Architectural Design & Permit Services

About our Architectural Services…

couple with architectural drawings

The Renovation Co-op provides all Architectural Design & Permit services separately. You are never obligated to purchase the actual renovations. This gives you complete ownership and control over your own drawings.

It is not uncommon for a general contractor to include the cost of architecture in the total contract price. However, in such arrangements it is the contractor (not the client) who actually owns and controls the drawings.

When you present your own architectural drawings and completed permit to contractors (whether through The Co-op or not) for an estimate:

1- The contractors must now base their price on a specific set of final drawings, leaving no room for guesswork or “game-playing.”

2- By having your permit drawings completed first, contractors will know that you are “ready to roll.” This lets a contractor give you an estimate based on job starting immediately, instead of some future, unknown date.

3- It also lets the contractor know that you are committed to getting the work done. as you have already purchased your drawings.


When you buy your drawings through a member-specialist, you’ll get a rebate up to $1,500 that is applied toward the final contract price.

About the Permit Process…


The Permit Process…

Over the past few years, the process for applying for a building permit within Ontario has become more complex, especially in larger communities such as the Toronto GTA and its surrounding areas.

In response to the recent high volume of residential construction created by the demand for increased housing, municipalities throughout southern Ontario have becoming increasingly impatient with homeowners who do not follow the rules and/or procedures regarding permit applications.

This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of Permit Compliance Orders that are being issued each month, especially within the Toronto GTA.(see Permit Compliance Services below)

Given the mandatory years of experience required for membership into The Renovation Co-op, our architectural-specialists have gained well-earned respect and credibility from many municipal building inspectors and examiners, which provides an important professional representation for the homeowner (especially if the homeowner has had ongoing issues with the city.

Permit Compliance Services


Permit Compliance Services

A Permit Compliance Order initiated by a local building inspector can very quickly become a serious issue. Such orders must be handled with care, speed and efficiency by a seasoned architect or structural engineer.

Recently, there has been a large increase in the volume of Building Permit Compliance Orders issued throughout the Toronto region. As a result, The Renovation Co-op has developed its own Permit Compliance Services.

This fast-paced service consists of a select group of The Co-op’s most experienced architectural and structural designers. Consequently, this has given each of them a high degree of earned credibility and experience in resolving compliance-related issues.

To their credit, most inspectors and examiners are quite reasonable and professional. They also understand that the majority of complaints are initiated by neighbors, and will ensure the validity of the complaint. However, the appropriate response to a compliance order takes care and patience on the part of the homeowner.

If you have been cited by a building inspector for a violation, the inspector will first give you a verbal warning. However, prior to that visit a compliance order file has already been created. A follow-up Compliance Order will be sent to you with a “date certain” for rectifying the issue. The due date will depend upon the inspector’s sense of urgency regarding the structure’s condition and safety.

However, it is important to mention that by this point, a file has been started regarding the issue, and the verbal warning should be taken seriously. If you fail to act on this warning, an official “Order-to-Comply” will be issued to you, which spells out a definite time frame for adherence.

“As-is” or “As-built” Drawings

In addition to citing structures that are unsafe, most Orders-to-Comply are issued for construction that is performed without a permit.

The Compliance Order will likely include a requirement for an examination by a licensed, structural designer. In order to obtain the permit, the specialist will have to produce drawings based on the way the structure is supposed to have been built, then compare it to the way it has actually already been built.

Regardless of how far the issue has gone, our Permit Compliance Specialists can act quickly to resolve the issue on your behalf. Once you engage a Co-op member-specialist to rectify the situation, he or she will immediately act to set the Order-to-Comply aside, pending building permit approval.

Structural Drawings


Structural Drawings

Whether your project involves the removal of a Support Wall, Basement Underpinning, an Addition or Custom home…the permit process will normally require a set of stamped structural drawings.

The Renovation Co-op offers whichever level of structural specialist that is required for the type and level of the work, including Structural Engineers (P-Eng) and licensed BCIN Designers who specialize in providing drawings for structural modifications.

Layout & Design


Layout & Design

When applying for a permit for most interior types of work, your drawings must be accompanied by set of both existing floor plans as well as proposed floor plans. In addition, the permit application may also require front and side elevation drawings.

Your assigned design-specialist will look after all aspects of the required architectural and/or structural drawings, and provide professional measurements, layout, front and side elevations as required, along with 3D layouts (upon request).

The Renovation Co-op’s professional designer-members know the importance of presenting all drawings in a very clear, easy-to-understand manner-not just for the client, but for the examiners as well. Many permit approvals are held up due to lack of clarity. Considering the tools and software available to professional design specialists, there is absolutely no excuse for such holdups with the permit application.

The Renovation Co-op accepts into its membership only those licensed designers who have had a minimum of 5 years experience within the industry. However, the average level of experience of our member-architectural specialists exceeds 10 years.

3D Renderings


Photo-Realistic 3D Renderings

3-D Renderings have become a standard add-on to most architectural drawings for the following purposes:

Pre-Selling Your Home

If you are renovating your home and intend to sell it, you may have to wait until the work is totally completed before being able to confidently invite buyers to view the finished work.

However, through the use of Photo-Realistic 3-D Renderings, you can offer a potential buyer a clean view of the renovations as completed, which can translate into a much faster sale and closing period.

3-D Drawings & Financing:

If you are seeking construction financing, your bank or lender will normally require a completed set of final drawings.

Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to rely totally upon the “imagination” of many loan officers who are at best, ill-trained in viewing most architectural drawings.

By submitting 3-D Renderings along with the proposed drawings to your lender, you won’t have to rely solely upon the loan officer’s personal “vision” of what your completed project will look like. As the saying goes: “One picture is worth a thousand words.”

In the “good old days,” (just a few years ago) the availability and expense of 3-D technology was impractical for such use.

However in today’s world, where the cost of 3-D Renderings has become so affordable and practical, they have become a common, integral part of the entire process.

Architectural Estimating Procedures

Although estimates for architectural services are processed separately from general contracting, the same member-bidding system is used.

Upon the viewing of the project, a bid request, or “Invitation to Bid” is submitted only to those member-architectural/structural designers who most regularly provide the type and level of service required to fulfill the client’s specific project

In other words, if you need drawings and a permit for a Basement Entrance, the bid request would not be submitted to those specialists who provide drawings for large additions and/or custom homes.

As with bids that are submitted to General Contractors for the actual renovations, this selective targeting of specific types and levels of member-services for each project keeps the bidding within more stabilized levels, with less chance of prices being “all over the board.”

The following is a sample screen a member-designer may see as part of our Member- Bidding system:

To learn more about The Renovation Co-op’s estimating system please visit the Estimating Procedures section.