A sign permit is required for most permanent and temporary signs. Municipal governments use permits as an approval process to ensure (a) the size, colour and location of a sign comply with local regulations concerning consistency with the streetscape and (b) the sign’s structural components comply with applicable building codes.
The process to obtain a permit varies in different municipalities. In general, it is getting progressively more detailed and complex. A permit package typically includes a site plan, elevation drawings and technical structural drawings of all signs involved in the project.
The municipal department will then review the application package and drawings to ensure they comply with the local sign bylaw, any zoning regulations pertaining to the site and local building codes. Once the department has reviewed and approved the package, a site copy of the permit is issued.
Failing to obtain the required permits and/or installing signs without a permit can be detrimental to a company in many ways. Companies often rely on a healthy relationship with the municipalities in which they do business. A poor reputation, such as being known for installing illegal signage, can be harmful to a company’s image and will ultimately have a negative impact on that relationship.
There is also an issue of liability. If a sign is installed without a sign permit and the attachments and/or base are not sufficient, then serious harm could occur. Everyone has heard about a sign falling off a wall or being blown away in high winds, presenting real danger to passersby. A company can be found criminally negligent if the proper steps were not followed. Going through the permit application process helps ensure a sign proposal is compliant with current building codes with regard to public safety.