Learn more detailed information to help with popular homeowner projects.
Step-by-step guide to home construction projects
- Plan: before starting work, take the time to plan the project in advance.
- Connect: connect with Planning and Economic Development staff to find out what you need for your project. They can provide you with details and lists of what is required.
- Hire a designer: a professional designer has all the technical knowledge to make sure your project meets the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.
- Get the proper approvals: make sure you get building permits and planning approvals so your project is built safely and up to Code.
- Hire professionals: building professionals - such as contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. have the experience and know how to do the job right.
- Call for inspections: it is your responsibility to call City of London Planning and Economic Development for the required inspections throughout the project. A building official will visit your site to make sure the project is done right and inspected to Code.
- Get final approval: your building official must do a final sign off on the project when the project is completed.
Projects requiring building permits
Listed below are a few common homeowner projects that require building permits. The zoning by-law outlines specific regulations. Contact us if you have any questions.
Your deck may or may not require a building permit.
Side and rear decks less than 600 mm (24”) above grade:
- will require a permit, If it is attached to the house.
- does not require a permit, if it is not attached to the house
NEW: If your deck is attached to the house and a building permit has been issued an excavation/footing inspection will be required in addition to the final inspection.
The zoning by-law outlines the specific regulations for deck locations
Distance from property line: Decks may encroach up to 3 metres (9-10 feet) into the required yard setbacks, but must always remain at least 1.2 metres (3 -11 feet) from your property line. If you live beside an Open Space zone (OS4 or OS5), you must increase that to a 3 metres (9 -10 feet) setback. It's always best to verify the zoning around your house prior to planning your deck, to avoid costly errors. This can be done by calling 519-930-3510.
New subdivisions: Make sure you do not affect or alter the way water flows across your property. Do not start construction until after the subdivision is assumed. Property lines, grading and other alterations may change, which can affect the height and location of your deck.
Balconies, porches and enclosed decks: If the words balcony, porch, or enclosed deck (walls around your deck) better define your project, there are other regulations that may affect your design. Contact a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer prior to planning your construction to discuss the correct definition for your project and ensure the right regulations apply. Call the zoning office at 519-930-3510.
Detached garages, sheds and accessory structures
The zoning by-law regulates requirements for all accessory structures such as sheds and detached garages.
The total lot coverage of all accessory buildings or structures on a lot cannot exceed 10% of the lot area in every residential zone. If you add up the floor area of all the accessory structures on your property, they cannot cover more than 10% of your lot. You need to know your lot dimensions, the "footprint" of your house, the dimensions of all existing and proposed accessory structures, and the coverage that your zone permits when determining the size of a new accessory structure.
The height of an accessory structure is measured from the average finished grade (ground) to the upper-most point of the building structure, and shall not exceed 4 metres (13.1 feet).
You can increase the height up to 6 metres (19.7 feet) as long as you increase the distance from the property line by the same amount that you increase the height. For example, if you want to build 1.5 metres taller (than the permitted 4 metres), then you need to move the building 1.5 metres farther from the property line than the minimum.
Minimum setbacks and building location
Accessory buildings and structures are only permitted in the interior side yard or rear yard, not the front or exterior side yards.
They can be no closer than 0.6 metres (2 feet) to the side or rear lot lines.
If the height exceeds 4 metres (13.1 feet) the setback from the side and rear lot lines must be increased by the difference in the height above 4 metres (13.1 feet), to a maximum of 6 metres (19.7 feet).
Note: Sheds and other accessory structures less than 10 square metres (108 square feet) are exempt from the setback requirements. However, no part of the accessory structure can overhang the property line and the structure must be entirely in the rear yard.
What are considered accessory structures?
Along with sheds, detached garages, shops, cabanas, pool houses, and "without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a heat pump, air exchanger, air conditioner or a swimming pool - either above or below ground - are structures" according to the by-law.
How many accessory structures may I have on my property?
As many as you want, provided that you don't cover more than 10% of your lot with accessory structures, nor exceed the overall coverage as described by your zone.
See below links to determine allowable lot coverage:
Zoning by-law Z.-1
Can I run my business from my accessory structure?
No. The zoning by-law Z.-1 restricts home based businesses from using accessory structures for any part of the business, including storage.
Can I live above my accessory structure?
Yes. A site plan consultation and building permit will be required prior to construction. Contact us for more information.
In addition, a residential rental unit license will be required.
Can I run electricity to my accessory structure?
Yes. Contact the Electrical Safety Authority for more information.
Can I run water to my accessory structure?
Yes. A building or plumbing permit will be required. Check with an architectural plans examiner prior to planning your project. Call 519-661-4555 or email email@example.com for more information.
Homeowners may widen their residential driveway to accommodate more vehicles or allow for greater manoeuvrability.
Applying for a driveway widening and/or curb cutting
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application .
Ensure no other utilities or municipal functions are impacted by the widening of your driveway, including:
- trees, bus shelters, street signs
- hydro poles, telephone poles, cable or phone boxes, or other utilities
- storm drains, fire hydrants, mailboxes, or other municipal infrastructure
Where you are uncertain about underground utilities, call Ontario One Call (ON1Call)
The contractor must complete the plan as approved on the permit.
Note: If there is a mistakes or work is undertaken without a permit, you will be held responsible for the cost of replacing the infrastructure, grass, curbs, etc.
Maximum driveway widths
The maximum width of any residential driveway in London is 50% of the lot frontage, to a maximum of 8 metres (26.3 feet), whichever is less. The driveway width is measured parallel to the street at the street line. No lot shall have more than two driveways for the first 30 metres. (98.7 feet) of the street line. The minimum driveway width is 2.7 metres (8.8 feet).
Where can I park?
Residential parking is permitted in the interior side yard and rear yard, as long as no part of any parking area is located closer than 1 metre (3.3 feet) to any required road allowance and provided that no part of any rear yard parking area is located closer than 3 metres (9.8 feet) from the rear lot line and 3 metres (9.8 feet) from any one side lot line in the rear yard.
Can I park in my front yard?
No. The City of London prohibits parking in your front yard. The existing (and widened) driveway must lead to a garage, or to a legal parking spot at the side/rear of your home. However, driveways and/or walkways connected to and parallel to a driveway may project up to a maximum of 2 metres (6.5 feet) into the front yard of a single detached, semi-detached, duplex or converted two unit dwelling. That part of the required front yard not used for a driveway or walkway shall be used exclusively for landscaped open space.
What are the dimensions of a parking space?
A parking space must have minimum dimensions of 2.7 metres (8.85 feet) by 5.5 metres (18.04 feet).
Can I have more than one driveway?
Yes, but where more than one driveway leading to a parking area/private garage for a single detached, semi-detached, duplex, or converted two-unit dwelling is provided, the combined total of all driveways shall not exceed the provision of 4.19 6) (h) (I) of the Z-1 zoning by-law. That provision sets out the maximum driveway widths. You may not have more than two driveways in the first 30 metres (98 feet) of street line.
Please note: you are not permitted to drive across your lawn to access your driveway or to park. Driveways must lead to legal parking areas.
For information about work approval permits, email email@example.com
Finishing a basement
Finishing any portion of your basement requires a building permit. If you have any questions, please contact us to clarify and confirm the details of your project.
The following activities also require a permit:
- adding fixtures to the rough-ins
- roughing in plumbing
- changing the uses of the room(s)
- moving/altering walls and/or openings
- windows and doors: creating them, changing them, enlarging or altering them
- stairs; moving, changing, rebuilding
- foundation: anything that cuts, alters or involves the foundation
Electrical work may require a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and is not issued by the City of London. The ESA has resources to help you contact a local professional electrician.