Building Department Permit Fees and other Municipal Government fees:

Refer to the City of Toronto Web site for their Fees:


Refer to this City of Mississauga document for their Fees:



Our Design/Permit/Construction Drawing Fees:

Last updated Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Percentage of the construction costs:


Design/drawing fees are typically based on a percentage of the construction. The standard percentage in the architectural design industry is typically around 5% of the construction cost. However, without the drawings being done it’s sometimes difficult to know the initial price vs say the client budget price, and the price upon final completion can be higher than hoped based on many things, including the level of design/drawing services paid for by the owner. Also, most designers would have a higher relative fee for a smaller project vs a larger project for numerous reasons. So, an example construction cost of $200,000 at 5% architectural drawing fee would be $10,000.


If a client hires a contractor for both building, and design/permit drawings, this cost will be hidden in their cost. So, don’t kid yourself, the cost will still be there somewhere because they will take time to get a good design from their own sources or “in house” as we say if they know what they are really doing to minimize headaches and cost overruns internally within their company, and to save time during construction. Of course, they will try to make a profit off that service too.


Hourly Rate Cost:

There is also an hourly rate cost concept. However, it is difficult for a client to know how many real hours are spent on a certain design and the overall drawings. The client can also majorly influence the amount of time spent on a project including meetings, emails, phone calls, their vision, zoning restrictions to their visions, and their change of vision and their fellow stakeholder’s influences (in the case of a house the other family members).


Cost based on Total area of the project (square foot or square metre):

A cost based on the total area of the project (square foot or square metre). The area cost would go up or down based on the size and complexity and scope of the project. Most construction contractors would do their initial costing quotes to a client based on the area of the project too. This is the preferred way for us to cost a project.


Construction Contract Fees:

Contractors construction costs are typically based on 50% labour and 50% material. Within that structure is their overhead and profit. Such that the costs the owner pays for construction would usually be on average say 40% labour, 40% material and 20% overhead and profit (excluding their own discounts on materials). The construction contractor can play with labour percentages based on how much he/she pays their labours/subs, and what level of experience, and level of execution in their skills is achieved. The contractor can also tweak their profit based on the materials, fixtures, finishes/millwork/cabinetry, windows, roofing and so forth. In effect the quality of the construction. Though they are controlled by the minimal quality levels of the Ontario Building Code. A general contractor could make up to 50% profit, when all they may be doing is paying their subs for all their work, and scheduling them, based on all the work and information placed into the drawings by the design consultants. In effect a broker.


Initial consultation: This is usually a free service as part of the initial meetings to meet and find out what the client wants and how they feel about us. But no form of drawings or major information will be given to the client without some form of initial payment/deposit first. A contract that includes a work plan and list of deliverables and scope of work can/will be generally provided to form the bases of the “Work” and the “contract”. 

Measured Existing Conditions Drawings:           Approx. $2.00 to $3.00/sf

The above stage will be the initial stage where the information is gathered from the client on what they want and the existing conditions of the existing structure (where applicable) and site information is recorded and obtained to form the bases of the new design work and its effect on zoning/design/permit/construction/ and future costs.

Conceptual Design/ Design Development:          Approx. $1.50 to $2.50/sf

This above fee will apply and vary and when more than one design package is required by the client to choose from. For a very basic example of 3 design versions of a 300 square foot space @ $1/SF would be $300 each design (see below example plans that do not include elevations or sections or the basement). Existing drawing square footage portion would only be charged once. The final design is not charged for and is part of the Concept/Design to Working Drawings transition and swallowed in the overall fee. There will be some flexibility on this fee and the Design Process and client requested revisions.

Example above of 3 different proposed layouts of a back addition off an existing kitchen with 3 different deck designs and mud room configuration off the deck and bike storage area. This was for the Deforest project show on the website. In the end we settled on no deck or bike storage and a slightly different layout to the mudroom addition and new back stair to the basement.

Reminder that the above fee generally also includes a basic roof plan, basic elevations, basic sections and a basic site plan as part of the fee. But is not ready for Permit yet.

This basic end of this stage will also be the stage where the submission to the city/municipality for Zoning/Site Plan Approval, prior to the Building Permit Submission. Zoning must be approved prior to Permit Submission.


Permit/Basic Working Construction Drawings: Approx. $3.00 to $6.00/sf

The above two items (Design Development and Permit Drawings) are usually combined for one price depending on the nature of the client and the situation, number of design schemes, etc.


example Fee for a 1000 SF existing house with a 500 SF new addition would be calculated as the following:

Existing Portion of House (Required for permit and is basis for new design)                                    

1000SF X $2.00/SF=             $ 2,000.00

New Portion Concept/Design Development

500 SF x $2/SF=                   $ 1,000.00

Working Drawings (Permit Drawings)               

500SF X $3.00/SF=               $ 1,500.00

Total Architectural Fee        $ 4,500.00 (based on one floor only)

Decks: Average deck $2,000 depending on zoning headaches and site complications and complexity. Reminder this price includes what will be required for an actual permit and will include a site plan, as the municipality will require this generally as part of the submission so they know where it is relative to property lines, existing structures, driveways, roads and such. It includes some basic recording of existing conditions and includes plans and elevations and sections. This would not be just a generic standalone deck package from a lumber store that you build without a permit. This is possible and cheaper, but not recommended and can cause issues down the road depending on your situation depending on your design, size and location.

Garages: Average small single car garage $2,000 A Double car garage would be $4,000 and up depending again on complexity. This includes, plans, elevations, sections, site plan, and zoning checks. Note I have had many clients want to build a garage that is way over the zoning limits for their lot size. Zoning by-laws will dictate the maximum sizes and setbacks, not really the building code.

HVAC/Heat Loss Calculations: $2,000 on average. Note this is a separate required BCIN HVAC licensed, or Mechanical Engineer consultant.

Structural Design: Items that can’t be engineered under Part 9 of the Code but only Part 4 of the Code (OBC) would need to be designed by a Structural Engineer. A fee would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, houses can be designed under Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code. This is when the design live load is not greater than 2.5 kPa and clear spans are, generally speaking, not greater than 4.9m. There are special conditions when greater spans can also be designed under Part 9 of the code.

As long as the design is able to be kept to Part 9 the fee is included as part of the Working Drawing Fee and the structural design in this case by us, and no extra fees are charged.

A good rule of thumb here though is to assume around $2000.00  However, depending on complexity and if required it could be more. Some projects may need some major beams, special foundations and footings, special retaining walls, underpinning or shoring, or helical piles. A structural engineer will require further fees to review during construction the construction contractors work as regulated under the Building Code and will need to sign off that the work is OK. This is in addition to the Inspectors sign-off.

Septic System Design (where applicable): Where this is required as part of a design it is a separate licensed designer. Prices will vary based on system, and site conditions.  Budget $ 5000 when needed. Not included in the architectural fees.

Civil Grading Plan: Depending on the zoning, site and the scope of work of the design the municipality may require a civil engineer to provide a full grading plan, over and above what our firm may provide for grading concepts. This requirement may vary. Generally, this is not required unless it’s a full new site development.

Legal Survey by OLS: This will be required for most work unless you have an existing survey that is usually provided with the purchase of the property in a standard real estate transaction. Some owners seem to not have these on file as part of their deed/purchase which really surprises us. As far as we know it’s the law to supply as part of the purchase of a property. These fees are additional and the Survey is obtained by the client directly. Fees are usually approximately $3000 and up. It will form the bases of an architectural site plan, and zoning compliance checks and so forth.


Optional Additional Services:

Committee of Adjustment Hearings:

$400.00 for each Committee of Adjustment hearing application only. (includes documentation and filling out the application and submitting as required).

$900.00 for us to attend in person the CofA hearing also. Time scheduling may be an issue.

Detailed Construction Drawing Fees: Although the permit drawings will allow you to construct and can be used for construction and pricing, they are generally basic permit drawings depending on the fees agreed to with the client and what they are looking for. Typically, once the permit has been obtained the client still has not decided on numerous things still and they greatly influence construction schedule and costs during this time. Construction drawings would more closely detail things going together and would include more detail and more precise info on brands and precise materials and finishes and fixture selections that would influence costs and may have effect on construction coordination. This includes working with the owner and contractor on clarifications on things and possible value engineering of the drawings. Fees would be discussed on a case-by-case bases and how detailed the client wants to go.

Kitchen Design (in detail): Although the permit drawings will allow you to construct and can be used for construction and pricing of the Kitchen millwork layout, and fixture locations, they are generally basic. Most clients would either go to one of the big box stores and work with an in-store kitchen designer based off the Permit Drawings. Or they can pay additional services/fees to the contractor depending on if the contractor has quoted them a Kitchen package in their price (whatever that may be price and design wise). Fees on a case by case basis and depends on the number of revisions, size and level of design. Keep in mind you probably have about ½ hour to an hour in the box store with the in house designer vs us.

Construction Review Fees: This is a minimum hourly rate of  $120.00/hr. Plus $0.50/km where the location is at a good distance away. Note there should be at least the same number of visits by the permit drawings designer as the main municipal building inspector. Reviews should be done at least at the completion of the stages of foundations, framing, insulation, enclosing, and final completion/inspection. A review at the completion of the excavation stage when the initial setup of the foundations is taking place is also a good idea. This is to give the customer the insurance during the construction process that the contractor is doing things correctly and in a good manner and as per the design. Of course, you can go with just the contractors review and the local building inspector that they may know already, and have deal with many times, and have a relationship with each other.

Contractor Billing reviews and sign-off: We can as desired review on the owner’s behalf all billings the contractor provides you to make sure they are justified and that the work is done and that you are not paying too much for something in advance of work being done and that the products or materials are being delivered and running the risk of a contractor running off with your money.

3D Design Images: We can as desired do some 3D design images. Each image will have a fee (kitchen designs maybe excluded from these fees). More advanced 3D images may require out of house hiring. We can also organize out of house staff.

Payment Schedules: Note partial payments at the end of each stage of the design & drafting will be requested. At each payment point you will get a hard copy of the drawings to date and an invoice. If you do not like what you see at that point you do not have to pay. But you will not receive any hard copy of the drawings at that point in the design for something you did not like, or not want to pay for.


Keep in mind we want your work. So, all prices are negotiable. Let's meet and see what we can agree to do for each other.