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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Newbies saying Hi from Ontario.
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# Posted: 21 Sep 2011 10:04

Greetings everyone.
We are Tim & Terri, currently from Southern Ontario, (near Kitchener), Canada.
We are planning to buy some land next fall in Northern Ontario.

We've been scanning this and other sites for ideas and tips, and really appreciate everyones sharing.

We'd really like to build a small cabin for initially, part-time use and eventually to spend most of our time there.
We have been looking at a few acreages in the outback near Timmins and would like to hear from anyone who has experience with building codes, relative to particular zoning in this area. ie: land zoned as "recreational", "wilderness", etc.

We understand that building permits are not required in un-organized townships, as long as the structure is made to safe standards.
Since we don't know for sure where we are headed yet, we can't really contact any particular municipality officials for ideas or advice.
So... If anyone can answer any of these questions, we'd really appreciate it.

Is there a size limitation, (ie: no smaller or larger, than X square feet)?

Are there rules about how many months of the year we can stay at our cabin? or... Do they not care as long as we have another permanent address?

Is there any rules against using compost toilets?

Any issues with raising livestock?, ie: rabbits, chickens, etc.

Several of the locations we've looked at, have flat (ish) bald rock and we'd like to hear about anyones experiences with planting foundations in such spots.

Snow can get pretty deep up here, so on that note, how high off the ground are you Northerners building your cabins to avoid having to dig too much to get into (or out of?) them in winter?

Thanks in advance for any input.

# Posted: 21 Sep 2011 15:38

We built in a unorganized township in Northern Ontario and needed permits. Our cabin is 4 feet off the ground. This keeps the cabin out of the snow and allows for air flow so we don't have a musty smell in the cabin.

# Posted: 21 Sep 2011 18:24

Thanks for the info.
Not sure what all this discrepancy is with people saying no permits are required in un-organized townships. I've read several posts now from folks who say they needed permits in these places, but some realtors still advertise land as no permit required due to such location.
Guess I'll just have to pick a spot & contact local authorities to get the straight goods.

# Posted: 21 Sep 2011 22:39

let's see tim, terri,------ timmims that's it TTT ,welcome fokes, please keep us posted . you have made a good choice. lot's of help hear..good hunting!! about the footings a fellow i know in Bracebridge poured right on the rock ,first he drilled 4 holes in the rock and droped in a foot of rebar in each hole . to adhere the footing to the rock. if i am talking to him this fall i will ask..

# Posted: 22 Sep 2011 16:15

TTT I built right on shield rock near Parry Sound. Just like Just suggests, drill into the rock, stick in rebar, then poured a square footing with sonotube sticking out. seat post at top transitions to 4x4 or 6x6 post to underside of the cabin which in my case is between 5 and 2 feet off the ground.

# Posted: 22 Sep 2011 17:05

TTT good move. Do everything legal and you won't end up with big problems.

# Posted: 22 Sep 2011 23:26

No offense but read project_north and what happened to his cabin project. Go to your municipality and tell them what your plans are so you are legal. Good luck project_north you are not on the good side of your inspectors. They will probably make it he'll for you.

# Posted: 25 Oct 2011 09:09

Make sure to contact all of the building inspectors in your area beforehand to let them know what you are planning and to make sure it will be fine. I also recommend contacting some people in the area and talking to realtors about the disposition of the inspectors in your area. Some country areas only have 1 inspector for the entire county and will take months to get to any project. A realtor told me about how they have filed dozens of complaints against an inspector (the only one serving the entire county they are stuck with) but to no avail. Her clients buy land and get permission to build and when it comes time to do the inspection he makes them wait months. One couple had their entire home built and were waiting to move in and he made them wait 1 year to get around to it despite them filing complaints and they had to rent a motel in the meantime. So I would ask around about how the workflow is and if they are lazy or not before considering an area if you are going to be building from scratch.

# Posted: 26 Oct 2011 07:36

Hi TT,
We're from London Ontario area and we built a bunkie up on the Bruce. Rules in Ontario are very different then the U.S.
I don't know how different Timmins will be....municipalities seem to follow eachother's rules for consistency.
Technically, you can't even build a 100 sq. ft bunkie.......unless there is already a residence onsite. Before you can build the residence (must be minimum of 1000 sq. ft and they tell you the foundation allowed), you need a preinspection and then must install a septic system, etc. $$$$$$$$.
We have a couple acres of bush down the road from Lake Huron...we're hoping to stay under the radar and have become good friends with our neighbours....we had a well installed and are using the humanure compost's the only way we can afford it at this point with hopes to build someday.
Trailers are a big NoNo....but I believe you can camp on your property a few weeks a year, but must remove the trailer when you go. Check our thread...100 sq, ft Bunkie in southwestern Ontario.
Good luck on your dream!

# Posted: 9 Nov 2011 15:45

what if you bought a piece of land that already has a small workshop on it. Could you fix it up and use it instead of building a small cabin?

Pat in Ottawa
# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 08:22

Building in Northern Ontario...

This is just from some minimal research I have done in preparing for building my hide away.

Building in an unorganized township simply means there are no local government building departments, inspections or bylaw officers to deal with. "or very minimal". Each township can be a little different.

However, if your building anything over 98 sq feet, or plan to live in it, you still need to apply through the province for a building permit, cause they issue the "Occupancy Permit" after inspections. So you need to build to code. As for the size of building, Section 9 of the OBC details residential buildings and doesn't specify a minimum size of building, but they do specify minimum room sizes based upon the number of occupants the design will accomodate. With the newest OBC regs now coming into effect for new minimum energy standards, new septic standards etc. You can get a copy of section 9 of the OBC from a number of sources online.

This doesn't mean your dream is out of reach. It just means you need to design your little hide away properly. And you need to be willing to change your design a little bit to accomodate the OBC regs. You can't just throw up four log walls and say your done. To put it simply, if you want to live in it, you have to build your little cabin, like your building a little house.

You need to come up with a design, you need an engineers stamp on those plans. You need soil and water testing. You need permits and inspections through the provincial agencies.

Quite honestly, building within the codes isn't difficult. Most of the OBC is based upon minimum standards for your safety. A good example: Building in an unorganized township, your probably going to be your own fire department. The OBC details building practices in support of life safety and controlling flame spread and that buy's you time to save yourself and possibly save your home.

You also need permits through the Electrical Safety Authority if your going to have electrical service. In addition, there are requirements usually from a local health board for septic. The OBC now supports composting toilets, but you still need to manage gray water disposal etc.

Likewise, if your building near a body of water or an area that's prime habitat, there will probably be some local conservation society to work with and they'll have to sign off on your plans etc.

The provincial governments website has some information and gives some basic details for building in unorganized townships and how to contact the local health board for your specified area.

The moral of the story... You need to do your research, find out everything you need to do "before you start", and work within the regulations. That includes talking to the locals and all the provincial agencies. Local and regional authorities can add their own standards on top of the OBC for lot and home sizes and zoning and use etc. Research and understanding the area and politics of the area is very important.

Food for thought... There's a reason why you can buy 200 acres for as low as 20K in Northern Ontario. Be it a useage issues or only seasonal access. I would definitely invest the $50 to $100 dollars and sit down with a local lawyer who handles property issues and discuss your plans and find out if there are any obstacles before you buy the property. I wouldn't just go with what the local realtor says.

Once everythng is a go, you can build with the confidence you'll get an occupancy permit once the inspections are done.

Bancroft bound
# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 08:47

Holy Time Warp Batman!!!!!!!!

Seeing as this thread is 3 years old I'm pretty sure the OP has figured things out.

Thanks for the info anyway.

Pat in Ottawa
# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 18:33

Darn, starting a New Year and I'm already three years behind schedule....

Bancroft bound
# Posted: 2 Jan 2015 17:51

Cabin/Vacation life is at a slower pace........
Take your time and eventually you'll get there!

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