Step 1: Review
Do I need a permit?
A permit is required when:
- You are building a new driveway (not replacing an existing driveway).
- You are extending or widening an existing driveway.
In most situations a driveway does NOT need a building safety approval (building permit). Depending on site conditions, the location of the driveway, and the address of the site, you may require planning approval (development permit).
Hiring a contractor
|Planning Approval - Development Permit (prior to construction)||Permit fee||Advertising fee||Development Completion Inspection||Total|
|Proposed land use bylaw relaxation for a home renovation||$384||$32||$163||$579|
How long will it take to get a permit?
*To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information listed on the Driveway permit checklist .
Planning approval (Development permit)
|10 - 12 weeks|
Building safety approval (Building permit)
|Approx. 7 days|
When does my permit expire?
You will receive a permit expiry reminder in the mail. If you need more time, you can extend your permit. Review the extend or reinstate your permit section.
|Permit type||Expiry (from date of issuance)|
|Building permit||180 days|
|Contractor trade permit||330 days|
|Homeowner permit||330 days|
New driveways or widening
A development permit may be required for new driveways and driveway widening, depending on your driveway width, adjacent roadways and rules within your land use district. If required, a development permit must be submitted and approved prior to the start of any construction.
Note: Each development permit for a driveway relaxation is reviewed on its own merits by The City.
If you are notified that a development permit for a driveway relaxation is needed, complete the Driveway Accessing a Street in the Developed Area application and submit it to the Planning Services Centre.
Before you apply for a permit or hire a contractor, please consider the following:
- Paved front yards can negatively impact your neighbourhood’s appearance, safety, street parking, stormwater drainage and more.
- See the Land Use Bylaw section for general information about rules associated with new driveways in developed areas and driveway width restrictions.
- Homeowners parking their vehicles on their front yard can be subject to enforcement, if their parcel does not meet the rules of their district or when a development permit is required but not obtained.
- The City responds to all 311 driveway complaints.
Risks when a development permit is not obtained
If you do not have permits for work that has been started or completed, you maybe required to take correct action. The City always seeks compliance as a first measure, but further enforcement, such as charges or court orders, can occur.
Some of the risks include:
- Having to do more work than was originally planned or budgeted.
- Legal and financial issues when selling your parcel or making an insurance claim.
- Modifying completed work to prevent parking.
- A ticket issued for parking on the front lawn.
- A stop-work order issued under the Municipal Government Act.
Note: Homeowners are responsible for paying any penalties, even if a contractor assured you permits were not needed. Contact the Planning Services Centre if you have any building or permit questions. Find out if your contractor has a City of Calgary business license at calgary.ca/homerenos.
Hiring The City to construct your driveway crossing
Owners of single-family or duplex residences can request a free estimate for the construction of a new driveway crossing by completing an online service request. An estimate will be provided to the property owner. If the property owner wants The City to proceed with construction, a cheque must be submitted, or the owner can have the work done as a local improvement. Under a local improvement, the property owner can pay for the work over 15 years in conjunction with their parcel taxes.
Hiring a contractor to construct your driveway crossing
Another option available to the property owner is to construct the driveway crossing under an indemnification agreement. This allows the owner to hire a contractor directly to carry out the work.
Land Use Bylaw
See Developed Area Map on page 16 of the Land Use Bylaw.
A driveway accessing a street must not be constructed, altered or replaced, unless:
- It is located on a parcel that does not have lane access.
- It is located on a parcel that has lane access and 50 per cent of the same block face also have existing driveways accessing a street.
- The driveway is legal and not being relocated or widened.
- A development permit for a driveway relaxation has been approved by The City to relocate or widen a driveway.
A driveway connecting a private garage to a street must be a minimum of 6.0 m in length along the intended direction of travel and at least 3.0 m wide.
A driveway connecting a private garage to a lane must be a minimum of 0.60 m in length along the intended direction of travel, measured from the inset of the garage door.
Driveway length is measured from the back of walk to the door of the garage, or from a curb where no public sidewalk is constructed.
See Land Use Byalw 1P2007 for complete rules.
Parcel widths and maximum driveway widths
|Parcel width||Driveway width||Diagram|
|9.0 m or less||6.0 m||
|Greater than 9.0 m but equal to or less than 15.0 m||7.0 m||
|Greater than 15.0 m||Unrestricted||
As shown in the example above, property width dictates the allowable driveway width on a residential property. Your parcel frontage is not always your actual parcel. To determine lot width on an irregular parcel, see the example below.
This irregular shaped parcel width is 13.5 meters. In this example, the maximum driveway width for this parcel is seven meters as per the bylaw.
Driveways commonly pass through utility right-of-ways, resulting in an encroachment. If there is already an existing concrete driveway passing through a utility right-of-way, a second concrete driveway (sidewalk, patio or walkway) would not be permitted. This is a common problem with corner lots, when there are multiple concrete driveways passing through a right-of-way. Landscaping, such as gravel or asphalt, is viewed differently than concrete in terms of encroachments. For more information, contact Corporate Properties through 311.
Owners of encroachments are required to enter into an agreement with The City or remove the offending structure. The City does not approve all applications for encroachment agreements.
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that work being carried out conforms to any restrictive covenants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title.
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.
Step 2: Prepare
Use the information below to prepare your application. Follow the rules in the location, design and construction sections to help make sure your application meets the City's requirements.
In most land use districts, accessory residential buildings, such as a garage or shed will have a minimum building setback of 0.6 m (1.9 ft.) required 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 (3.9 ft.) 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 siding and stucco) or the owner of the adjacent parcel grants a private maintenance easement. (This requirement does not apply to buildings under 10 m2).
- All water drainage off of the building remains on the property.
- There is no eave overhang onto the adjacent lot.
All accessory residential buildings 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) or larger must have at least a 1.0 m (3.2 ft.) 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.
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.
Contact Click before you dig 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 403-292-7500.
If you have any questions regarding clearance from utility lines and boxes, contact ENMAX at 403-514-3716.
No structures are permitted to be built in a utility right-of-way.
The zoning of your property will dictate specific rules for the design of your garage, for example, the allowable parcel coverage or how many parking stalls are required on your property.
Please visit our Land use districts / zones page in order to determine your properties zoning.
The sum of accessory residential buildings on a property must not exceed whichever is less:
- the building coverage of the main residential building (house), or
- 75 m2 (807 sq. ft.) per dwelling unit
In addition, combined parcel coverage of all buildings cannot exceed a certain percentage of your total property size. This percentage is dictated by your specific land use district. See the graph below to determine your allowable lot coverage.
|Land Use District||Allowable Coverage (%)||Parcel Area <= 300 m2Parcel width < 10 m||Parcel Area <= 300 m2Parcel width < 8.7 m||Parcel width > 11 m||Semi-Detached / Duplex||Row / Townhouse|
*Parcel coverage rules for R-CG change as density increases.
Note: If the aggregate area of all accessory buildings is under 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) 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
Tip: You can use a Real Property Report (RPR) as your site plan. The lot dimensions will be located on the document.
- Find the allowable coverage for the property based on your land use district.
R-C1 = 45%
- Calculate the property area.
10.36 m × 32.0 m = 331.52 m2
- 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
- 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.
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 (29.5 ft.).
- R-C2 or R-2 and the parcel width is less than 9 m (29.5 ft.) or the parcel area is less than 270 m2 (2,906 sq. ft.).
Two stalls per parcel are required when located in:
- R-2M and the parcel width is less than 9 m (29.5 ft.) or the parcel area is less than 270 m2 (2,906 sq. ft.).
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.
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.
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.
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 (15 ft.) from the finished floor.
- Not be higher than 3.0 m (9.8 ft.) 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 (4.9 ft.) measured from the attic floor to the underside of any rafter.
- Not have a finished floor higher than 0.6m (1.9 ft.) above grade, unless it is a private garage. For example, a pergola on a deck that is higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.), would not meet bylaw.
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.
Rooftop decks and balconies on accessory residential buildings would always require a development permit (planning approval) because it does not meet the Land Use Bylaw specifications.
Please review our Development Permits process page for more information on the processes for these applications.
Similarly, accessory residential buildings, other than a private garage, must not have a finished floor higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.) above grade. For example, a pergola on a deck that is higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.), would not meet bylaw.
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 (807 sq. ft.), a development permit is required.
Construction (Building Code information)
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 rules of the Land Use Bylaw listed under location and design.
If your garage slab will have an area bigger than 55 m2 (592 sq. ft.), 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.
When building within 0.6m (1.9 ft.) of the side property line, accessory residential buildings which are 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) or larger have the following requirements for fire-ratings and permitted locations of eave projections:
5/8" Type X drywall is required to be installed from floor slab to underside of roof sheathing on the interior face of wall assemblies located within 0.6m (1.9 ft) of the side property line.
Eave projections are not permitted within 0.45 m (1.5 ft.) of a side property line shared with an adjacent property (excluding rain trough). All water drainage off the building must remain on the property. A non-vented soffit (underside of eave projection) is required for eaves within 1.2 m (3.9 ft.) of a property line shared with an adjacent property.
If the eaves will project towards the lane instead, the roof trusses will likely be resting on the beam over the overhead garage door. If this is the case, you will need to provide a copy of the beam calculations or manufacturer’s truss layouts when you apply for a building permit.
The Alberta Building Code has specific distance requirements for eaves and soffits, as demonstrated in this diagram:
Step 3: Apply
To apply online, you need a myID account. Create a myID account.
We’re currently experiencing higher than seasonal application volumes, we apologize for delays. To check the status of your permit, go to vista.calgary.ca and enter in your Job Access Code (JAC) number
Apply in person
Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre.
Complete application requirement
An application for a permit may be refused if, within ninety (90) days from the date of receipt, adequate information and documentation is not supplied as requested by the Safety Codes Officer. Should a permit be considered for refusal the applicant will be given notification in writing and 30 days to resubmit the missing information. For more information, please review Building Advisory A19-002 Building Permit Complete Application
Step 6: Inspect
Visit building inspections for information on how to book an inspection, cancel or reschedule, permit expiry and the applicable requirements for each inspection type.
Building permit inspections you will need
These inspections take place to ensure the building is being built according to the approved development permit. The house is checked twice during construction, once at the pre-board phase and once at the pre-possession phase, which is when the development completion permit is finalized.
Surveys confirming the geodetics must be submitted twice during construction:
- Pre-board phase
Building location and elevations match the approved development permit. Main floor geodetic elevation survey must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Roof peak geodetic survey must be submitted to email@example.com
See inspection documents for more information.