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Air conditioning equipment


Important terms

Air conditioning equipment: A system for controlling the humidity, ventilation and temperature in a building, typically to maintain a cool atmosphere in warm conditions. Air conditioning equipment is considered a projection in the Land Use Bylaw.

What permits do I need?

When is a development permit required?

A development permit is required for an air conditioning unit when does not meet the rules of the Land Use Bylaw. A development permit is required when:

  • The equipment projects more than 1.0 m into a side setback area.
  • One side setback is not free and clear of projections.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is not required to install an air conditioning unit, so it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure the unit meets the Land Use Bylaw requirements, prior to installation.

All air conditioning unit installations will require an electrical permit.

When is a trade permit required?

Trade permits are required for electrical, plumbing, gas or mechanical work. This work will be inspected by safety code officers familiar with the applicable construction discipline, to ensure code compliance.

Types of trade permits required

  • Electrical permit: ​​required when installing an air conditioning unit.

Do it yourself

As the homeowner, you are able to obtain homeowner’s plumbing, electrical and gas fireplace installation permits. To apply for a homeowner’s trade permit you must:

  • Be performing the work yourself.
  • Own the home (you must provide proof of ownership, if the property has been purchased recently).
  • Live in the home.

You may be asked to show photo ID for verification.

Note: A homeowner is not permitted to install, alter or modify the main electrical service (which includes the main panel’s main breaker and the meter base). However, a homeowner is permitted to alter or tie into the main panel (with the exception of the main breaker) and may add a sub-panel to an existing main service, provided there is an existing main breaker.

See the homeowner plumbing guide​ and the homeowner electrical guide​ for tips on doing it yourself.

Working with a c​ontractor

​If you are hiring a contractor, they must have a valid City of Calgary business licence and obtain the proper permits. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure these permits have been obtained. This information can be acquired by contacting the Planning Services Centre.

A homeowner may not apply for a trade permit on behalf of a contractor. If your contractor is performing the work, they must apply for the applicable trade permit.

If you have an inquiry in regards to building, plumbing, electrical or HVAC code, submit a Technical Assistance Centre service request or call 311. For all other inquiries (e.g. Land Use Bylaw questions), please contact the Planning Services Centre.

Risks when a permit is not obtained

If you, as a homeowner or contractor, do not have permits for work that has been started or completed, there could be consequences if you do not take action to correct the situation, such as:

  • Enforcement action issued by a City inspector.
  • A fine for building without a permit.
  • Having to undo work that has been completed.
  • Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
  • Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted.

Note: As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you permits were not needed. If you are unsure if you need a permit, call the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311. Find out if your contractor has a City of Calgary business license with our Licensed Trade Contractor List.


If you require a development permit, these timelines vary, based on the type of application and the impacts to the community.

Homeowner trade permits can be issued instantly at the counter.

We’re committed to providing you with a timely response on your permit application

Know the rules

Note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the work being carried out conforms to any restrictive covenants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title.

Where to install an air conditioning unit

You can install an air conditioning unit in a front, rear and side setback with the following conditions:

  • Air conditioning units can only project 1.0 m into any side setback area.
  • Air conditioning units cannot be located in a side setback area that is required to be clear of projections. These projections include: air conditioning equipment, window wells, cantilevers and other portions of the building.
  • One side setback is required to be free and clear of projections.

Note: This does not include cantilevers and portions of the building higher than 2.4 m above grade. i.e; an upper floor cantilever.

Air conditioning in side yard

When air conditioning units are proposed on the same lot as a semi-detached dwelling:

  • Equipment is only permitted when one side setback area is on the street side of a corner parcel.

Previously installed air conditioning units

If you have a previously installed air conditioning unit that does not meet the Land Use Bylaw rules, a development permit for relaxation is required.

If the air conditioning unit was installed prior to June 1, 2008, there were no bylaw rules for air conditioning equipment and proof of installation is required to confirm the installation date.

Acceptable forms of proof are:

  • An official receipt or invoice showing the installation date (not the purchase date) of the equipment.
  • The builder’s purchase agreement showing record of air conditioning installation.

Additional inquiries about building, plumbing, gas, electrical or heating, ventilation and air conditioning code or construction methods, building safety and fire regulations, please contact the Technical Assistance Centre​. For all other inquiries (i.e. Land Use Bylaw), please call 403-268-5311.

How to apply

Where you live and the type of property you have will determine which application list you need to apply for a permit. Please read the content carefully and bring your completed documents along with drawings to the Planning Services Centre.

If you are applying for homeowner's trade permits in addition to your building permit, these must be applied for in-person. There are no additional forms required, please see When is a trade permit required? for more information.

Homeowner trade permit fees


Book your inspections by contacting 311 and providing them with your permit number.

Generally, your project will require a rough-in and a final inspection for each building and trade permit pulled, though additional inspections may be required. You can contact 311 on the morning of your inspection to find out if it will be in the morning or afternoon.

A development completion permit inspection may be required if a development permit is involved in your project. Call our Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 to determine if a development completion permit is required.

The inspection process is dynamic and an inspection outcome depends on the construction method and site conditions at time of inspection. The information provided is not intended as an exhaustive list, but a generalized outline of the inspection process.

Electrical permit inspections

Rough-in inspections

  • Access is required to the house to verify wiring and breaker installation.
  • Have all wiring and interior of boxes readily visible.
  • Do not secure devices (plugs, switches) to boxes. Devices do not need to be installed for the rough inspection.
  • Remove vapour barriers and insulation where it’s covering any wiring. The exception is for wiring fished into walls.
  • Terminate all wiring into boxes and fixtures and remove outer jackets.
  • All wiring must be supported.
  • Cables may be terminated into the panelboard, but should not be on breakers.
  • Rough and underground inspections should be combined. Backfilling a trench may be granted with prior permission.
  • Never energize exposed wiring.

Final inspections (completed at the safety codes officer’s discretion)

  • Do not have any exposed live wiring.
  • All outlets and cover plates must be in place.
  • All branch circuits must be energized for inspection.
  • The panelboard breaker directory must be completed.
  • A permit services report will be mailed to the owner after an acceptable inspection.

Call before you dig

Always call Alberta One Call before you dig: 1-800-242-3447. For more information or to submit a locate request, visit Alberta One-Call.

Disclaimer: This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​