Ville de Westmount | City of Westmount

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Urban Planning
Obtaining a Building Permit
Your property values are protected and ensured by the maintenance of the aesthetic quality of Westmount's streetscapes. 

Through the use of building permits, the City of Westmount seeks to maintain and enhance the community’s unique character by preserving significant buildings and building features and by ensuring that changes to existing buildings and new construction harmonizes with existing buildings, the site and the area. 

To accomplish this goal, applications for building permits are carefully reviewed, not only with respect to construction and safety requirements but also with respect to design and integration.

A building permit is required for any new building and for any alteration or extension to an existing building. It is the homeowner's responsibility to ensure that a building permit is obtained when required. What projects require a building permit? These include, but are not limited to:
  • Any change to the exterior of a building including replacement of sloped roof material, modification to stairs, balconies, awnings, signs and other building elements;
  • Repairs or replacement of deteriorated materials;
  • Replacement of, or modification to windows and doors;
  • Fences, hedges, retaining walls, decks and resurfacing of parking aprons;
  • Installation of mechanical equipment such as heat pumps and emergency generators.
Please note that all exterior work is subject to the design approval of the Planning Advisory Committee.
Any changes from the approved plans associated with the issuance of a building permit must be brought to the attention of the Urban Planning Department immediately and require review and approval in the same manner as the original application.

A plumbing permit must be obtained by a registered plumber for any changes to the plumbing system. Please note that plastic piping is not permitted.

Get your permit FIRST
For your protection, you should obtain your permit BEFORE signing any contract, ordering materials or starting work so that you are not left with supplies that cannot be used or work that must be redone. Westmount will order unapproved work to be stopped or demolished and property owners will be fined.

No permit required
Interior or exterior painting, repointing masonry, minor replacement of decayed wood or masonry and minor roof repairs when the replacement is identical to the original work. Should the scope of work increase, you may be asked to obtain a permit.
Step 1: Consult the relevant by-laws 
Determine which by-laws apply to your particular situation.  These include, but are not limited to, zoning, subdivision, building, and demolition by-laws as well as the plumbing and fire codes.

Step 2: Consult the design guidelines 
New buildings and alterations which affect the exterior of a building must also respect the Guidelines for Renovating and Building in Westmount. The introductory text outlines how to proceed and assists in determining what kind of work is suitable for your building or property.

The Urban Planning Department can advise on the legality and advisability of planned renovations at the earliest stages.  A copy of the Character Area Information Sheet for your area can be obtained as well as specific Guideline Booklets. See this page for more information about where to get help.

Step 3: Prepare your proposal 
Based on your needs and budget as well as what is permitted in the by-laws and guidelines, determine the scope and nature of your project and have drawings prepared. 
Step 4: Submit application
Submit an application including the documents and information listed in the Submittal Requirements table, available for download below. Please note that the application form is carbon copy and is only available at the Urban Planning Counter at City Hall.

A fee is charged for the permit. It is based on the total cost of the construction project. A member of the staff at the Urban Planning Department can inform you of the present rates.

In order to avoid unnecessary cost for the preparation of detailed plans that may not be approved, in the case of all but the simplest project, you should submit a preliminary proposal for approval in principle, before proceeding with the detailed working drawings.

Step 5: Plans reviewed by City 
All applications for building permits are examined by the Board of Inspections to ensure compliance with the applicable by-laws. Applications submitted before the end of day on Tuesdays will generally be reviewed at the Board’s weekly meeting on Thursday morning.

Where the proposed changes affect the exterior of the building, the application is referred to the Planning Advisory Committee. The Committee meets every second Tuesday and applications approved by the Board of Inspections at the previous meetings, will generally be reviewed at the Committee’s next meeting.  The Committee may require changes or deny approval of a project for reasons of planning and aesthetics.

You can call the Urban Planning Department the day following the meetings to obtain the unofficial results of the review of your submission. Official minutes of both meetings are generally confirmed within one to two weeks and are sent to the applicant immediately thereafter. If the proposal was refused, you can make the necessary corrections and submit the revised proposal.

The recommendations of the Planning Advisory Committee are finally presented to the Council meeting for approval.

Step 6: Obtain permit
The building permit must be posted in a window or other prominent place at the construction site.  A copy of the approved plans associated with the issuance of the permit must be kept on the site. Any changes from the plans must be brought to the attention of the Urban Planning Department immediately and requires review and approval in the same manner as the original application.

A building permit expires after six months if no work was undertaken at all or was started and then suspended for four consecutive months.  A new request must be submitted to renew an expired permit, which must comply with any new by-laws or guidelines.  Work on the exterior of a building must be completed within 12 months; work on the interior within 18 months.  Refer to by-law 1300 concerning permits and certificates.

Contact the Urban Planning Department if you have any questions regarding renovating and building in Westmount. The staff will assist you with the interpretation of the technical requirements of municipal codes and with the application of the Guidelines for Renovating and Building in Westmount. They will also identify what drawings, photographs and other documents are needed for your application.

Last update: Friday, May 4, 2012

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