Permits and zoning for addition and new home. Part III

Here we are closing our Blog series about the pros and cons of Additions and New builds. 

Is there any time difference between the additions permit and the New home? 

There is a significant time lag between deciding to build a new home and getting one. On average, it takes two years. Construction usually takes about a year, but that’s a year of action. You choose tiles, hardwood, curb appeal, and materials. It's an exciting time when you create something that has never existed; time flies when you build a house. Obtaining a permit is not that exciting; most of the time, you wait on others to provide you with drawings, permits, application status, correction notes, thousands of emails back and forth with the city's usual 48-hour delay, and so on. For many people, it's frustrating when you are ready to move on but waiting on the sidelines. Recently, we have considered another factor: inflation and unprecedented uncertainty. Prices, materials, availability, everything is changing rapidly. So, obtaining permits quickly becoming more essential than ever before. As a general rule of thumb, additions are quicker than new homes. Simply, it requires less approvals. You do not need an up-to-date survey or grading plan. The city considers you as renovation, leading to more acceptance on the zoning side. Utilities are there, and you do not need to disconnect them. Even when a committee adjustment is involved, additions are more favorable to get a positive decision, rather than new homes, which always risk going to TLAB and extending the approval time to another year. Of course, there are always exceptions. So professional contractors will always point out any obstacles related to your project, yet based on our experience of 17 years, additions are easier and faster to obtain building permits. 

What permit is cheaper, Additions or a New home? 

This question always arises when we talk to our customers. Simply answering addition permits is cheaper. It may not be significant, but working with a professional and experienced architect may result in substantial savings. To understand the cost structure of construction and obtaining a building permit, I would recommend reading our blog on construction costs involved in custom homes as well as referring to the first part of this blog series, “Making the Right Choice: Building New or Renovating existing home ” here we will point out on some most common cost differences. While drawings and overall standard Permit package costs are the same for new builds or additions, supplemental documents or city fees required to obtain building permits are quite different. For example, a new survey and grading plan would cost around $3000 or even more, depending on the lot size and house you plan to build. In most cases, additions skip this part and use any survey you already have. City fees are also quite different. For example, a committee of adjustment fee for additions is $1500; for new build, it is $3500 in Toronto.  As another example, city fees for renovations are cheaper than for new build. So, when we apply for a building permit, part of the existing house is calculated as renovation, and only the actual addition is calculated as a new build. In contrast, a completely new home will be estimated entirely by the new build rate. Those are just the most common examples. Various cost differences may be involved that would make your project permits cheaper when you build an addition compared to a new house.   

In conclusion to our blog series about additions versus new homes, we have been discussing which way to choose when you planning to build your home. We have seen different aspects of the financial, construction, and permit side of building a new home or addition and the challenges you may face. There is no clear answer about what option Addition or New Build is best. Each approach  should be picked based on unique features of your existing home. That’s why it's crucial at the beginning when you decide to build your home to meet with a professional builder such as Wellcore Corporation and accomplish a thorough review of your property.   

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