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Understanding permits and the review process

Below is a breakdown of the permit types that may be required for your project. In most cases, only a building permit, homeowner electrical/plumbing permit or contractor trade permits are required. However, if your project does not meet the Land Use Bylaw rules, you may require a development permit (e.g. building too close to a property line). If the Land Use Bylaw does not currently allow you to build your project on your property, you may also need a land use re-designation (e.g. adding a secondary suite).

Building safety approval (building permit)

A building permit is an application with The City to ensure your project meets the minimum National Building Code (Alberta Edition) requirements and, more importantly, is safe. The code provides guidance on approved building materials and construction methods.

Examples: building a deck in your backyard or developing your basement.

Homeowner electrical/plumbing permit

A homeowner electrical/plumbing permit or a contractor trade permit is an application with The City to ensure your project is safe and meets the minimum requirements of the respective codes. These codes provide guidance on approved building materials and construction methods.

Examples: wiring your garage for power or adding a shower to your bathroom.

Planning approval (development permit)

A development permit (DP) is an application submitted to The City for a project that either does not meet the Land Use Bylaw rules or requires a DP as directed by The City’s development approval authority. The authority exercises discretion on its decision to require (or not require) a DP. When making its determination, the authority considers the impact to neighboring properties or to the community.

This process allows The City to make sure your project will fit in with the community and gives the public a chance to provide feedback.

Examples: building your raised deck up to the property line or adding a rooftop deck on your garage.

Land use re-designation permit

A land use re-designation permit is an application with The City to change what is allowed on your property. This review process assesses the context within the community and requires City Council approval.

Examples: building a secondary suite where not allowed or changing your single house property to build a skyscraper.

More info

For detailed information on Calgary land use and development rules, view the Land Use Bylaw.

The National Building Code (Alberta Edition) can be viewed through the public library or purchased through the Government of Canada

Planning Services Centre

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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. ​