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Garage, shed, greenhouse, carport

 

Garages, sheds, pergolas, gazebos, greenhouses, arbours, workshops, playhouses and carports.

Need help? Chat with us. We can help guide you through your home improvement project and assist you with:

  • Determining what permits you might require.
  • Offering solutions or alternatives.
  • Transitioning you smoothly through the application process.

When do I need a permit?

Typically a garage or related structure does NOT need a permit when:

  • Is under 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.), and
  • It is not attached to a house (see additions), and
  • Is not in the front yard, and
  • It meets the height restrictions.

In most situations garages only require a building safety approval (building permit). If your design or location does not meet land use bylaw specifications you will also require planning approval (development permit).

How to start an application?

Step 1:

Use the garage permit 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

Once you have gathered the required documents, apply for your permit. Use our fee calculator to estimate how much your permit will cost.

Save time. Apply Online!

Create a myID account, apply and upload required documents in step 1.

Homeowners: apply.calgary.ca.

Contractors, and industry professionals: vista.calgary.ca.

In person

Complete the home improvement application and visit the Planning Services Centre with the required documents in step 1.

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 detached garages and sheds.

Note: if you are using engineered roof trusses, only a site plan is required.

Buildings under 10 m²

Accessory residential buildings under 10 m² in area typically do not require a building permit; however, the building must still follow the rules listed below to comply with the Land Use Bylaw.

Parcel coverage

Parcel coverage by all buildings cannot exceed a certain percentage of your total property size. This percentage is dictated by your specific land use district. To find out your land use district, please enter your address in the property information tool. See the graph below to determine your allowable lot coverage.

Land Use District Allowable Coverage (%) Parcel Area <= 300 m2
Parcel wdith < 10 m2
Parcel Area <= 300 m2
Parcel wdith < 8.7 m2
Parcel width > 11 m Semi-Detached / Duplex Row / Townhouse
R-C1L
R-C1Ls
40 x x x x x
R-C1
R-C1s
R-C2
R-1
R-1s
R-MH
R-CG*
45 x x x x x
R-C1N 45 50 x x x x
R-1N 50 x 60 45 x x
R-2 45 x x x 50 x
R-2M 45 x x x 50 60
*Parcel coverage rules for R-CG change as density increases.

Note: If the aggregate area of all accessory buildings is under 10 m2, those structures will not contribute to parcel coverage.

To calculate lot coverage, you will need to divide the footprint area of all applicable buildings by the property size.

(Total building area ÷ property area) × 100 = lot coverage per cent

Example:

Parcel coverage example
Parcel coverage example
  1. Use the property information tool and the graph above to figure out the allowable coverage for the property.
    R-C1 = 45%
  2. Calculate the property area.
    10.36 m × 32.0 m = 331.52 m2
  3. Add all applicable building areas:
    house: 77.2 m2
    covered deck*: 9.3 m2
    shed: 10.2 m2
    proposed garage: + 40.8 m2
    Total building area = 137.5 m2
  4. Divide the total building area by the property area and times that by 100 to get a percentage.
    total building area = 137.5 m2 × 100 = 41.47%
    property area = 331.52 m2

R-C1 allows for a maximum lot coverage of 45 per cent. Therefore, the proposal comes within the allowable lot coverage.

*Covered deck is only included in the calculation because it has a roof structure. Decks that are not covered should not be included.

Building setbacks

In most land use districts, the minimum building setback required is 0.6 m from a side or rear property line. When the side or rear property line is shared with a street, the garage must be 1.2 m from the property line. No accessory buildings may be located in the actual front setback on a low density residential property.

The building may go up to the side property line (as long as the property line is not shared with a street), as long as it meets all of the following requirements:

  • The exterior is maintenance-free (examples of maintenance-free materials include: vinyl and stucco) or the owner of the adjacent parcel grants a private maintenance easement.
  • All water drainage off of the building remains on the property.
  • The wall is fire rated with 5/8" type x drywall from floor slab to underside of roof sheathing to interior face of wall assemblies.
  • There is no eave overhang onto the adjacent lot.

The Alberta Building Code has specific distance requirements for eaves and soffits, as demonstrated in this diagram:

Eave distance from property line
Eave distance from property line

Height

All accessory residential buildings must not exceed height requirements outlined in the Land Use Bylaw. The structure must:

  • Not be higher than 4.6 m from the finished floor.
  • Not be higher than 3.0 m (9'10") from the finished floor to the underside of the eaveline: the intersection of the wall and the roof structure at the highest point.
  • Be one storey in height, but can have an attic without windows, accessed by a removable ladder, used by the occupants of the house for storage. The attic is allowed to have maximum height of 1.5 m measured from the attic floor to the underside of any rafter.
garage height example
Garage height example

Separation from the main residential building

All accessory residential buildings must have a 1.0 m separation from the main residential building or house. When measuring to determine the minimum separation distance between a proposed accessory residential building and the main residential building, measure from the closest wall of each building (include second floor cantilevers, bay windows, etc.).

minimum distance from main residential building
Minimum distance from main residential building

Rooftop decks and balconies

Rooftop decks and balconies on accessory residential buildings are not permitted under the current Land Use Bylaw on accessory residential buildings without an approved development permit.

Semi-detached garages

Semi-detached garages straddle a property line. You will usually only see these when the house is a semi-detached dwelling. However, sometimes the owners of two single detached dwellings will build a semi-detached garage that straddles their common property line.

Two building permits are always required, whether the property has been subdivided or not. If the total garage area is over 75 m², a development permit is required.

Building near utility lines

Contact Alberta One-Call at 1-800-242-3447, to find out where your utility lines are before you build.

For information about building near or over gas lines, contact ATCO Gas at 403-245-7888.

If you have any questions regarding clearance from utility lines and boxes, contact ENMAX at 403-514-6100.

No structures are permitted to be built in a utility right-of-way.

Zero lot lines & maintenance access right-of-ways

Zero lot lines allow you to build up to your side property line. Zero lot lines commonly exist in conjunction with maintenance access right-of-ways on the opposite side of the lot and on adjacent lots. If your proposed structure projects into a maintenance access right-of-way, the document showing allowance for this type of construction must be presented at the time of application.

Lane grades

If a detached garage is accessing an unpaved rear lane, a lane grade can be established through a Development Site Servicing site visit. This will ensure that the garage floor will be at the correct elevation in relation to the lane. The City of Calgary will assume no responsibility for water runoff into the garage, or access problems arising from construction of a garage, due to a grade that is inconsistent with the design grade approved by Development Site Servicing. There is a fee for this service.

Residential grades requirement list

Parking

Number of stalls required

Most properties require one parking space per dwelling unit, unless your property falls into one of the categories below. If you are unsure of your land use district, please enter your address into the property information bar. If your land use district is not noted below, then you require one stall per dwelling.

Two stalls per dwelling are required when located in:

  • R-C1N or R-1N and the parcel width is less than 9 m.
  • R-C2 or R-2 and the parcel width is less than 9 m or the parcel area is less than 270 m2.

Two stalls per parcel are required when located in:

  • R-2M and the parcel width is less than 9 m or the parcel area is less than 270 m2.

If your property is an irregular shape and you are unsure of your parcel width, please refer to the example below to see how to measure your parcel width and determine how many parking stalls are required.

Driveway

Parking requirements can be met with a parking pad, driveway or a garage. The required parking stalls must not be located one in front of the other.

Note: many properties in Calgary were developed prior to the current bylaw and its parking requirements. There is also the potential that relaxations for parking were granted on an individual property. In these cases, the current parking requirements may not have to be met.

For information on additional parking required for secondary suites, visit Calgary.ca/suites.

Stall size requirements

For the purpose of parking stall requirements, walls of a garage, fences and property lines are considered barriers.

Parking stall size requirements:

  • If the parking stall abuts two barriers the stall must be at least 5.9 m x 3 m.
  • If the parking stall abuts only one barrier the stall must be 5.9 m x 2.85 m.
  • If the parking stall abuts no barriers the stall must be 5.9 m x 2.5 m.

Parking pad

Although a building permit is not required for a parking pad, if you plan on pouring a parking pad for the purpose of building a garage in the future you should consider the location after reviewing the previously listed Land Use Bylaw rules.

If your garage slab will have an area bigger than 55 square metres, and does not have a concrete foundation that is 1.2m below grade, you will need a concrete slab designed by a professional engineer. Please refer to Building Regulations Bulletin 2014-011.

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 inspections for residential construction, electrical​, plumbing and gas fireplace installation permits can be booked online using our 311 app or calgary.ca/311online. When choosing the service type, scroll down to Inspection and choose your project. You will need to provide your permit number, address and contact information.

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

In most cases, and at the inspector’s discretion, only a rough-in inspection is required.

Rough-in inspection requirements

  • Complete concrete slab.
  • Install and complete all the wall and ceiling framing.
  • Install proposed windows and exterior doors.
  • Exterior finishes can be installed. Do not install interior finishes.
  • Rough-in, install and complete all plumbing and electrical components that are required under associated permits.
  • Have requested documentation on site.

Inspections for electrical permits

Please visit Inspections​ for the required tasks that must be completed prior to rough-in and final inspection of your project.

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.​​​​​​