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​Building a Secondary Dwelling

Building permits give legal permission to begin construction, subject to other required municipal approvals. Building permits ensure that the proposed construction will meet the minimum life and fire safety requirements contained within the Building Code.

Please refer to Building Services Announcements for up-to-date information about impacted services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A secondary dwelling (sometimes referred to as garden suite) is a detached standalone dwelling unit which is in addition to the principal dwelling unit on the property. A secondary dwelling can only be one unit. It is often used as a rental property and must be registered with the City. This is different than a second suite contained within the principal dwelling. 

Pre-submission Inquiry

Prior to doing any planning on a potential secondary dwelling, it is advisable that you contact to determine if a secondary dwelling is permitted on your property. These units are permitted on residentially zoned parcels that have municipal frontage and a primary unit on site. If permitted, you will be provided direction on how to proceed.

Permit Submission Requirements

Collect and complete all required supporting documentation:

How to Apply for a Permit

Apply online through APLI. Our e-permitting system provides enhanced online features that allow you to quickly and easily submit your application. Benefits include:

  • The ability to start an application, save it, and resume at your convenience
  • Real time status updates and automatic email notifications regarding your application
  • Online payments under $5,000
  • Access to reviewed permit drawings and your building permit placard
  • Requesting inspections online
  • Access to all of your online permits


Fees are assessed according to the type of building and its size. Please refer to the current Fees By-law. Additional fees for development charges may apply. Please contact the Finance department at (705) 739-4232 to see if this applies to your project.

If you are required to upgrade your water service within the municipal right of way, you may be eligible for a grant​ in the amount of up to $5,000.00.


Please visit Building Inspections for building permit inspection requirements. 

Secondary Dwelling Registration

Development Services (Planning) requires Secondary Dwellings to be registered in accordance with the Second Suites Registration By-law. A registered Secondary Dwelling advises all City departments and other agencies that there are multiple units on the property. Once the Secondary Dwelling has passed all the required inspections, it will be automatically registered with the City of Barrie. 

Other Considerations

The following approvals may be required:

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