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Homeowner electrical and plumbing permits

This page describes the requirements for homeowner’s electrical and plumbing permits, including electrical, plumbing and gas fireplace installation. If you are planning any building (framing, ​structural) with your project, a building permit will be required as well; visit home improvement for more information. If you are a licensed contractor looking for information on pulling electrical and plumbing permits, visit trade permit information​.

Overview

As the homeowner, you are able to obtain homeowner’s plumbing, electrical and gas fireplace installation permits for new work, if the following conditions are met:

  • You legally own the home*
  • You live in the home (i.e. the home cannot be a rental property)
  • You are doing the work yourself (you cannot pull a permit on behalf of the individual or company doing the work)

If you are not intending to do the work yourself, the permit must be pulled by a licensed contractor.

*If you have recently purchased the property, the title may have not yet transferred to you. If you are unsure, bring a copy of your purchase agreement to show proof of ownership.

Note: a homeowner’s permit can only be pulled in the following scenarios:

  • Semi-detached dwelling: one side of a semi-detached property is acceptable (the side the owner lives in). This includes any accessory buildings on the same property;
  • Duplex dwelling: one level of a duplex property is acceptable (the level the owner lives in);
  • Row-type, individually-owned townhouses or condos are acceptable, but an authorization letter from the condo board is required.

You cannot pull a homeowner's electrical and plumbing​ permit for apartment-style condos; a licensed contractor is required to install the wiring.

Electrical

An electrical permit is required for all electrical installations and renovations. As a homeowner, you can:

  • Alter or tie into the main panel, with the exception of the main breaker.
  • Add a sub-panel to an existing main service, provided there is an existing main breaker.

A homeowner is not permitted to install, alter or modify the main electrical service, including the main panel, main breaker and the meter base.

Visit the homeowner’s electrical guide​​ for inspection requirements and for an in-depth guide to installation.

For additional questions about electrical requirements, please contact our Technical ​A​ssistance Center​ or call 311.

Inspections

What you need to have completed before you call for each electrical inspection:

Rough-in in​spec​tion

  • 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. 
  • Ensure all wiring is 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 from the electrical inspector.
  • Never energize exposed wiring.

Final inspection

  • Do not have any exposed live wiring.
  • Have all outlets, light fixtures and cover plates in place.
  • Energize all branch circuits.
  • Complete the panelboard breaker directory.

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

Note: Although preferred, it is not necessary to have the wallboard installed for a final inspection.

Plumbing

A plumbing permit is required when:

  • A plumbing system is constructed, extended, altered or repaired.
  • Water and sewer lines in or around the home are replaced.

A plumbing permit is not required to:

  • Repair a leak in a water distribution or drainage system.
  • Replace existing faucets, fixtures or a hot water tank.
  • Remove blockage in the drainage.

Visit the homeowner’s plumbing guide​​ for inspection requirements and for an in-depth guide to installation.

For additional questions about plumbing requirements, please contact our Technical Assistance Center.

Inspections

What you need to have completed before you call for each plumbing inspection:

Rough-in i​nspection

  • Install and complete all plumbing drainage and venting.
  • Install and connect waterlines to the rest of the water distribution system.
  • Properly support all drains, vents, and waterlines.
  • Install the bathtub/shower valve.

Final insp​ection

  • Install and ensure all fixtures and equipment are ready for use.
  • Ensure the bathtub and shower water temperature does not exceed 49 degrees Celsius.
  • Seal all piping designed for future fixtures with an approved plug or cap.
  • Provided a shut off valve for all toilets.

Gas fireplace

A gas fireplace installation permit is required to install a fireplace insert, to ensure the proper vent and mantel clearances are met; however, it does not include the gas connection. The gas connection must be done by a qualified, licensed gas fitter who will require a separate gas permit to do so. If the gas fitter is doing the entire installation, including the fireplace insert, only a gas permit is required.

For additional questions about gas fireplace requirements, please contact our Technical Assistance Center.

Gas

A homeowner is not permitted to take out a gas permit on his or her house. However, if the homeowner is a first-class or second-class gasfitter (i.e. journeyman), a homeowner’s permit can be issued. In all other cases, this permit must be pulled by a qualified, licensed contractor. 

Mechanical

A homeowner is not permitted to take out a mechanical (HVAC) permit on his or her house. This type of permit and work can only be done by a qualified, licensed contractor.

Obtaining permits after the work is complete

If your renovation has previously been finished without proper permits, you can still apply for the permits after the work have been completed.

Concealed wiring procedure

For an electrical permit, when the work has been concealed by drywall, you are required to follow the concealed wiring procedure. A homeowner’s permit cannot be issued for concealed wiring completed without proper permits. To have the inspection done, the owner must hire a licensed electrical contractor. The contractor will have to obtain an electrical permit and check that the wiring complies with electrical codes. However, the homeowner is still ultimately responsible for any previously concealed electrical wiring.

Concealed plumbing procedure

For a plumbing permit, when the work has been concealed by drywall, you are required to follow the concealed plumbing procedure. A homeowner’s permit cannot be issued for concealed plumbing completed without proper permits. To have the inspection done, the owner must hire a licensed plumbing contractor. The contractor will have to obtain a plumbing permit and check that the plumbing complies with plumbing codes. However, the homeowner is still responsible for any previously concealed plumbing.

Note: There is a possibility the inspector may ask for drywall to be removed to complete their inspection.

For further inquiries, please contact our Technical Assistance Centre.

How to apply

Apply on​line for electrical and plumbing permits

Homeowners can now apply online for electrical and plumbing permits. Once your application is verified, the permits will be issued by the next business day.

If you have recently purchased the property, the title may have not yet transferred to you. We may contact you for verification before we issue your permits.

Apply in person

Permit applications can be made in person at the Planning Services Centre. There are no required application forms, but you may be asked to show identification to verify you are listed on title.​

If you have recently purchased the property, the title may have not yet transferred to you. If you are unsure, bring a copy of your purchase agreement to show proof of ownership.

Homeowner’s electrical and plumbing​ permits are issued the same day.

Fees

Please see the fee schedule to determine permit fee. Plumbing permits are based on the overall cost of the plumbing fixtures to be installed (including toilet, shower, sink, etc.).

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:

  • A stop work order 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’re 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 licence at calgary.ca/contractors.

Note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the work being carried out does not break the requirements of restrictive covenants, caveats or any other restrictions that are registered against the property.

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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​