backyard attached greenhouse

yellowthumb(5a Ontario)October 21, 2012


I have been thinking put up an attached greenhouse. My yard is south facing with plenty of sunshine.

After a bit research, I located cross country greenhouse, a great product designed and manufactured in Ontario. Before long, I realized the real obstacles, the paper work. Since anything and everything that attaches to your house needs a permit, I expressed my ideas to city hall permit department. To my surprise, those guys looked at me like an alien. Seems nobody has dealt with greenhouse before. A senior guy, both in age and experience, showed up and admitted he has dealt with three greenhouses in his whole career. Of course, some was turned down, others approved with great effort and lengthy procedure.

Quite puzzled, and wondering I am the first customer ever since. I talked to the greenhouse vendor, the vendor admitted that it's my personal choice, a permit or no permit. With permit, I need to purchase a 1100 dollars engineered drawing, she admitted that she has never sold a drawing before. It's kind of indicating to me that greenhouse is really a gray zone that nobody wants to touch, so everybody just do it.

Another shock is that to get a permit, I need to upgrade the snow load. City asks for 60 pound per sql foot. The standard is 32. Since it's a greenhouse with steep slope and slippery material. Sixty sounds way too over engineered, then it comes with the price tag, 5000 dollars more. All price together, I need to pay an extra 7000 dollars, plus 13% HST in total, just for the sake of a permit.

What's your experiences and opinions?

Thank you


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jomuir(z5 detroit)

no experience, but this would be a great example of why people often don't pull permits. Too much red tape, and it sounds like you're trying to comply yet they're trying to discourage you from installing it.

It also sounds like the mfr knows people are doing this, and/or your locality has really strict requirements. If you didn't pull a permit, have you put yourself on a list that the city will come back to some day looking to see if it's there? Or do they do drive-bys looking for improvements (not uncommon in my area)? Would this become a huge problem then? I'd ask myself that before I made a final decision.

For all the additional costs w/a permit, I'd want to be growing some rare orchids or something to justify it, unless you're rich lol.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Where do you live? Permits are a municipal responsibility. If you are in a city, there is likely going to be much sharper scrutiny of what you build, so to avoid an expensive mistake, you had better build to code.
In some areas, greenhouses are considered temporary, so no permit is required.
Your best bet is to start making friends in your municipality's planning department. You need information.
Having a permit is not a personal choice, so if I were you, I'd do a lot more checking on the vendor.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I didn't pull a permit. I'll find a picture and post it. It's attached to the front of my garage with a gas furnace in the garage itself.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:31AM
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The greenhouse.

Next year I may build a "real" one unless this one works fine lol.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 6:27PM
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jomuir(z5 detroit)

word of caution, a resident of my township had to remove a small kit-type shed, because they didn't put it on 2 or 3 inches of cement, as a rat deterrent. Resident even got verbal okay from inspector.

Couple years later, inspector regime changed, drive-by's began & they were cited & lost their request for a variance. It was a sh*tstorm for the owners....Totally depends on local reg's & how strict locality is.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:52PM
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In the summer we do a lot of work on Town Park Property indirect to the Town itself but man those bastards are always driving through neighbourhoods looking to nail ppl on this or that.

I'm surprised one hasn't stopped to tell me to remove my freestanding Palm Enclosure. It would be a conspiracy to prevent me for winning our Ajax Blooms Competition again.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:48PM
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