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Heating and cooling

Outdoor fireplaces, masonry or factory built wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, air conditioning equipment, solar panels, and thermal collectors.

Do I need a permit?​

All fireplaces, air conditioning equipment and solar collectors will require one or more permit types.

A hom​eowner may apply for a homeowner’s fireplace installation permit, if they live in the home. A gas fireplace installation permit is only for the installation of a fireplace insert. It does not include the gas connection, which can only be applied for by a qualified, licensed contractor. 

A homeowner can apply for permits regarding the design and construction of the structure containing solar collectors but all technical permits must be applied for by a qualified trade contactor.

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 fireplaces, air conditioning equipment and solar collectors sections.

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.

Fireplaces

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.

Illustrations of codes and bylaw​s

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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.

Air conditioning equipment​

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.

Where to install air conditioning units

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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.

Solar collectors

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.

The City is working to make installing solar collection equipment easier, while respecting the interests of the community. The City has designed rules to allow citizens to use solar equipment, while ensuring the impact on adjacent neighbours is limited.

The province of Alberta (Energy Efficiency Alberta) is rolling out a new Residential and Commercial Solar Program in 2017. This program subsidizes the residential and commercial solar installation costs up to 30 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. For more information, visit Energy Efficiency Alberta.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to calculate the system’s access to sunlight. This includes taking into account the surrounding plant life, your current neighbours and the eventual development of nearby areas.

Illustrations of Codes and Bylaws

Photovoltaic solar collectors, commonly known as solar panels, convert sunlight directly into electricity. The excess electricity may be stored in batteries or is exported into the main electrical utility system.

These solar collectors can only be wall- or roof-mounted.

Solar thermal collectors convert radiant energy from the sun into thermal (hot water) energy, which is then transferred into your home heating system in the form of hot water and space heating. The heat from the exchanger will then heat the water inside the tank. Two common types of exchangers are single wall heat exchangers and double wall heat exchangers

Land Use Bylaw rules

A development permit is required to install a solar collector if it does not follow the rules of the Land Use Bylaw and it is not on The City’s inventory of potential heritage sites (refer to Section 25(1) (n) in the Land Use Bylaw). To determine your specific land use district, search your home address in the property information tool.

Low density residential districts

A solar collector mounted on a wall:

  • Must be located a minimum of 2.4 m above grade; and
  • May project a maximum of
    • 5 m from the surface of that wall, when the wall is facing a rear property line; and
    • 6 m from the surface of that wall, in all other cases.

A solar collector mounted on a roof:

  • Must not extend beyond the outermost edge of the roof.
  • With a pitch of less than 4:12, may project:
    • A maximum of 0.5 m from the surface of a roof, when the solar collector is located 5.0 m or less from a side property line, measured directly south from any point along the side property line.
    • All other cases may project a maximum of 1.3 m from the surface of a roof.
  • With a pitch of 4:12 or greater may project a maximum of 1.3 m from the surface of a roof.

Please refer to Section 343.1 in the Land Use Bylaw.

Multi-residential districts

A solar collector mounted on a wall:

  • Must be located a minimum of 2.4 m above grade; and
  • May project a maximum of 0.6 m from the surface of that wall.

A solar collector mounted on a roof with a pitch of less than 4:12 may project from the surface of the roof:

  • A maximum of 2.0 m.
  • A minimum of 1.0 m from the edge of the roof.

A solar collector mounted on a roof with a pitch of 4:12 or greater may project a maximum of 1.3 m from the surface of the roof and must not extend beyond the outermost edge of the roof.

Please refer to Section 571.1 of the Land Use Bylaw.

Commercial, industrial and special purpose districts

A solar collector mounted on a wall:

  • Must be located a minimum of 2.4 m above grade; and
  • May project a maximum of 0.6 m from the surface of that wall.

A solar collector mounted on a roof with a pitch of less than 4:12 may project from the surface of the roof a maximum of 2.0 m.

A solar collector mounted on a roof with a pitch of 4:12 or greater may project a maximum of 1.3 m from the surface of the roof and must not extend beyond the outermost edge of the roof.

Please refer to Sections 699.1; 904.1; 1019.1 of the Land Use Bylaw.

Solar Collector Placement
Solar Collector Placement

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Please note: If a development permit is required, it must be approved before you can apply for a building permit.

Electrical rules

  1. Photovoltaic collectors require an electrical permit and must be installed by a licensed and registered electrical contractor in Calgary. Solar installers are licensed electricians that have taken additional training to understand, design and install solar PV systems. In Alberta, installers must be certified electricians or registered apprentices working under the supervision of a certified electrician that comply with the Electrician Trade Regulation 274/2000 and Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act., and any applicable trade regulations.
  2. Some electricians have an additional solar-specific certification via CSA, CSI, the North American Practitioners, and NAIT Renewable Energy Program etc. This is not required of your installer, but electricians with such certification are available in Alberta, should you wish to hire one. Visit cansia.ca and solaralberta.ca/company-directory to find solar providers and learn more about solar installation.

Plumbing and gas rules

Single wall heat exchangers can be used where there are no chemicals or non-toxic chemicals added. Refer to CSA-B214 regarding installation codes for hydronic heating systems.

Double wall heat exchangers are required when toxic chemicals have been added and allows a visible means of leak detection. The chemicals must be compatible with the heat transfer fluid. Heat transfer liquid and heat exchangers must comply with code CSA-F379.1 (Alberta Government requirements for Solar Domestic Hot Water Systems).

Since there is wide selection of solar thermal systems, all installations must be must be a packaged system, designed by an accredited engineer and have stamped drawings and heat loss calculations included with the application. They will require a plumbing permit and follow the applicable codes stated in the National Plumbing Code of Canada, CAN/CSA codes F379.1-09 (Packaged solar domestic hot water systems) and CAN/CSA-F383 (Installation of packaged solar domestic hot water systems).

Simple packaged system
Simple packaged system

When is a development permit required?

If a development permit is required, this must be applied for and approved prior to building permit and solar permit applications. Solar photovoltaic systems (commonly known as a power generation facility) will require a development permit, if they do not follow the Land Use Bylaw rules. Solar thermal collectors do not generate electricity, so they are not considered a power generation facility and usually do not require a development permit.

Development permits

When is a building permit required?

A building permit may be required to install solar collectors if the solar collector is large (approximately 10 kg/m2), since the existing structure may not have been designed to hold the additional weight.

Please refer to the Sustainable Technologies Permitting Matrix for further information.

When is a solar trade permit required?

Solar permits are required for electrical, plumbing, gas or mechanical work and can only be submitted by specific qualified contractors. This work will be inspected by safety code officers to ensure code compliance.

Solar trade permits

Below are the specific contractor application requirements for solar collectors and fee schedules:

An electrical permit will also be required for thermal collectors, if pumps are required.

For inquiries regarding specific codes mentioned, please contact the Technical Assistance 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.

Fireplaces

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.

Air conditioning equipment

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.

Solar collectors

Electrical inspections

  • Submit the solar PV installation plans. Plans must be submitted before the onsite installation begins.
  • Install all solar collectors, mounting equipment, inverters and wiring.
  • Install all warning placards, wiring diagrams and system marking.
  • Access to the electrical panel that the solar PV system is connected to will be required for the inspection.
  • At least one inspection will be required to approve a residential solar PV system.
  • For more information on solar PV electrical inspections and permits, please contact the Technical Assistance Centre at 403-808-7066 or TAC@calgary.ca

Plumbing and gas insp​ections

  • Submit the solar thermal (hot water) plumbing plans.
  • A rough and final inspection will be required based on the installation manual of your specific system.

Mecha​nical inspections

  • Submit solar air installation plans. Plans must be submitted before the onsite installation begins.
  • At least one inspection will be required to approve a residential solar PV system.

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.

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