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Uncovered decks and balconies

 

We’re here to help guide you through your home improvement project. By completing the home improvement application, we can assist you by:

  • Determining what permit types you require
  • Offering solutions or alternatives
  • Processing your application
  • Transitioning you smoothly through the application process

Do I need a permit?

Typically you do NOT need a permit if the deck:

  • Is no higher than 0.6 m (2’-0”) above grade at any point
  • Does not have a roof

A balcony will always require a permit.

If your uncovered deck falls outside of any of the above specifications, you will require a permit.

Visit understanding permits and the review proces​s to find out more about the permitting process.

How do I make an application?

Step 1: Open the application form and checklist

Use the home improvement application as a starting point, to determine the specific requirements for your project.

Step 2: Prepare your drawings

To help you design your project, see the building code and City bylaw information​ section.

Step 3: Apply

Submit the application once you have provided all the documents required. Use our fee calculator to estimate how much your permit will cost.

Online

Homeowners: Coming soon

Contractors/industry professionals: Apply online

In person

Once you have gathered the required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre. To skip the line, book an appointment.

Building code and bylaw information

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 and meets all rules and guidelines of the Land Use Bylaw and Alberta Building Code.

Illustrations of codes and bylaws

Sample drawings for building permits and development permits for uncovered decks and balconies.

Deck - general rules

In the developed area, the maximum height for a deck that is not located on the same facade as a basement walkout entry is 1.5 m. To find out if your property is located in a developed area, enter your address in the property information tool.

In both the developed and developing areas, the height of a deck must not exceed 0.3 m above the main floor level of a house.

Deck Height: Illustration of deck height maximums in developed and developing areas
Deck height: illustration of deck height maximums in developed and developing areas.

All decks:

  • Must not project into any side or front setback area.
  • May project a maximum of 1.5 m into any rear setback area. In most cases it must be at least 6.0 m from the rear property line.
Decks in the Backyard and Sideyard – Illustration of minimum side and rear setbacks
Decks in the back yard and side yard: illustration of minimum side and rear setbacks.

Front decks within the developed area

Due to the more immediate aesthetic impacts on the neighborhood, decks built in the front yard in developed areas are subject to different rules than those built in side and rear yards. At the minimum, decks must be 3.0 m from the front property line. This minimum setback may increase depending on the contextual front setback. See the example below on calculating your contextual front setback.

Contextual Front Setback – Illustration showing the calculation of the contextual front setback for decks in the Developed area
Contextual front setback: illustration showing the calculation of the contextual front setback for decks in the developed area.

Privacy walls

A deck or balcony that is attached to a semi-detached, rowhouse or townhouse building requires a privacy wall when the deck is located within 1.2 m of a shared property line. The privacy wall must be no less than 2.0 m and not greater than 3.0 m in height, measured from the surface of the deck. If a privacy wall is being installed on a balcony for a single de​tached dwelling, the maximum height is 2.0 m.

Privacy Walls – Illustration of a privacy wall located within 1.2 metres of the side property line and extending the full depth of a deck
Privacy walls: illustration of a privacy wall located within 1.2m of the side property line and extending the full depth of a deck.

Pergolas and trellises

If a pergola or roof structure is being attached to a house, the structure is considered an addition. Please refer to the additions page. If the structure being built is detached from the house, it is considered an accessory residential building and must comply with the applicable Land Use Bylaw rules. For more information see detached garages and sheds, and other accessory residential buildings.

When building a pergola on a deck that is not attached to the house, a 1.0 m separation from the house is required. You may require additional information for these types of permit applications and a review from a professional engineer.

Pergolas – Illustration of the difference between an attached and detached pergola
Pergolas: illustration of the difference between an attached and detached pergola.

Balconies - important rules

Rules vary for balconies based on whether they are open or recessed. Open balconies must not project more than 1.85 m from the building façade to which it is attached. A recessed balcony must not exceed 10 m² in floor area.

Open balcony – Illustration of a balcony unenclosed on 3 sides
Open balcony: illustration of a balcony unenclosed on 3 sides.

All balconies:

  • Must not project into any side or front setback area.
  • May project a maximum of 1.5 m into any rear setback area. In most cases it must be at least 6.0 m from the rear property line.
  • May be a maximum length of 3.1 m when located in a rear setback area

Zero lot lines

Zero lot lines allow you to build a deck to your side property line. Zero lot lines commonly exist in conjunction with a maintenance access right of way on the opposite side of the lot.

Zero Lot Lines – Illustration of a zero lot line and a maintenance access right-of-way
Zero lot lines: illustration of a zero lot line and a maintenance access right-of-way.

Railing heights

A railing 0.90m (3’-0”) high is required if the distance from the surface of your deck to adjacent ground level is less than 1.8m (6’-0”)

A railing 1.07m (3’-6”) high is required if the distance from the surface of your deck to adjacent ground level is equal to or exceeds 1.8m (6’-0”)

Refer to Division B, 9.8.8.3. of the 2014 Alberta Building Code for more information.

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 or call 311. For all other inquiries (i.e. Land Use Bylaw), please contact our Planning Services Centre.

Inspection information

All residential construction and electrical permits can be booked at 311 online services Inspection - Residential Improvement Project/Electric. Plumbing and gas permits can be booked 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.

The inspection process is dynamic and an inspection outcome depends on the chosen 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.

Inspections for buildin​g permits

Rough-in inspection requirements

  • Complete the deck structure, hand rail and stairs.
  • Do not install finishes that would conceal the structure.
  • Have requested documentation on site.

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

  • The structure should be completed.

A permit services report will be mailed to the owner after an acceptable inspection.

A development completion permit inspection may be required if a development permit is involved in your project. Contact the Planning Services Centre to determine if a development completion permit is required.

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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​