Building Guides



To assist you in your project, the Town offers guidance during the process. Presented below are some tips, common building and renovation requirements, along with definitions of terminology and examples.


Building Drawings

Contact the Building and By-law Services division early in the planning stages of your project before any drawings have been started. You will be required to submit some or all of the following:

  • site plans
  • floor plans
  • cross-sections
  • elevations
  • Heat loss calculations
  • Truss design layouts
  • Guard details
  • Plumbing layouts

Determining the specific requirements for your application can speed up the approval process, and save you time and money.

We currently accept architectural and structural drawings in either imperial or metric measure. However, the Ontario Building Code and Town of Whitby Zoning By-laws use metric measurements. Site plans must be metric. Original drawings in pencil are not acceptable, but photocopies of pencilled drawings are fine. If you have any questions, our staff will be happy to assist you.


Cross Sections

A cross-section presents a view of a building along an imaginary cut, showing the structural elements of the building and exposing what is hidden behind the walls. Cross-sections through the proposed and existing structure(s) may be required to show building materials and how they relate to one another. The location of a cross-section is shown by the cross-section symbol on the floor plans.

The following information should be shown on a cross-section:

  • title and scale
  • room names
  • heights and dimensions of doors and windows
  • size and type of materials and finishes
  • finished floor level and grades
  • extent of existing house and proposed additions

Note: More detailed drawings may be necessary to fully explain a particular aspect of your project that varies from conventional construction practices. Typical detailed sections are available from Building Services located at the Garden Street Branch Office, 3050 Garden St., #102, Whitby, ON.



Elevations show all views of a building. Elevation drawings may be required for any project that would alter the exterior view of your house. The following information should be shown on an elevation drawing:

  • title and scale
  • heights and dimensions of existing and new window and door openings
  • exterior finishes and materials
  • finished floor levels and grade
  • extent of proposed addition and existing house
  • overall height of building
  • slope/pitch of new roofs

Note: A north elevation drawing is not required if the project does not involve any change to the exterior view of the north side of the house.


Floor Plans

Floor plans provide a "bird's-eye view" of the different floors of your building. They show scaled dimensions of the rooms, hallways, and stairs on each floor, as well as the size, direction, and spacing of structural members (e.g., joists, beams, and lintels)

The following information should be shown on a floor plan:

  • title and scale
  • room names
  • interior and exterior dimensions, including door and window sizes
  • structural members and lintels, including their sizes
  • the materials used and the extent and size of both the new and existing structures(s)
  • cross-section symbols (for example, 'A-A')
  • location of plumbing fixtures



Several inspections are mandatory during construction to ensure that all work is done according to the approved plans. Inspections are required at the following stages:

  • Footing formwork prior to placing concrete
  • Foundation dampproofing and waterproofing and installation of drainage tiles prior to backfilling
  • Roughed-in plumbing and drains prior to covering
  • Roughed-in heating ducts prior to covering
  • Structural framing prior to insulating
  • Insulation and vapour/air barriers
  • Final inspection for building, plumbing, and heating

Inspections do not happen automatically. It is your responsibility to ensure that either you or your contractor contacts the Town to request an inspection at least 24 hours before work proceeds from one inspection stage to the next. This will ensure that your project proceeds as approved. The building permit has the details. For inspections, call 905.430.4300 x2412 .

Other Inspections

Inspections may be required by Ontario Hydro for electrical installations. Call 1.800.305.7383 for information.


Site Plan

A site plan identifies buildings and other features in relation to property boundaries. The site plan should identify your existing house and proposed changes. Most or all of the information required for a site plan can be found on your property survey. You may have received one when you bought your home. The following information should be shown on a site plan:

  • title and scale
  • legal description
  • street name
  • north arrow
  • property lines with dimensions
  • setbacks to all property lines from existing and proposed structure(s)
  • proposed construction (shaded)
  • overall building dimensions
  • rights-of-way and easements


  • All structures, existing and proposed, must be fully dimensioned.
  • The site plan referred to here differs from site plan control. Site plan control refers to a separate application approval process for land development, this is a Planning Departmane application. For the building permit process, you require a site plan drawing as illustrated on this page even if your property is not subject to site plan control.


Utility Locates

Utility marking and locating is a process for identifying and labeling underground public utility mains and cables to protect them from damage during excavation. Before any digging or excavation can take place, you must notify all utility companies so that they can locate and mark their underground utility. 

You can arrange for locates of several utilities through Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255. Locate markings are good for one month, after which time you must have them re-marked. Different colour paint is used to mark the different utilities as identified in the table below.

Colour Utility Type Utility Company
Red - Electricity Whitby Hydro
Yellow - Gas, Oil, Steam, Chemical Enbridge Gas
Orange - Communication CATV Bell Canada / Rogers Cable
Blue - Water Region of Durham
Green - Sewer, Storm Drain Region of Durham / Town of Whitby
Pink - Temporary Survey Markings  
White - Proposed Excavation  

The Town of Whitby provides locates for storm sewer infrastructure through Ontario One Call, 1-800-400-2255.



Zoning specifies the uses permitted within particular areas and contains regulations governing such things as building setbacks, height, and lot coverage. You should contact a Plans Examiner to determine the specific requirements for your addition or alteration.

    Conversion Table:
  • 1 m = 3.28 ft
  • 1 m2 = 10.76 ft2