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Fireplaces

 

Important terms

Fireplace: an architectural structure designed to contain a fire used for heating, cooking and other domestic uses. There are different types of fireplaces:

Outdoor fireplace: a fireplace outside of a home, attached to the house, roof, deck or garage.

Wood burning fireplace (either masonry or factory-built): a heating appliance capable of burning wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel, like wood pellets. Generally, the appliance consists of solid metal (usually cast iron or steel) closed fire chamber, a fire brick base and an adjustable air control.

Gas fireplace: an appliance fuelled by either liquid propane or natural gas. They are completely sealed from the area that is heated, and vent all exhaust gasses to the exterior of the structure.

Before you start

A building permit is required for all factory-built wood burning fireplaces, stoves and inserts. If you are building an outdoor fireplace attached to a home, roof, deck or garage, you will require a building permit.

A building permit is only required for a gas fireplace insert if the installation includes a new exterior projection on the house (like a chimney chase).

Used wood-burning appliances may only be installed in a detached garage.

What permits do I need?

The scope of work being performed will dictate what permits are required. If a development permit is required, this must be applied for and approved prior to building permit and trade permit applications.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required if:

  • You are installing any factory-built wood-burning fireplaces, stoves and inserts.
  • You are building an outdoor fireplace attached to a house, roof, deck or garage.

If you are installing a gas fireplace that includes a new exterior projection on the house, you will need to apply for a building permit for an addition.

Fireplace cantilever distance from property line
Fireplace cantilever distance from property line
 

When is a development permit required?

A development permit is required if your installation requires an exterior projection that does not meet the rules of the Land Use Bylaw.

Existing structures requiring relaxation

If a structure has already been built and does not comply with the rules of the Land Use Bylaw, a relaxation application is required. The applicant applies for a development permit application to weigh the impacts of the non-compliant structure and evaluate whether a relaxation is appropriate. When making this type of application, use the requirements list for Relaxation of an Existing Structure.

When is a trade permit required?

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, you must own the home with proof of ownership (in cases where the property has been purchased recently) and live in the home. 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.

You cannot 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.

Gas fireplace permit

A gas permit can only be applied for by a qualified, licensed contractor. If the gasfitter is doing the entire installation (installing the fireplace and all related piping and connections), they will only require the gas permit and not the gas fireplace installation permit.

Gas fireplace installation permit

A gas fireplace installation permit is only for the installation of a fireplace insert. It does not include the gas connection. It may be applied for by a registered gas fireplace installer, or the homeowner may apply for a homeowner's fireplace installation permit if they live in the home and will be installing the fireplace themselves.

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.

Timelines

Development permit timelines vary, based on the type of application and the impacts to the community.

Most building permits for home improvement projects can be issued the same day as the application. However, sometimes a plans examiner will require a more in-depth examination of the application and the building permit is generally issued within a week.

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 cov​enants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title.

Installing a fireplace when finishing your basement

When you are developing your basement, you will also require a basement development building permit. For more information, contact the Technical Assistance Centre or call 311.

Installing a fireplace with an exterior projection

If you are installing a gas fireplace with an exterior projection that does not meet the addition rules of the Land Use Bylaw, a development permit is required. You must not project into a side setback area if there is an existing projection on the opposite side.

An example of this is if you are proposing a chimney on the left side of your residence that is into the 1.2 m side setback area when you have an existing projection, such as a window well on the right side of your residence that is projecting into the 1.2 m side setback area. The length of the projection must not exceed 3.1 m when in a setback area.

For inquiries about building, plumbing, gas, electrical or heating, ventilation and air conditioning code or construction methods, building safety and fire regulations, contact the​ Technical Assistance Centre​ or call 311. For all other inquiries (i.e. LandUse Bylaw), please contact the Planning Services Centre.

How to apply

Once you have determined which applications you will require, you can start to prepare the application requirements as outline below. For building, development and trade permits, homeowners can apply in person at the Planning Services Centre, located on the third floor of the Calgary Municipal Building at 800 Macleod Tr. S.E. Business customers have the option to apply online through our ePermit system. For drafted examples, see the sample drawings​ section.

The requirements lists below are a comprehensive overview of application requirements. Please print and have all applicable forms and drawings completed prior to applying.

Building per​mits

Fireplace: wood burning building permit requirement list

  • Application form: have this document completed when applying at the counter. List the address, applicant and contractor, if a contractor is being used.
  • Interactive fee calculator: input the total size of the garage to determine building permit fees.
  • Letter of authorization: if your building has a condo board, provide a letter from the board authorizing your work.

Trade pe​rmits

If you are applying for a homeowner's trade permits in addition to your building permit, these must be applied for in-person by the homeowner. There are no additional forms or drawings required to apply. See the When is a trade permit required? section for more information and to see if you qualify.

Homeowner trade permit fees

Development permits

Proposed structure relaxation development permit requirement list

Existing structure relaxation development permit requirment list

If you do not have a copy of your Certificate of Title or registrations on title, these can be obtained through an Alberta registry or at alta.registries.gov.ab.ca​.

Development permit fees

Sample drawings

Inspections

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

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 building permits

Rough-in inspections

  • Install and complete any structural changes.
  • Install and complete all the wall, ceiling, and build out framing.
  • Have requested documentation on site.

Final inspection (at the safety code officer’s discretion)

  • The building should be completed.

A development completion permit inspection may be required if a development permit is involved in your project. Contact our 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​