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Homeowner electrical and plumbing permits

Overview

As the homeowner, you can obtain homeowner’s plumbing, electrical and gas fireplace installation permits for new work, including renovations, 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 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.

Please note that a homeowner’s gas fireplace installation permit is for installing the fireplace and venting only. This permit does not include the gas line connection that serves the appliance.

Homeowners with a basic knowledge of electrical wiring can review our homeowner electrical wiring guide for installation information and homeowners with a basic knowledge of plumbing can review our homeowner plumbing guide for installation information.

A homeowner’s permit can be pulled in the following scenarios:

  • If you own and reside in a single-family home
  • 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;
  • Row-type, individually-owned condominium townhouses are acceptable with an authorization letter from the condo board.

Homeowners cannot pull a homeowner's electrical permit and plumbing permit for apartment-style condos. A licensed contractor must install the wiring in these types of residences.

A licensed contractor must also pull the permit if the homeowner will not be doing the work.

Electrical wiring

Our homeowner electrical wiring guide provides basic information to help guide you through a new installation or renovation.

As a homeowner, you can:

  • tie into the main panel without physically changing it
  • add a sub-panel to an existing main service, provided there is an existing main breaker

Homeowners are not permitted:

  • to install, alter or modify the main electrical service, including the main panel, main breaker or the meter base.
  • to install electrical wiring in permanent, in-ground swimming pools and hot tubs
  • to install or alter solar photovoltaic systems

Speak to one of our safety codes officers if you have questions about electrical requirements. To connect with us, contact our Technical Assistance Centre by emailing us, calling us at 311 or visiting 311 online services.

Inspections

There are several options available for booking an electrical inspection. Download the 311 mobile app, visit 311 online services or phone 311. Your permit number, address and contact information will be required. Requests for next day inspection service must be made before 2 p.m.

Know the tasks to complete before booking an inspection.

Secondary suites

Homeowners who reside in their home, can apply for electrical and plumbing permits for approved Secondary suites and backyard suites. Use the secondary suite electrical load calculation sheet to make sure your current electrical service is adequate.

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.

Installing or replacing a hot water tank requires a permit in some situations. A permit is required if there are changes to:

  • the gas lines located upstream from the water heater shut off valve
  • the venting system (e.g. size and design)
  • the type of water heater (e.g. changing from a natural draft water heater to a direct vent water heater)

A plumbing permit is not required to:

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

Our homeowner plumbing guide provides important information to help homeowners who are interested in doing their own work. Other methods of installation not identified in this guide may be acceptable; however, all installations must meet the most current requirements of the National Plumbing Code of Canada.

For additional questions about plumbing requirements, please contact our Technical Assistance Center, or email plumbing&gas.tac@calgary.ca.

Inspections

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

Rough-in inspection

  • 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 inspection

  • 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 online 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.