent if the owner does not repair my apartment?
Any issues dealing with landlord tenant relations are dealt with through the Landlord and Tenant Board
. The contact number is 1-888-332-3234.
|Does the owner have to provide minimum heat during the summer?
Every dwelling shall be provided with an approved heating system capable of maintaining a room temperature of 20 degree Celsius. The City of Barrie heat regulations are a year round requirement. There are no “turn on” or “turn off” dates.
|Can the Property Standards Officer tell me to remove my vehicle from my own property?
You may be required to remove your vehicle only if it does not comply with the provisions of the by-law. Generally, no vehicle including a trailer, or any part of such vehicle or trailer, which is in a wrecked, discarded, dismantled, inoperative or abandoned condition shall be parked, stored or left outdoors on any property in the City of Barrie. This includes tires, batteries and other vehicle parts.
|What can I do if the owner turns my heat off?
If the heat is off and the temperature falls below 20 degree Celsius, this is a violation of by-law.
Please contact the owner to ensure they understand your concerns. If you do not get cooperation from the owner, you may contact the Building Services Department and ask to register a complaint. A Property Standards Officer will contact the owner and investigate the complaint.
|My neighbour has a tree that overhangs my property. May I cut the branches that overhang my property?
The Property Standards Branch does not deal with living trees unless they present a potential hazard. You should seek legal advice to determine whether or not you may remove branches that overhang your property. If there is a tree that poses a danger from dead branches or if the tree is not sound, this matter will be dealt with by the Property Standards Branch. The owner of the tree is responsible to maintain the tree. If a tree or branches fall on a property, the owner of the property on which the tree falls is responsible for clean up, regardless of who owns the tree.
|Does the owner have to ensure I have hot water?
All hot water shall be supplied at a minimum temperature of 48 degrees Celsius.
HOWEVER, if you are responsible for the payment of utilities, and the utilities have been turned off due to a fault of the tenant’s, the owner is not obligated to carry out remedial work.
|Is there a violation if the water pressure is insufficient?
All units must have adequate water pressure.
|I notice a lot of mould in my rental unit. Is this a violation?
Unless deemed to be caused by a lack of general housekeeping by the tenant, owners are required to remove mould and repair mould damaged walls. The tenant is expected to use the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms as necessary.
|Is my complaint kept confidential?
If you wish to file a complaint regarding a property other than your own dwelling, personal information is kept confidential. If you are a tenant and are filing a complaint concerning the repair of your unit, the owner will likely be aware that you are the person who has filed the complaint. We will be in contact with the owner to confirm they are aware of any deficiencies, to obtain their plan of action and may issue notices or orders if we do not obtain voluntary compliance.
For your convenience, a blank complaint from has been attached. Once completed and signed, you may fax, hand deliver or mail the complaint to the Building Services Branch (see ‘Contact’).
Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction or installation of a new structure, or for the construction of an addition or alteration of any structure that results in a building area of over 10 m2 (107 square feet). The following is a list of typical projects that require a permit:
- Any new structure over 10 m2 (108 ft2)
- Any addition to a structure, regardless of the size of the addition
- Interior alterations for non-residential units
- Interior alterations for residential units if; a bedroom is created, a garage is converted to living space, a seasonal room converted to a year-round use, a new dwelling unit is being created
- Building a new fireplace or installing a woodstove
- Any structural changes or repairs
- A new entrance or a new window opening
- A deck
- Adding new dormers
- Enclosing a porch
- Any change of use to one of greater hazard (see chart O.B.C. 2.4.1.A.)
- Signs installed on an exterior building face or roof
- Free-standing signs
- Any installation or alteration of a plumbing system (water supply, drain, waste or vent), including alterations to install a water softener
- Converting from a septic system to City sewer or water.
How to Apply
Applications for building permits are received by Plan Examiners at our front counter on the 8th floor of City Hall, 70 Collier Street. The applicant may be the homeowner, contractor, engineer, architect, developer, commercial or industrial tenant or an agent for the owner. The Plan Examiner explains and helps you with your permit application. Some permits, such as decks, may be issued the same day in most cases. Other permits will require more time to circulate the application to other branches and departments. The following is a list of some types of permit applications:
- Construction permits
- Demolition permits
- Conditional permits
- Sign permits
- Private On-site Sewage Disposal System permits
- Pool enclosure permits
- Retaining wall permits
Facts You Need To Know
- No person can construct or demolish a building without first obtaining a permit from the Chief Building Official.
- Applications are available at the Planning and Development department, 70 Collier Street, 8th Floor, Barrie, Ontario or online. (link to permit application)
- Structures less than 10 m2 (108 ft2) do not require a permit.
- Fees are assessed according to the type of building and its size.
- Additional fees for development charges may apply.
- Projects that increase the assessed value of the property will increase taxes. (See MPAC website in ‘Resources’ section)
- Constructing a building without a permit may be subject to penalties including fines and removal.
Tents are buildings, and the general rule is that any building exceeding 10 m2 in building area is regulated by the Building Code and requires a permit. Division C Sentence 184.108.40.206(5) of the Building Code exempts certain tents from any permit or Code requirements;
Tents that are;
- Less than or equal to 60 m2 (646 ft2) individually or in aggregate (aggregate is when any individual tent is within 3 metres of another tent, then the two areas must be added together),
- Not attached to a building
- At least 3 metres (10 ft) away from any structure.
Regardless of the permit provisions/exemptions, a tent structure is still a structure under the Zoning Bylaw, and would be subject to its provisions.
Fire Prevention Measures
- All exits, aisles, exit signs, emergency lighting units, fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, hose cabinets, sprinklers, Fire Department access routes, pumper connections and hydrants must be unobstructed at all times
- Drapes, curtains and other decorative textiles must meet NFP 701 for flame resistance. (Provide Documentation to Fire Department)
- No open flames are permitted
- No combustibles such as hay, straw, shavings, wood chips etc. are permitted
- Barbecues must be 3 metres (10’) from structures. (Valid propane certificate required)
- Music or theatrical performances to be shut down in the event of an emergency
- Phone to be provided on-site for emergency notification of 911
- Maximum occupant load sign required if more than 60 people
- Install NO SMOKING signs throughout tent
- Mount 10 lbs. ABC fire extinguishers at all required exits
- Fire-watch to be implemented if more than 150 persons (see below).
A person employed for fire-watch must:
- Patrol the area and ensure all fire prevention measures are enforced
- If windowless or after dark hours, have flashlights on-scene to assist with exiting in the event of a power failure
- Have a system to notify occupants of an emergency if no fire alarm is present (such as a P.A. system or bull horn).
- Call 911 to report an emergency – give address, name and call-back number.
A copy of these measures must be maintained on-site.