So, if you've ever wondered what the beginning stages of building a home look like – it's a whole lot of waiting and patience! Right now, it feels like nothing is happening because everything is with the city, and this waiting game is killing me. But hey, it's all part of the process!

Disclaimer: The building process can vary slightly depending on the lot and its surroundings. Please consult a professional in your area if you are considering embarking on your own home build.

In case you’re considering building a home in Toronto, here is a quick overview of what you can expect in the early stages of the process: 

1. Survey: Before your architect can begin drawing up plans, you’ll require an updated survey of the property. It's also super helpful to ensure that your architect (or you) know the zoning bylaws for your specific municipality.

Now the fun stuff can begin - the plans!

2. Zoning Review: Once the plans are complete they are submitted for a zoning review. This step entails the city reviewing your plans to see if there are any variances. If the review deems that there  are, you will them have to apply to the committee of adjustments (CoA). Spoiler alert: we knew we'd have to go to the CoA because of our architect's expertise with the bylaws.

If you have to attend the CoA, the zoning review gets sent to your neighbours. We took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to everyone and made sure they were on board with our plans. Luckily, we got all the support we needed – but we’ve also been on the other side before, and man, dealing with objections during our first build was not fun!

3. City Planning: As you wait for your CoA hearing, a city planner gets assigned to your case. This is a new process for us, since it wasn’t part of the process during our first build. Essentially, planning will let you know of any concerns they have before the hearing and then submit a positive, or negative report to the CoA with comments on your case. We've had to tweak some things based on their feedback, but it’s ultimately your choice whether you would like to proceed to the CoA, with or without making the recommend changes. We’ve been told that a positive report weighs heavy at the CoA, so we tried our best to work closely with planning to adjust what we needed.

4. Forestry: While all of the above is in progress, you can also reach out to forestry to get the green light on any tree-related matters.

5. CoA: Once the hearing date arrives, it’s time to present your case to the committee. Our architect has done this on our behalf, however homeowners are welcome to do it as well. The results of the CoA will ultimately dictate next steps.

6. Zoning Certificate & Building Permit: Given that your case passes, and you’re given the green light to proceed, there’s a 20 day appeal period, where anyone who has any concerns (i.e. neighbours) can come forward. Once this period passes, you can apply for a zoning certificate. Then once that's done, your application is considered complete and then there’s a two week wait for a building permit.

We’re currently waiting on step # 5, our CoA hearing – just playing the waiting game and crossing our fingers that everything goes smoothly. Stay tuned for more updates!