Are you Renovating? Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code - IN Engineering (2023)

If you are renovating your home or business there are some clauses in the Ontario Building Code(OBC) that you should know. These clauses are tucked way in the back of the OBC under Part 11: Renovations. The OBC is available online, it is updated about every 4 years and is the governing document for building construction in Ontario. It is based off of the National Building Code of Canada 2010 (NBC), the current latest revision of the NBC is 2015 (Ontario has not adopted it yet). There is no Part 11 for renovations in the NBC and it is unique to Ontario. The current revision of the OBC is 2012, and the code this article is based off of.

The great thing about OBC Part 11 is that, if your building or renovation qualifies, you can build under less stringent requirements than if you were doing new construction. You, or your contractor, may not even need a construction professional to sign off on the design. However, depending on your local municipality a building permit may be required.
Are you Renovating? Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code - IN Engineering (1) Are you Renovating? Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code - IN Engineering (2)

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Does Part 11 Apply?

If you are doing renovations to any building there are a few things you have to check before you can use the renovation clauses in the Ontario Building Code:

  1. Is the existing structure at least 5 years old?
  2. Are you keeping the current major occupancy of the building? IE not changing your house to retail space.
  3. Are you maintaining firefighter access?
  4. Are you maintaining the current performance level of the building? (See Below)

If you answered yes to all of these then you are eligible to use Part 11 of the OBC. Also of note, if a building is extended (i.e. you build an addition) the extension may be governed by all other parts of the building code and the existing building may be governed under Part 11.
Are you Renovating? Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code - IN Engineering (3)

A kitchen renovation under Part 11 of the OBC

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Major Occupancy

Changing the major occupancy of a building has it’s own chapter in the OBC (Part 10) and can be difficult to interpret. As long as you aren’t changing how you are using the space then it’s okay to assume you can use Part 11. This gets especially difficult when considering multiple and prohibited combinations of occupancies of the same building. Otherwise you may want to consult a professional.

Building Systems

The building systems, i.e. the sprinklers, electricity, and plumbing are still required to be designed to the current code. Meaning your old nob and tube wiring cannot be extended into your addition, nor can your lead pipes be used for your bathroom renovation.

Performance Level

There are a number of criteria to maintain the performance level of the building. The performance level after construction cannot be less than the performance level prior to construction. If the performance level is reduced then compensating construction is required. The performance level is determined by a number of factors. Items that are considered reductions in performance level are:

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  • Structural:
    • The major occupancy changes.
    • Occupant load increases by more than 15%, or
    • The live load (furniture, people, fixings, etc) increases due to the change within the same major occupancy.
    • The floor and roof framing is not adequate to support the new dead (weight) and live loads.
  • Increase in Occupant Load:
    • The new occupant load is increased by 15% or less and 15% above the requirements for which a fire alarm system is required under Part 3.
    • The new occupant load will be more than 15% above the exit capacity of the building as required under Part 3.
  • Change of Major Occupancy (Part 11)
    • Changing the major occupancy to a major occupancy with a greater hazard index.
    • Splitting an existing suite (Under Group C Occupancy).
    • Converting a suite to a gaming premises.
    • Converting a farm building or part of a farm building to a major occupancy.
    • Converting a building to a post disaster building.
    • Converting a building to a retirement home.
    • Changing a building to an indeterminate occupancy.
  • Fire Safety Requirements
    • Early warning and evacuation requirements are exceeded in the new major occupancy.
    • Fire separations and fire-resistance ratings are not conforming to the requirements for adjacent major occupancies.
    • Changing to a major occupancy that requires non-combustible construction.
    • A building more than 3 storeys in height without proper egress routes.
  • Plumbing and Sewage
    • Required plumbing is adversely affected by the extension, alteration or repair.
    • Adversely affecting the sewage system.
    • The total daily design sanitary sewage flow is exceeding the capacity of any part of the system.
  • Other Requirements
    • Increasing the number bedrooms in a dwelling unit.
    • Construction is more than 15% of the finished area of a dwelling unit.
    • Adding new plumbing fixtures to a dwelling unit.
    • A building of combustible construction extends to more than four storeys in height.

A suite is defined as “a single room or series of rooms of complementary use, operated under a single tenancy, and includes, (a) dwelling units, (b) individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses and dormitories, and (c) individual stores and individual or complementary rooms for business and personal services occupancies.”
A dwelling unit is defined asa suite operated as a housekeeping unit, used or intended to be used as a domicile by one or more persons and usually containing cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities.”

Basic Renovations

If you are maintaining the performance level then construction may be carried on all or part of the existing building. The construction has to reuse, relocate or extend similar materials or components with the goal of retaining;

  • the existing character,
  • the structural uniqueness,
  • the heritage value, or
  • the aesthetic appearance.

However, the construction cannot adversely affect;

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  • the early warning and evacuation systems,
  • fire separations,
  • structural adequacy, nor
  • create an unhealthy environment in the building.

Also of note, if you substantially remove and replace walls, ceilings, floor or roof assemblies of an existing building then the structure and fire resistance has to be upgraded to code. For example, while you are re-modelling your kitchen you come across an insufficient beam, then you will have to upgrade that beam to meet the current OBC. The rules are also different for suites and retirement homes. You may also be required to install sprinklers if your group occupancy requires it under other parts of the code.

Plumbing and Sewage Systems

As stated before Part 11 does not apply to plumbing and sewage systems. The new plumbing and sewage have to comply with Part 7 and Part 8 of the OBC. This includes extension, alteration or repair. When extending, altering or repairing your septic tank and lines you may not be able to put it in the same place if it is too close to the water table.

Compensating Construction

If any factors affecting the performance level of an extension, alteration or repair are reduced then compensating construction will be required. This only applies to the part of the building that is being altered. Depending on the factor that reduced the performance level, the compensating construction may be:


  • Structural
    • All new loads must be properly supported, or
    • The portion of the floor affected shall have restricted loading with posted signs.
  • Increase in Occupant Load
    • Early warning and evacuation signs will be upgraded to Part 11 (with some exceptions).
  • Change in Major Occupancy
    • Additional upgrades may be required to Part 11 so the construction index is equal to the hazard index.
    • Additional upgrades to Part 3 (Fire Protection), Part 6 (HVAC), and Part 9 (Small Buildings) of the Building Code.
  • Fire Safety Requirements
    • Upgrading fire separations to Part 3 and Part 11.
    • Constructed with noncombustible construction or sprinklered (on the floor subject to change).
    • Retirement homes will require sprinklers, voice communication systems, self closing doors.
  • Plumbing and Sewage
    • Upgrading the plumbing or sewage system in the existing building.


The Chief Building Official (CBO) in your municipality may not require the compensating construction and is allowed to do so under the OBC. The CBO can wave compensating construction if they’re satisfied that the construction is impractical because of structural difficulties, construction difficulties or it is detrimental to preserving a heritage building.


If you got this far with your new construction project and didn’t see any red flags then it is possible to carry out your renovation, alteration or repair under Part 11 of the building code. You may still require a building permit depending on your local government, however you may have less stringent requirements for the building permit. It is possible that you don’t need an engineer nor an architect to assist you in the planning and design of your project. If you are unsure the safest route is to consult with a professional about your project. Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code allows building owners some flexibility in maintaining the existing appeal of their property and to circumnavigate the updated requirements of the most recent Ontario Building Code.


What does renovation mean under the Building Code? ›

Renovation is defined as the modification of any existing structure, or portion of a structure, that results in the disturbance of painted surfaces.

What is Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code? ›

Part 11 of the Ontario Building Code allows building owners some flexibility in maintaining the existing appeal of their property and to circumnavigate the updated requirements of the most recent Ontario Building Code.

What qualifies as a renovation? ›

Renovations are work that revives a room or home but doesn't change the layout. They also may be used to add value to a home before you list it for sale. Because of this, renovations are often small-scale projects. On the other hand, remodels include changes to a home's structure or layout.

How late can you do renovations in Ontario? ›

The Noise Bylaw (Chapter 591, City of Toronto Municipal Code) permits operation of construction equipment ONLY during Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and no construction noise on Sundays and statutory holidays (amending bylaw 505-2006).

What are the 3 types of renovation? ›

Key Takeaways. There are four types of renovation projects: the basics, curb appeal, best bang for the buck, and passion projects. Not all of them provide a high return on investment.

Is renovation under construction? ›

Merriam-Webster online defines construct as: “to make or form by combining or arranging parts of elements: build.” To renovate is “to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding).” Therefore, a dwelling is under construction if it is being built from scratch.

What is the difference between Part 11 and Annex 11? ›

Part 11 is based on the basic prerequisite that systems are validated according to GMP. Part 11 is relevant for GMP, GDP, GLP, GCP and medical devices. Annex 11 is relevant to GMP, but referenced also in other areas.

What makes a system Part 11 compliant? ›

Part 11 compliant systems must have security features that limit user access and their privileges. Some examples of these security features include making sure users have unique usernames and passwords, being able to detect and prevent unauthorized system access and even locking compromised accounts.

Who Needs Part 11 compliant? ›

Who does FDA 21 CFR Part 11 apply to? FDA 21 CFR Part 11 applies to clinical trial sponsors, including pharmaceutical and medical device companies, who are conducting FDA-regulated research. It also applies to Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) and research sites.

What is difference between renovation and renovation? ›

Remodel vs. renovate

However, for professionals working in one or more of these industries, these terms actually entail two very different things. Essentially, the difference between them is that a renovation refers to restoring something to a previous state, while a remodel refers to creating something new.

What are the two types of renovation? ›

A soft renovation might involve painting, new furniture, window ware, artwork, storage and organization, insulation/winterizing, rugs or freestanding lighting. On the other hand, a hard renovation usually means you cannot realistically live in the space during construction—at least not without great inconvenience.

What is the difference between repairs and renovations? ›

For example, new windows for old, or a new water heater for an old water heater, are both examples of renovations. A repair is the modification of an existing or old home feature to bring it back to its original performance level. In many cases, home renovations are often simpler.

What home renovations require a permit in Ontario? ›

You must obtain a building permit before you:
  • construct any new building over ten square meters in area or place another structure, such as a mobile home, on your property.
  • make renovations or repairs or add to a building.
  • change the use of a building.
  • excavate or construct a foundation.
  • construct a seasonal building.
15 Jan 2019

What time can renovations start in Ontario? ›

In most residential areas, construction noise is allowed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day except Sunday. Construction noise is not allowed on Sundays or statutory holidays.

Do I need a permit to renovate my kitchen in Ontario? ›

Renovations without any structural modifications do not require a permit. Most kitchen renovation projects require a permit under the Ontario Building Code.

What renovations include? ›

In a renovation, a kitchen remains a kitchen and a bedroom remains a bedroom, but repairs and updates are made. This generally includes such things as painting, installing new flooring, and switching out items like cabinet knobs and faucets. Renovation also includes structural rebuilding.

What is total renovation? ›

The short answer is that renovations generally consist of cosmetic changes, whereas remodels are structural changes. A full-home remodel consists of completely changing up the structure and layout of your entire home. On the other hand, a partial renovation is simply sprucing up the appearance of portions of the house.

Is renovation considered maintenance? ›

Renovation is popularly referred to as major maintenance (groot onderhoud). However, legally speaking renovation and maintenance are not the same and this difference may have major consequences for lessees and lessors of all kinds of real estate.

What is the difference between renovation and new construction? ›

Renovation and New Construction - An Overview

The term “new construction” is pretty straightforward. The house is designed and built from the ground up. Everything is newly built and installed. Renovation is the term used when you want to make changes to an existing structure for various reasons.

Is renovation a maintenance? ›

Maintenance simply means keeping everything in the house in perfect condition. This does not include drastic changes in the appearance of the interior design or the structure of the house. Renovation means restoration or repair and is often used in conjunction with a redesign.

What does CFR Part 11 stand for? ›

The number 21 is the section which governs Food and Drugs in the United States and the CFR stands for the Code of Federal Regulations. Part 11 refers to the criteria in which electronic records and signatures are considered secure.

Who does 21 CFR Part 11 apply to? ›

Practically speaking, Part 11 applies to drug makers, medical device manufacturers, biotech companies, biologics developers, CROs, and other FDA-regulated industries, with some specific exceptions.

What is CFR Part 11 open system? ›

An open system is an environment where system access is not controlled by the company using it. The company cannot confirm the identity of all users prior to providing access to the electronic record system.

What records are subject to 21 CFR Part 11? ›

Part 11 applies to all electronic records that fall under FDA regulations. If an organization can prove to an auditor that their electronic records/signatures are as trustworthy as paper records/ink signatures, the FDA will accept electronic instead of paper.

What does 21 CFR Part 11 regulate? ›

(a) The regulations in this part set forth the criteria under which the agency considers electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

Is Box CFR Part 11 compliant? ›

Remain compliant with 21 CFR Part 11 requirements by integrating Box with an eSignature provider of choice, like Adobe Sign and DocuSign; Leverage Box as a compliant content layer with life sciences ISV and SI partners.

What is a part 11 compliant signature? ›

Part 11 signatures include electronic signatures that are used, for example, to document the fact that certain events or actions occurred in accordance with the predicate rule (e.g. approved, reviewed, and verified).

Does renovation mean improvement? ›

What is Building Renovation? Renovation involves restoring a building to an improved condition. This means replacing and upgrading present components to meet the required standards without altering the original design.

What type of asset is renovation? ›

Renovations to your home might begin as an expense but will increase the value of your asset, which is your home. Therefore, the expense of renovations is actually an investment because you are adding value to your asset. Investments, such as your home, increase in value over time.

Is painting a repair or improvement? ›

By itself, the cost of painting the exterior of a building is generally a currently deductible repair expense because merely painting isn't an improvement under the capitalization rules.

Is a door replacement a repair or improvement? ›

For example, if you replaced a steel door with a wooden door because steel doors were not available, you could classify the expense as a repair rather than a capital improvement. You must capitalize and depreciate expenses related to adapting a UOP to a new or different use.

Is window replacement a repair or improvement? ›

Windows are considered capital improvements because they are part of the overall building structure.

Does house renovation need building permit? ›

Permits needed

Small scale renovation such as painting or tile-setting will not be required to secure a building permit. However, when a house renovation includes structural and electrical works, then a building permit is definitely required.

What happens if I finish my basement without a permit in Ontario? ›

There are consequences for not getting a permit. You could face a fine, or the municipality may force you to remove walls, ceilings, cabinets and other finishes so that an inspector can determine if the work complies with the building requirements. In the worst case, they'll have the renovation removed entirely.

Do I need a permit to renovate my basement in Ontario? ›

Under the Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction of a new building, an addition, or alteration of any building or structure with a building area of over 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet).

Are renovations allowed on weekends? ›

Rules about HDB renovation noise

General renovation should only be carried out between 9:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays. No renovations are allowed on Sundays and public holidays.

How do I complain about renovation noise? ›

Your neighbour must have sent out notice of renovation to neighbours of your HDB flat. If they don't follow the hdb renovation rules, you can send complaints to your town council or HDB. Your town council will act as the middleman between you and your neighbour.

What time can you make noise in the morning Ontario? ›

Noise occurring during the daytime period (7:00 AM to 7:00 PM) receives no penalty. Noise produced during the evening time period (7:00 PM to 10:00 PM) is penalized by 5 dBA, while nighttime noise (10:00 PM to 7:00 AM) is penalized by 10 dBA. Most community development noise standards use the CNEL scale.

Do you need a consent to renovate? ›

You are required to obtain a building consent if the work involves adding an additional sanitary fixture to your house - for example, a new bath – where there was not one previously. A building consent is not required to repair or maintain an existing water heater, if it is carried out by an authorised person.

Do you need a permit to pour concrete in your backyard Ontario? ›

Check with your local building authority for the rules that apply to your specific project. Is your planned concrete patio less than 30 inches above grade? If so, you're in luck – you most likely will not need a building permit, although your concrete contractor might have to pull an excavation permit.

Can I do my own plumbing in Ontario? ›

In Ontario plumbers must be licensed to work in construction or for the installation of fittings and or fixtures where the distribution use and drainage of water within a building is involved.

What does renovation mean in construction? ›

Renovations are projects wherein the structure is being restored or repaired. Renovations are somewhat synonymous with remodeling, however the goal of a remodel is to change the structure, while the goal of a renovation is to repair the structure.

What does renovation mean in house? ›

To renovate a house or building means to resurrect that structure from a state of disrepair. Renovations can often be subtle, improving on the existing building or house. Or, they can be drastic, much like a remodel.

What does it mean to be under renovation? ›

The roots of renovation refer to newness and doing something again — it's from the Latin re- for "again" and novare which means, "make new.” A rundown building is in need of renovation, or a website that's being redesigned is under renovation. After renovation, things look new and improved.

What is the difference between remodeling and renovating? ›

Remodel vs. renovate

However, for professionals working in one or more of these industries, these terms actually entail two very different things. Essentially, the difference between them is that a renovation refers to restoring something to a previous state, while a remodel refers to creating something new.

What is the difference between updating and renovating? ›

Updates do not include significant alterations to the existing structure. Remodeled: Significant finish and/or structural changes have been made that increase utility and appeal through complete replacement and/or expansion. A removed area reflects fundamental changes that include multiple alterations.

What is the difference between renovating and restoring? ›

Restoration is perfect for minor fixes such as repainting walls and replacing broken windows. If the business needs more aesthetics and functional elements to the building without changing the structure, then renovation is the way to go. But if the current design is undesirable, then remodeling would work best.

What is the difference between a bathroom remodel and renovation? ›

While a remodel changes the form of something (like adding a new shower to an existing bathroom), a renovation focuses more on restoring something old into good repair (fixing up a creaky floor, for example).

What's the difference between construction and remodeling? ›

“Like New” Construction versus Remodeling

In general, remodeling work is primarily cosmetic while “like new,” i.e. substantially equivalent to new construction involves more substantial structural changes. Remodeling work is not generally subject to reassessment unless new square footage or fixtures are added.


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