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Alterations to existing buildings

Interior and exterior renovations, structural changes, interior demolition, leasehold improvements, parkade repairs, racking, and alterations to fire alarms and sprinklers

Step 1: Review the rules and fees for your project

When is a permit required?​

A building permit is required if any of these conditions apply:

  • There’s a change to the business activity resulting in a new building code classification or occupant load (e.g. a warehouse changes to a vehicle repair shop). Even if there is no construction planned, a building permit may still be required.
  • Any construction is being done, including alterations to structural and non-structural walls. If you’re making changes to mechanical, plumbing, gas or electrical work, you may need a building permit and additional trade permits.
  • When upgrading or installing new mechanical equipment to meet building code (e.g. a car detailing business to an engine repair business; using a forklift in a warehouse may require additional ventilation; adding or modifying cooking equipment)
  • You are the first tenant in a new building.
  • Alberta Health Services must review the application; some examples are restaurants, daycares, pools, hair salons, massage centers, tattoo parlors, and nail salons.

A building permit is NOT required when the above criteria does not apply to your application, and the scope is cosmetic (painting or furniture).

A development permit may be required, before applying for a building permit. If you are unsure if you need a development permit first, contact the Planning Services Centre.


​​ ​Building Safety Approval - Building Permit
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: ​Alteration to existing building undefined: ​​Please use the Building permit fee calculator​ to estimate your fee.

Deposit Process

Online submissions

For online submissions with large permit costs, there is a deposit process in place that limits the amount paid online.  For building permit fees over $10,000, only 25% of the base permit fee will be charged as an initial deposit, up to a maximum of $10,000. If 25% of the building permit base fee exceeds $10,000, you will be contacted to make payment for the remaining permit fee balance and any applicable additional fees (i.e. partial permit, lot grades, SCC, etc.) For example, if 25% of the permit fee is $25,000, you will pay a $10,000 deposit online and our Cash Office will contact you the next business day to make the payment for the remaining $15,000 of the deposit.

Please note, the remaining permit fees must be paid prior to a partial permit or the full permit being issued. In order to pay the remaining total, please choose one of the following payment methods and reference your permit number: 

By Phone (only available by credit card):

In order to make payment over the phone by credit card please call 403-268-5311.

By Mail (only available for cheques):

The City of Calgary 
Attention: Planning Cashiers- 8108 
PO BOX 2100 STN M 
Calgary, AB  T2P 2M5 

By Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): 

If you would like to pay by Electronic Funds Transfer you will select the payment option upon application. No fees will be processed at the time of the application intake. The Planning Cash Office will contact you the next business day and provide you with instructions to complete the EFT payment.

In person submissions

There are two payment options to choose from when applying for your permit in person:

Option 1: Submit payment for 100% of the permit fees up front.

Option 2: Pay 25% of the permit fees up front. Please note, the remaining permit fees must be paid prior to a partial or the full permit being issued. 

* This option is only available until October 31st, 2020.

In order to pay the remaining total, please choose one of the following payment methods and reference your permit number: 

By Phone (only available by credit card):

In order to make payment over the phone by credit card please call 403-268-5311.

By Mail (only available for cheques):

The City of Calgary 
Attention: Planning Cashiers- 8108 
PO BOX 2100 STN M 
Calgary, AB  T2P 2M5 

By Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): 

If you would like to pay by Electronic Funds Transfer you will select the payment option upon application. No fees will be processed at the time of the application intake. The Planning Cash Office will contact you the next business day and provide you with instructions to complete the EFT payment. 

Alberta Building Code information

This information assists business owners and contractors understand and implementing general Alberta Building Code requirements for commercial building permits. Commercial spaces must comply with the Land Use Bylaw as well as minimum requirements established in the 2019 National Building Code (Alberta Edition), including applicable standards for safety of the public and building occupants, health, accessibility, energy, fire, and structural integrity. Commercial spaces must also comply with the Alberta Fire Code also known as the 2019 National Fire Code (Alberta Edition). Businesses are responsible for following the rules and regulations of all applicable governing bodies prior to using the space.

Business owners and contractors should consult a design professional before financially committing to a location. The cost to make necessary upgrades or changes may be expensive. The City of Calgary does not determine who should coordinate or pay for upgrades.

Some activities have very specific code requirements, including restaurants.

Building code classifcation

Business activities are associated with a type of occupancy and governing building classification in the Alberta Building Code. Classification is determined by building size (footprint area and number of storeys), construction type (wood or concrete and steel), the need for a sprinkler and fire alarm system, and type of occupancy.

Depending on how the building is classified, changes and upgrades may be necessary to accommodate the proposed activity. For example, a building without sprinklers may be suitable for a retail store, but not suitable for a restaurant when taking into consideration the size, construction type, and mechanical ventilation.

Knowing the building classification will assist with design and construction, by helping to determine:

  • Fire ratings of walls, floors, mezzanines and roofs
  • Construction type (combustible, non-combustible or combination of both)
  • If sprinkler and fire alarm systems are required

The Alberta Building Code also determines:

  • • Maximum occupant load
  • Barrier free accessibility and washroom design
  • Required exiting
  • Fire alarm and detection requirements

Due to the complexity of interpreting the classification, you may need to engage with a consultant that can conduct a building code analysis in order to identify the building classification and the rules related to that class before preparing your plans and documents.

Ensure your building classification is clearly indicated on your plans. Providing this information reduces delays in your application review.

Code classification descriptions

On your building permit application, you must indicate one of the following building occupancies:

Assembly: a space (e.g. arena, theatre, restaurant, day care) where people gather for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or similar purposes, including consumption of food or drink

Detention: a space where people are held under restraint or are not self-sufficient due to security measures

Care: a space (e.g. hospital, assisted living, nursing home) where medical treatments occur, including surgery, intensive care, and emergency medical intervention; OR a space where daily patient/resident monitoring and support occurs to assess daily functioning and cognitive awareness; the facility may also book appointments for residents, provide reminders of those appointments, provide supervision pertaining to medications and nutrition, and intervene in the event of an emergency

Residential: a space that includes sleeping accommodations such as an apartment or hotel; please note this category excludes sleeping accommodations for the purpose of care, treatment and/or involuntary detention

Personal Service/Office/Business: a space (e.g. banks, beauty salons, dental offices, medical offices) used for business transactions, including provision of professional or personal services

Mercantile/Retail: a space including, but not limited to, exhibition halls, department stores and markets that are used to display or sell retail goods

Industrial: a space used for the assembly, fabrication, manufacture, processing, repair or storage of goods and materials

Please see the Alberta Building Code for exact wording of each category. The above information is intended to provide a general summary.



Barrier free design

Codes addressing accessibility, or barrier-free design, allow safe access to buildings and facilities for all people. Reasonable access to facilities is required to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities to be active, independent and safe within the community.

The rules for barrier-free design are in section 3.8 of the National Building Code (Alberta Edition). To help explain this material, the Alberta Safety Codes Council created a barrier-free design guide.

The City of Calgary has Access Design Standards that exceed those of the National Building Code (Alberta Edition). Although mandatory for City buildings, we encourage design and building professionals to implement these standards in all projects.

If the physical layout of the building makes it difficult to provide barrier-free access and/or facilities, you can apply for a relaxation with Alberta Municipal Affairs.

National Energy Code of Canada for buildings

If you are constructing a new building or an addition (including second floors and mezzanines), your design will need to comply with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) or the Alberta Building Code section 9.36.

Buildings that were constructed to meet the National Energy Code still require compliance when undergoing renovations or improvements. This may include:

  • Building envelope: requirements for roofs, walls and windows to control heat loss and air leaks.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC): efficiency of heating and cooling equipment
  • Water heating: efficiency of equipment and controls
  • Lighting: number and type of lighting fixtures and controls

Visit National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings for more information about how it may affect your business.

Step 2: Prepare your application

To help plan your project, determine if your permit qualifies for quick release:

Preparing your application

The building permit checklist will indicate the plans and documents that are required. Plans need to include enough detail to clearly convey the entire scope of intended work, and include information needed to guide the construction process. All areas covered by the Alberta Building Code including mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, washrooms and fire ratings should be included in your plans. Submitting a comprehensive set of plans will result in a specific and accurate review process, leading to efficient approval of the building permit application.

Consider hiring someone to draft your plans if you are unable produce acceptable plans and documents.​

Professional architects or engineers

An architect or professional engineer may be required to design and inspect your project. Refer to the Alberta Building Code, 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).​​

Step 3: Apply

In order to get started, create a myID account.

​​​​Create a myID account​​

Businesses can register for a myID business account. A business account is intended for myID services to be submitted on behalf of a business or organization. Please follow the steps outlined on the myID business account page.

In person
Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre. To skip the line, book an appointment.

Step 4: Inspections and managing your permit application

  • Visit Inspections for information about inspection bookings, inspection outcomes, inspection types and more.
  • Visit Manage your permit application for information on how to revise, cancel, and alter your permit.


Planning Services Centre

We are experiencing higher than normal volumes and longer wait times. We appreciate your patience while our agents answer your questions and review your applications.

If you are trying to reach us, please select only one method of contact for your inquiry. Multiple inquiry services at the same time can increase volumes and wait times. For applications, we encourage the use of our online system as the timelines for drop-off and online submissions are the same.

Monday - Friday* 
8 a.m. - 4:15p.m. (Mountain Time Zone)
*closed on statutory holidays

Live chat:


COVID-19 Service Changes - Application drop-off
3rd floor, Municipal building
800 Macleod Trail SE

COVID-19 updates:
COVID-19 changes to services

Click before you dig

Always contact Alberta One Call 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. ​