Home renovations & basements

Step 1: Review


Do I need a permit?

Typically interior renovations and changes to existing basements do NOT need a permit when the work consists of minor cosmetic upgrades.

In most situations your interior renovation or basement development will only require a building safety approval (building permit). If your design or location does not meet land use bylaw specifications you will also require planning approval (Development Permit).​

Do I need an Electrical Permit?

You need a separate electrical permit for all electrical installations and renovations.

Fees

​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

See the planning applications fee schedule​ for a complete list of planning application fees.

​Building Safety Approval - Building Permit ​Permit fee ​Safety Codes Council Fee (4%) ​Total
New Basement ​$332 ​$13.25 ​​$345.28
​Renovation to an existing house or basement ​$202 ​$8.08 ​$210.08​

See the building permit fee schedule for a complete list of planning application fees.

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 checklist:

Permit Timeline

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

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.

Construction (Building code and bylaw information)

New window or enlarging a window

If you are adding or enlarging a window, a building permit​ is required. If the proposed window is located within a bedroom, egress requirements in the Alberta Building Code must be met. For a comprehensive explanation of these requirements, please see Egress Window Guidelines.

Note: Engineering may be required for structural alterations. Contact our Technical Assistance Centre for more informatio​n.

Land Use Bylaw rules

Land Use Bylaw requirements for new windows:

  • One side setback must be clear of all projections (cantilevers and bay windows).
  • A window well can only project to a maximum of 0.8 m into a side setback.
  • Window wells must not project into the 3.0 m side setback required on a laneless property.
  • A 3.0 m side setback from the back of walk is required for a corner property.

A development permit may be required if the above rules are not met.

If you will be adding or changing sizes of any windows that face a side property line, you must provide elevation drawings. The elevation drawings must be drawn to scale, show the entire side of the house where changes are proposed and include all the existing and proposed windows. Make sure to include all dimensions of walls and windows. There is a limited percentage of windows allowed on a side elevation, depending on the distance of the house to the property line and the size of the building face. Please note that proposed windows are not permitted within 1.2 m from the property line.


New window or enlarging a window​

Building code rules

Windows are generally not permitted in an exterior wall when that wall is closer than 1.2 m (4’- 0”) to any property line.

Roof soffits are not permitted within 0. 45 m (1’6”) of the property line.

Roof soffits within 1.2 m (4’- 0”) of any property line are not allowed to have any openings and must be a non-vented soffit. The soffit material can be either:

  • sheet steel
  • unvented aluminum
  • ½” gypsum soffit or ceiling board
  • ½” plywood
  • ½” Orientated Strand Board (OSB) or waferboard
  • ½” lumber

When adding new exterior windows to your concrete foundation wall, a professional Engineer’s structural review is required when one or more of the following applies:

  • The width of a new opening exceeds 1.2m (4’-0”)
  • The combined width of all new and existing openings in one wall exceeds 25% of the overall length of that wall
  • The width of solid wall which remains between an existing opening and a new opening is less than the width of either of those openings

Refer to Division B, 9.15.4.3. of the 2014 Alberta Building Code for more information.

New basement entry

A new basement entry requires a building permit.

Note: Engineering may be required for structural alterations. Contact our Technical Assistance Centre for more information.

Land Use Bylaw rules

When your proposed entry requires a landing, the landing must:

  • Not exceed 2.5 m².
  • Not be located in the 3.0 m side setback area required on a laneless property.
  • Not be located in a side setback area that is required to be clear of projections unless the landing is accessible from the rear and the front.



 Landing example​

Building code rules

When adding new exterior doors to your concrete foundation wall, a professional Engineer’s structural review is required when one or more of the following applies:

  • The width of a new opening exceeds 1.2m (4’-0”)
  • The combined width of all new and existing openings in one wall exceeds 25% of the overall length of that wall
  • The width of solid wall which remains between an existing opening and a new opening is less than the width of either of those openings

Refer to Division B, 9.15.4.3. of the 2014 Alberta Building Code for more information.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detector requirements

Smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and hallways servicing bedrooms. They must be hard-wired and interconnected throughout the house. If there are no hallways servicing bedrooms in your basement, smoke detectors are required within common areas.

Energy efficiency requirements

Your renovation may be required to meet energy efficiency requirements under Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code. If the application for the building of the house was submitted on or after Nov. 1, 2016 any new renovations must comply with these energy efficiency requirements. If the application for the building of the house was submitted before Nov. 1, 2016 you do not need to comply with the energy efficiency requirements of Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code.

All renovations to your home must include building construction and mechanical components (furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, etc.) that perform as well as, or better than, any similar existing construction or mechanical components that are in the home or that are being replaced. All changes must also meet applicable Alberta Building Code requirements.

New heating, ventilation, air conditioning and service water heating systems are always required to be properly certified.

New work and replacement of "like for like" mechanical components and systems normally requires building, gas and/or electrical permits. Please see the Alberta Permit Regulation and the Calgary Building Permit Bylaw for details.

When maintaining and repairing building components or mechanical components in homes, replacements are allowed as long as you replace the component with a similar material or part that performs as well as, or better than, what you are replacing. This includes exterior cladding, windows, doors, mechanical systems, etc.

Mechanical/furnace room requirements

Your mechanical/furnace room or laundry room is required a minimum 32". All doorways that lead to this room must also be minimum 32" in width.

Wetbars/kitchens

If you are intending to have a kitchen and bathroom in your basement, you must apply for a secondary suite.

A wetbar may be included in your development but it cannot have a means of cooking (i.e oven, stove, cooktop, microwave).

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 4: Track


After you submit your application online, you will get a confirmation email with a Job Access Code (JAC).

To track your application and check its status, enter your Job Access Code in Vista.

If you need help or have questions, contact our Planning Services Centre

Step 5: Changes


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

Home renovations and basements

Framing (rough-in) inspection requirements:

  • Install and complete any structural changes.
  • Install and complete all the wall and ceiling framing.
  • Install proposed windows and exterior doors.
  • Install and complete any HVAC changes.
  • Rough-in, install and complete all plumbing and electrical components that are required under associated permits.

Book an inspection

Inspections occur Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The City continues to do our best to accommodate booking requests, however some dates may be unavailable due to inspection capacity. Inspections can continue to be booked up to 10 business days in advance.

You will receive a confirmation e-mail on the morning of your inspection that states your inspection window (8 a.m. to noon or noon to 4 p.m.). If you have not received an email by 8:30 a.m. on inspection day, please call 311.

Planning Services Centre

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

Hours:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:15p.m. (MT)

Live chat:
calgary.ca/livechat

Call:
403-268-5311

In person:
Whitehorn Multi-Services Centre
3705 35 Street N.E.

Click before you dig

Always contact Utility Safety Partners before you dig. Submit a locate request online or call 1-800-242-3447 for more information.


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. ​