Growth & Development Services

Permits: What Homeowners Need to Know

Why do I need a permit?

Getting the proper permits ensures that your project meets the health and safety requirements set out by the National Building Code of Canada. The permit process also makes sure that your project is in line with other municipal requirements, such as heritage, drainage and zoning regulations.

What work requires a permit? What is exempt?

The City of Saint John issues permits for the development, construction and use of all commercial, industrial, institutional or residential properties and buildings. The following are some examples of work that requires and does not require a permit for residential construction and renovations:

Examples of work REQUIRING a permit

  • Siding
  • Garage
  • Shed
  • Deck
  • Pool
  • Plumbing Additions
  • Finishing a basement
  • Adding a new room
  • New windows
  • New door openings or in a fire separation
  • Electrical upgrades
  • Interior renovations 

Examples of work NOT REQUIRING a permit

  • Repairing or replacing roofing shingles
  • Masonry repointing
  • Replacing less than 25% of a single façade of siding
  • Maintenance, replacement and installation of mechanical equipment
  • Finish flooring
  • Accessory buildings less than 10 square meters in building area

How do I apply for a permit?

Come see us at the One-Stop Development Shop on the 10th floor of City Hall to make an application. Anyone can apply for a building permit for a property; however, the owner is responsible to ensure the work is completed as per the approved permit. What you need to bring depends on the type of permit application.

If you are not sure of what is needed, give us a call at 658-2911 and we will help answer your questions about the application process.

What happens if I do not get a permit?

The decision not to get a permit could be costly. Your project may be delayed and the permit fees are doubled if you’ve started work without a valid permit. Some homeowners find that when they try to sell or refinance their home, prospective buyers or lending institutions want proof that alterations are in compliance with the National Building Code of Canada. Without a permit and inspection record, there is no proof. This can be costly and frustrating and could cause delays in refinancing or the loss of a sale of your home.

Where can I find more information on permits?

There are a number of resources available for finding more information on permits;


Come see us at

One-Stop Development Shop
10th floor, City Hall

Call us


Email us

Printable brochure