Alert | Mandatory outdoor water restrictions in effect - critical water main break affecting city-wide usage

City-wide indoor and outdoor water restrictions are in place. A fire ban is in effect. The boil water advisory has been lifted.

More information

Home renovations and basements

Permits, application requirements, and common rules

Before you apply


Use this page to help guide you through submitting a complete application. We will explain when you need a permit, what permits you need, what your application requirements are and go over some common rules relating to your project.

Do you need a permit?

A basement development or other interior home renovation (such as main floor renovations) requires a building permit if:

  • The basement is being developed for the first time
  • You are making structural changes such as moving or removing walls on any floor of the house
  • You are creating new openings in interior or exterior walls (new or relocated windows, new doors)
  • Exterior renovations that do not add new square footage or structures. For renovations that include a new space, see our page on additions.

Typically, interior renovations and changes to existing basements do NOT need a permit when the work consists of minor cosmetic upgrades, which includes finishes, painting and furniture.

Building safety approval (building permit)

Building safety approval is to make sure that the structure meets building safety requirements. Review the construction (building code information) section of this page for more information.

When do you need additional permits?

You may require additional permits depending on if it meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw or if you are doing any additional work including electrical or plumbing.

Planning approval (development permit)

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).​​

To find out what your land use district is and for a list of common rules, read more in the what are the rules section.

Electrical permit

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

If you are doing the work yourself, you may be eligible for a Homeowners Electrical Permit. Review the electrical wiring section of homeowner electrical and plumbing permits for more information.

If you are hiring someone to do the work for you, they will need to apply for the permit. Visit our hiring a contractor page for more information.

If you are a contractor, visit our trade permit contractor page for more information.

Plumbing permit

separate plumbing permit is required for all new plumbing installations, as well as when extending or altering any existing plumbing systems.

For more information about what type of electrical work a homeowner may obtain a permit for, review the homeowners permits eligibility and plumbing permit sections.

For information for contractors, visit the trade permit contractor information page.

Related links


  • Secondary Suite Incentive Program

    The Secondary Suite Incentive Program supports safe housing for all. The program will provide up to $10,000 per qualifying homeowner.

Webinars


  • Developing your basement: Tips and best practices for a successful project

    May 31 from 12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

    Join us for a live presentation and Q&A on everything you need to know to plan your basement renovation. During this webinar, participants will learn key things to consider before starting their basement renovation project, including land use and building regulations, and permitting and inspection processes.

How much will it cost?

Building safety approval - building permit Fee schedule Permit fee Safety codes council fee (4%) Total
New basement

building permit fee schedule

$321 $12.84 $333.84
Renovations to an existing house or developed basement

planning application fee schedule

$198 $7.92 $205.92

Trade permit fees

Trade permits Fee schedule Permit fee Safety codes council fee (4%) Total
Homeowner electrical permit

building permit fee schedule

$112 $4.50 $116.50
Homeowner plumbing permit

building permit fee schedule

$112 $4.50 $116.50
Contractor trade permit

building permit fee schedule

  -   -

Get a permit fee estimate

Planning approval

Planning approval - development permit (if applicable) Fee schedule Permit fee Advertising fee Development completion inspection Total
Proposed Land Use Bylaw relaxation for a home renovation

planning applications fee schedule

$365 $30 $155 $550

How do you pay for a permit?

Online submissions

For online submissions you will pay your permit fees in full at the time of your application using a credit card

In person submissions

You will be required to pay in full at the time of your application. You may pay by credit or debit card, cheque or cash.

How long will it take to get a permit?

Timelines indicated are not a guarantee and depend on volumes, application completeness, and the applicant’s timely replies to additional information requests from the City.

Tip: To avoid delays in processing your application, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information listed on the checklist below. 

 

See the tips for a smooth application for details on submitting a complete application.

Timeline

Timelines indicated are not a guarantee and depend on volumes, completeness of applications and timeliness of applicant replies when responding to requests from the City.

Planning safety approval - development permit (if applicable) Our process Timeline

New basement or renovations to existing house or developed basement

Application is reviewed for bylaw and safety codes compliance

Approximately 7 days

Planning approval timelines

Planning approval - development permit (if applicable) Our process Timeline

Proposed structures that do not meet all rules of Land Use Bylaw 1P2007

  • 60 days to decision 
  • 21 days advertisement/appeal period
10 - 12 weeks

Review our development permit process page for more information about the planning approval process.

When does your 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
Development permit

Your permit conditions will outline your commencement date. Commencement date is the day you must start construction by for the development permit to be valid. If you do not start construction by that date, you can request an extension of commencement.

Do you need to hire a professional?

If you are hiring someone to do the work for you, they will need to apply for the permit. Visit our hiring a contractor page to review the 5 steps to choosing a contractor.

Professional architects or engineers

An architect or professional engineer may be required to design and inspect your project. Refer to the current National Building Code – Alberta Edition, Division C, Section 2.4.2 or a consultant to determine if professional involvement is required. Where professional involvement is required, plans or documents must be stamped by the corresponding professional(s).​​

If your project requires engineer’s review, then a seal of professional engineer registered to practice in the province of Alberta for the proposed design should be provided. The engineer should be registered with APEGA- The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. Please visit APEGA website for professional engineer’s stamp authentication requirements.

What are the rules when designing your project?


The following information will help you prepare your building permit application, and make sure it meets the City’s requirements.

Where are you building?

Where can you build on your property?

The information on this page is designed to help you put an application together for renovations to your home within it’s existing foot-print and minor exterior changes, including window wells and new uncovered entrances.

For renovations that will change your houses footprint, please see the additions page.

What design rules do you need to meet?

New windows or enlarging windows

If you are adding new windows or enlarging existing windows than a building permit is required. If you are replacing windows without changing the size of the opening or type/operation of the window, then no permit is required.

When adding or enlarging new windows, consider:

  • 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.

Additional application requirements

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
  • include all the existing and proposed windows.

Make sure to include all dimensions of:

  • the entire width of the elevation
  • height from grade, to top of finished floor, to the eave and to roof ridge
  • all projections, and
  • windows

New basement entry

A new basement entry requires a building permit.

Note: Engineering may be required for structural alterations. Common type of alterations which may require engineering are:

  • New entrance door in an existing foundation wall or a tall wall.
  • Below ground exterior stairs to access entrance.
  • Above ground steps supported on brackets.
  • Projections over the proposed entrance and stairs.

Refer to the current Building Code, Division C, Section 2.4.2 or a consultant to determine if professional involvement is required. Contact our technical assistance centre for more information.

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.

If you have questions or need clarification on the Land Use Bylaw rules, or have general permit questions, please contact the Planning Services Centre.

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).

Construction information (building code) to consider when designing your building

New window or enlarging a window

If the proposed window is located within a bedroom, egress requirements in the National Building Code (Alberta Edition) 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 information​n

New window or enlarging a window​

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

  • 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 National Building Code – Alberta Edition for more information.

New basement entry

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 National Building Code – Alberta Edition for more information.

Roof soffits

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 National Building Code – Alberta Edition 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.

Refer to Division B, 9.10.19.  for smoke detector and Division B, 9.32.3.9. for carbon monoxide detector in National Building Code – Alberta Edition.

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 National Building Code (Alberta Edition) 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.

Door widths requirements

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

Washroom: Doorways to rooms with a bathtub, shower or water closet should be a minimum of 30” wide.

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is invisible, odourless and tasteless. When diluted by the air around us, it does not cause problems. However, when concentrated in an enclosed space, it has been linked to serious health issues.

To test for radon in your home, you can purchase a do-it yourself test or hire a radon professional. Once your basement has been tested, if it shows that the levels of radon are above the Health Canada threshold of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3) then a radon remediation system could be installed. For more information, visit Health Canada's Guide for Radon Measurements in Residential Dwellings (Homes).

A radon remediation system rough-in installation is not a building code requirement for existing homes. If you are adding to the footprint of your home, then a radon remediation system rough-in is required for the addition. Review our additions page for more information.

For more information on radon mitigation, contact Health Canada.

If you have questions regarding installation requirements for your radon rough-in, contact the Technical Assistance Centre.

Building code questions

If you have questions or need clarification on the Building code information above, contact the Technical Assistance Centre.

For all other inquiries contact our Planning Services Centre.

Homeowner trade permits


Homeowner permit eligibility

If you are a homeowner, you may to apply for homeowner's plumbing, electrical and gas fireplace installation permits for new work, including renovations, if: 

  • You legally own the home - if you have recently purchased the property, it takes some time for the title to transfer to you. We may request a copy of your purchase agreement as proof of ownership.
  • You live in the home or intend to reside in it - 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 hiring someone to do the work for you, they will need to apply the permit. Visit our hiring a contractor  page to review the 5 steps to choosing a contractor.

Other requirements

  • 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. 
  • The electrical and/or plumbing system can only service that home, including a secondary suite contained within it. 
  • If the home is a semi-detached dwelling, one side of the 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 authorization from the condo board to the unit owner. The permit would apply only to the unit that the owner lives in. Other units in the complex are not included.
  • If the home is owned by a corporation, a director can pull this if they live there and are completing the work themselves. The City of Calgary will request a copy of the corporation documents to show proof of ownership. 

Electrical permit

separate electrical permit is required for:

  • All new wiring installations.
  • Extending or altering any existing electrical branch circuit wiring.
  • 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.
  • Install electrical wiring for above-ground swimming pools and hot tubs.

Our  homeowner electrical wiring 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 Electrical Code of Canada. 

Homeowners are not permitted to:

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

A homeowner that is a journeyman electrician may apply for homeowner electrical permits that typical homeowners are not allowed to apply for. In order to qualify, you must:

  • Have a journeyman certificate.
  • Own the home.
  • Must live in the home.

For questions, please contact our technical assistance centre.

Plumbing permit

A separate plumbing permit is required for:

  • All new plumbing systems.
  • Extending or altering plumbing systems.
  • Water and sewer lines in or around the home that are being 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.

What to do if the work has already been completed?

Concealed wiring procedure

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

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 responsible for any previously concealed electrical wiring.

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

Concealed plumbing procedure

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

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.

How to prepare your application


1. Prepare the application details

You will need to know:

  • The project address
  • Who is applying (the homeowner or someone representing the owner)
  • Who will be doing the work (contractor, homeowner)
  • What you are applying for
  • Project details, including the size of the deck

2. Prepare the required documents and plans

Specific drawing and supporting document requirements are listed on the permit checklist. You must provide all the required drawings and documents when you submit your application.

Building and development permit application requirements

Supporting documents

1. Asbestos abatement form: This form only needs to be completed for houses built before 1990.

Plans

1. Floor plans

  • You will need to provide floor plans for each floor of your house (i.e. basement, main floor, second floor, etc) where renovations are taking place
  • Label the purpose of how each room is used (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc)
  • Size, type and operation of all bedroom windows.
  • Label and dimension any changes including:
    1. new doors and windows
    2. new walls
    3. new beams (if applicable)

The following additional plans are only required if you are making exterior changes, such as adding or increasing the size of a window well, or, adding or changing the size of a window.

1. Site plan

  • Tip: You can modify a Real Property Report (RPR) to use as your site Plan.
  • You must note where the suite amenity space, parking and suite entrance are located

2. Elevations

  • An elevation drawing is a 2D view of the exterior walls of the building
  • Indicate the locations and dimensions of all windows, doors and exterior stairs
  • You will need to provide elevation drawings of each side of the house.

Apply


Tips for a smooth application process

Before you apply

Download the checklist and check each application requirement as you prepare to submit your application. Items listed on the checklist are the minimum requirements. We might need more information after we review your application.

Provide all required documents on the checklist, including drawings, supporting material, and any additional forms. If you are not sure if something is required, contact the Planning Services Centre

Use sample drawings to review what you need to include on your plans

Double check your documents are completed and make sure you have all required items on your plans before you upload them

After you apply

The Planning Services Centre may contact you for more information required for your application. Follow-up on requests for more information as quickly as possible. 

Use the Job Access Code (JAC) to check status updates for your application on calgary.ca/vista

  • You’ll get a JAC by e-mail after you’ve submitted your application. If you did not receive a JAC number, contact the Planning Services Centre.
  • Checking your application’s status using your JAC will provide you with timely updates about the status of your application

What is a complete application?

A complete application means that you have provided all the necessary requirements for our teams to complete their reviews. You should provide everything listed on the Complete Application Requirement List and the Guide to a Complete Application (if applicable), including plans, supporting documents and payment.

An application for a permit may be refused  if, within ninety (90) days from the date of receipt,  if 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.

Apply online

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

Complete the application form.

Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre.

After you apply


How to check the status of your permit

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

What Inspections do you 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.

How do you book your inspections?

Visit building inspections for information on how to book, cancel or reschedule an inspection, permit expiry and the requirements for each inspection type.

Contractors

If you have a vista account:

If you do not have a Vista acount:

Make changes to your permit

Planning Services Centre

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

Live chat:
calgary.ca/livechat

Call:
403-268-5311

In person: 
Planning Services Centre,
3rd floor, Municipal building 
800 Macleod Trail SE

Book an eAppointment for in person services at appointment.calgary.ca

Legal and safe suite registry

Check the Secondary Suite Registry to find or verify a legal suite in Calgary.

Registry suites include all necessary permits and have been inspected to meet Alberta's Safety Code requirements. The registry is continually updated as we approve suites.

If an operating suite does not appear on the registry, you can contact Customer support to submit a complaint.

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. ​