Construction drawings - development
The design and approval of public infrastructure, such as utilities, roads, and other surface improvements, is managed through the construction drawing design review process. The construction drawing approval process is a major step towards achieving permission for the construction of both underground utilities (water, sanitary, and storm mains) and surface improvements (roadways, sidewalks, pathways, and surface drainage).
Types of construction drawing submissions
- Onsite – Required for the development of a Subdivision Phase in a community; shows the infrastructure designed to make each parcel serviceable and the subdivision functional.
- Offsite – Infrastructure that connects the subdivision services to utilities and may be required to make Onsite operational.
- Ponds – Required for storm water management within a community. Alberta Environment approval required.
- Main Extension – Required to extend infrastructure a short distance, commonly associated with a Development Site Servicing Plan (DSSP).
- Landscape Construction Drawings – Required when the development includes or affects adjacent Reserve land (MR, MSR, ER) and Public Utility Lots (PUL, Storm Pond), or includes Road cross sections that include street trees. Please refer to Park development guidelines for landscape construction specifications.
To submit construction drawings and permission to construct requests, applicants must become a registered user to log onto VISTA and have a valid Business ID number. To request an account and Business ID, visit calgary.ca/vista.
Complete application requirements list (CARL)
The complete application requirements list (CARL) contains all the information required for an application.
Viewing authorization form
Fill out this form to view the proprietary engineering drawings protected by the Canadian Copywright Act.
Note: Only applications prepared to professional drafting standards will be accepted. All materials submitted must be of high quality and include all applicable plans and documents. This allows us to meet our review timelines and provide thorough and accurate reviews. See CAD standard for help.
Top reasons for circulation delays
- Not adhering to the current CAD standard.
- Incomplete application submission including the omission of updated adjacent/adjoining block profiles.
- The detailed cover letter is not explicit enough to clarify complexities.
What makes a smooth circulation
- A comprehensive detailed cover letter. At the preliminary submission, outline the project scope and justifications and explanations of any unusual conditions. All subsequent submissions should clearly and thoroughly address the comments from the review.
- Providing a CPC approved and stamped Outline Plan within the drawing set.
Construction drawings can be in circulation for approximately 6 weeks to complete a thorough design review, depending on the complexity of the project. Reviews by specialists occur simultaneously and by Generalists, successively.
|Group||Typical review time|
|Canada Post||10 business days|
|Utility Line Assignments (ULA)||10 business days|
|Parks||10 business days|
|Roads Design/Grades||15 business days|
|Structures||10 business days|
|Livable Streets||10 business days|
|Network Planning||10 business days|
|Roads Traffic||10 business days|
|Transit Planning||10 business days|
|Water Resources - Development Approvals||15 business days|
|Public Infrastructure||5 business days|
|Transportation Planning Generalist||5 business days|
|Development Engineering Generalist||5 business days|
Permission to construct
The objective of the review and approval of the infrastructure design, such as utilities, roads and other surface improvements, is the issuance of the permission to construct. A request to construct may be submitted at any time during the construction drawing review process.
Types of Construction Requests
- Underground Infrastructure – full or partial, or remainder
- Surface Infrastructure – full or partial, or remainder
Permission to construct is granted when the following requirements have been met
- Design approval has been achieved.
- A financial agreement is in place.
- For underground permission, an approved Erosion & Sediment Control Report and, for Storm Ponds, authorization from Alberta Environment.
- For surface permission, an approved Pavement Design from Roads, Construction, Material and Research and an approved Storm Water Management Report.
*Each request must be submitted in one multi-page PDF document.
Top reasons for circulation delays
- An incomplete request.
- The Development Agreement or Indemnificatin Agreement number is unavailable due to outstanding requirements.
What makes a smooth circulation
- Clear site map(s) displaying the exact infrastructure requesting to be built. This may mean including multiple site maps depending on the extent of the proposed infrastructure to be constructed.
- Clear site map titles (ie. Underground Construction Permission Request or Partial Surface Construction Request).
- Requests for partial permisson to construct - indicate which area is being constructed with a red boundary, and hatch and label the area which is not included in the request.
Typically, the timeline to review each request to construct is 5 business days. It can take up to 3 business days to release the permission letter once the review is complete.
The following process is standard for construction requests:
- Public Infrastructure: Reviewed for completeness of request (CARL). The Infrastructure Strategist ensures the subdivision construction area is accurate.
- Development Engineering: Reviewed for compliance with and adherence to all prior to approval requirements and comments.
- Once both Public Infrastructure and Development Engineering are satisfied all requirements have been met, the permission letter is prepared and delivered.
Financial obligations for public infrastructure construction
A Development Agreement will be entered into between The City and a Land Developer. This legal contract is used for all residential, industrial and commercial developments. It sets out the terms and conditions under which development of the lands are to take place within The City including the responsibility to construct public infrastructure and associated financial obligations.
Tiering and Securities Framework
The City uses a ranking system that determines the securities amount required before construction begins. This framework provides a risk-managed approach to supporting new investment opportunities through easing securities requirements for developers who meet their performance requirements.
An Indemnification Agreement may be entered into between The City and a property owner and authorizes a certified contractor working on behalf of the property owner/ developer to excavate, break or reconstruct all or any portion of infrastructure for a project.
If unknown to you, The City will identify which agreement is applicable as part of your construction drawing submission.
Construction drawings supporting documents and reports
On an annual basis, The City of Calgary requires the Development Industry to provide information regarding proposed developments involving the extension or replacement of watermains, sanitary sewers and/or storm sewers.
The information collected will facilitate Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) applications and authorizations as well as assist various divisions within The City with forecasting capital projects and scheduling for the year.
Every proposed development must be reported to Calgary Approvals Coordination-Public Infrastructure who then applies to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for authorization to proceed with construction of said developments.
Under AEP’s EPEA, The City of Calgary is the approving authority for these activities within its jurisdiction and is responsible for coordinating and integrating the review of potential impacts of proposed projects on the environment in The City of Calgary’s administrative region. See, Letter of Authorization (LOA) and project data sheet.
If a storm drainage system for a subdivision drains to a stormwater pond, a Pond Report must be submitted and approved by Water Resources-Development Approvals prior to submitting the infrastructure construction drawings to Calgary Approvals Coordination-Public Infrastructure. Stormwater management facilities must be constructed prior to, or in conjunction with, the first phase of development in the Outline Plan area.
The City of Calgary will coordinate the registration of public ponds under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP). The purpose of EPEA is to support and promote the protection, enhancement, and wise use of the environment, and is administered by AEP. A written authorization from AEP is required for the construction or modification of storm drainage treatment facilities, including stormwater ponds. Pond Submission and Approval Process (calgary.ca)
A Pond Report, approved The City (Water Resources), is required prior to Water Resources submitting the application for registration to AEP. The owner, developer, or designated consultant is responsible for preparing and submitting the required information to Water Resources including a completed EPEA application form. Stormwater Managment and Design - 2011.pdf
Erosion and Sediment Control plan reviews are a parallel process to Construction Drawing reviews. Approval is required prior to approval of underground or surface construction.
Find guidelines, standards & specifications and the ESC Field Manual, refer to Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Reviews.
The City of Calgary requires that Geotechnical Reports be submitted as part of Land Development Applications to provide confirmation that the lands in question can physically accommodate the proposed development while minimizing Risks to Public Safety.
There are three main types of Geotechnical Reports that may be required as part of a Land Development Application.
They are defined as follows:
- Geotechnical Evaluation Report – An interpretative report that is completed by a qualified Geotechnical Engineering Consultant and is intended to evaluate the geotechnical conditions of the site and confirm that the land may be used safely for the intended use without undue risk of hazards.
- Slope Stability Report – A detailed report intended to assess Stable Land within the area set out in the report. This report is used to determine the boundaries of Development.
- Deep Fills Report – A geotechnical analysis of the soils within areas of the Development being filled more than two metres deep. The report contains recommendations on any Development restrictions, including bearing certificates and special foundation designs that may be necessary to provide integrity of any structure, including buildings, roads and utilities constructed on those fill areas. A Deep Fills Report will also typically contain a plan showing all areas of cuts and fills known as a Cut-Fill Plan.
Depending on the characteristics of the parcel, more than one type of Geotechnical Report may be required in connection with a given Land Development Application.
For more details, see Geotechnical Reports.
Plans must be created by the applicant or an Alberta Land Surveyor to show the boundaries of each new lot. Upon approval of a subdivision by plan, an Alberta Land Surveyor prepares a plan of survey, based on monuments placed in the ground. The plan gets registered at the Land Titles office.
Plans for corner cuts, road widening, access easements, utility rights-of-way, that have no concurrent subdivision applications.
A conceptual stormwater drainage plan in support of the Area Structure Plan and prepared for large drainage areas serviced by a single outfall to a receiving water body such as the Bow River.
For more information see Staged Master and Master Drainage Plans.
Purchase Master Drainage Plans from CityOnline.
Required from the Province of Alberta prior to approval of Outline plans.
As part of the planning process in Calgary, residential areas are examined to determine whether there is an existing or potential problem in outdoor rear leisure areas around the home. The City is committed to reducing the impact of noise generated by vehicles in existing and future residential areas.
Related info: Network Planning.
An approved Pavement Design is required to obtain surface construction permission. The pavement design must be submitted, under cover letter by the developer or their consulting engineer, to The City of Calgary, Transportation, Roads, Materials & Research for approval. See Road specifications & guidelines for more information at Roads.
The objective of a Sanitary Servicing Study (SSS) is to demonstrate the adequacy of the existing and proposed sanitary sewer systems to satisfy the demands of a proposed development or redevelopment.
For more details, see refer to the Sanitary Servicing Study Guidelines
For more information on what to submit and to get additional support or to inquire about report availability, see Sanitary Servicing Studies.
During and post construction
Requirements and processes related to the Construction Completion Certificate (CCC) and Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC) are outlined in detail here. The guidelines ensure that infrastructure such as utilities, improvements, streetlights, and boulevards comply with City of Calgary standards.
As-builts are required post construction to ensure that The City can maintain accurate records of the installed infrastructure. Drawings are submitted to CAIUtilityRecords@Calgary.ca.
Once drawings are approved, security reductions may be authorized.
- Stormwater retention pond.
- Any developments flagged by Water Resources to require a Stormwater Management Report in the Development Permit.
The first submission of a construction drawing project.
The second submission of a construction project.
Any subsequent submissions of a consturction drawing project.
The name presented to the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC) for a recommendation and approved by Council through a bylaw.
A developer divides their developments into progressive phases. The phase number identifies a stage of their development project.
Stamped and signed by a professional engineer or equivalent.
A committee appointed by City Council that acts as Approving Authority on all subdivision matters and as Development Authority on some development matters.
A legal contract used for all residential, industrial and commercial developments outlining the terms and conditions under which development of the lands are to take place within The City.
A contract between The City and a property owner authorizing a certified contractor to work on behalf of the property owner/developer.
- Technical and design specifications
- City Online - Purchase BP’s, reports, ortho, and more
- Open Calgary - Calgary's open data
- Planning & Development Services Resource Library
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- Council and Committee Agendas, Minutes and Video
- Stormwater Management
- Water Development Resources
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Standards and specifications
- BILD bulletins
- Calgary Approvals bulletins
- Building regulation bulletins
- Fire code bulletins
- Water bulletins
Legal Agreement Templates
- Legal agreement precidents
- Utility rights-of-way (UR/W) and easements,
- mutual access easement agreements,
- overland drainage agreements (ODRs)
- Roads License of Occupation
- Parks License of Occupation