Before you get building permits, you need to GET DRAWINGS FIRST

Do you have an IDEA? Is your idea growing, threatening to become an actual project? Are you ready to put that addition on your house? How about a detached workshop in the back?

What’s the first step? Drawings!

Even if you and your brother-in-law-the-contractor are capable of building and wiring the whole project yourself, you are still going to need the appropriate permits from the city. Unfortunately, if you go to the Halton Hills town office with the napkin-sketch you came up with, they will tell you, “That isn’t enough to go on.”

In order to supply you with permits, the city needs to see professional architectural drawings with all the appropriate code notes, measurements, and specifications. You need drawings provided by a licensed draftsperson who can assess the property and draw up plans according to the current building codes.

Hiring an architect is one solution, but that will mean a much bigger budget because architects charge a considerably higher price for drawings. The up-side of having an architect is they can oversee the project for you, helping to select, hire and manage the many contractors you need to get the job done. Make no mistake, however – this is an expensive process, which is why people often seek out another solution.

One cost-effective solution is to hire an architectural technician for your project. An architectural technician is similar to an architect. They often provide creative designs and professional drawings only, and YOU oversee your project, working directly with your own contractor, electrician, painter, etc. This can save you THOUSANDS of dollars!

Be careful!! Not all architectural technicians are created equal! There are many “professional draftspeople” out there who may extremely competent, but have not obtained their BCIN, which means even if their drawings are complete and correct, they will be useless when you try to obtain the necessary building permits because they are not licensed through the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs. The law requires that a designer submitting plans for building permit approval must have a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) from the ministry. Always ask for for a BCIN before hiring an architectural technician.

It is always recommended that you hire a local technician when you contract out the drawing of your plans. This is important because your technician will be very familiar with local by-laws and restrictions. And there is a good chance they have a good professional relationship with many of the officials at city hall, making the approval of drawings all that much easier. Another advantage of hiring a local technician is their knowledge of the local trades. They can help you find what you need and direct you to the best, most reputable contractors.

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