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Uncovered decks and balconies

Uncovered decks, patios, paving stones and balconies.

Step 1: Review the rules and fees for your project


When is a permit requir​ed?

A deck or related structure requires a permit if any of these conditions apply:

  • It is higher than 0.6 m (2’-0”) above grade at any point - if it is under 0.6 m (2’-0”) please review our section for patios​
  • You are replacing, rebuilding or extending an existing deck or balcony, that is higher than 0.6 m (2’-0”) above grade at any point.
  • You are replacing any structural components of an existing deck or balcony that is higher than 0.6 m (2’-0”) above grade at any point.
  • You are adding stairs to an existing deck or balcony.
  • If your deck or balcony has a roof that is attached to your house, visit the additions page.
  • If your deck or balcony has a roof but is not attached to your house, visit the garage, shed, greenhouse, carport page.

In most situations, decks or related structures only require a building permit (building safety approval). If your location or design does not meet the land use bylaw specifications, you will also require a development permit (planning approval). The development permit would be applied for prior to submitting a building permit application. Further information regarding the development permit process can be found by visiting the development permit process page.

Fees

Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable) Permit fee Advertising fee Development Completion Inspection Total
Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable): Proposed land use bylaw relaxation for a deck or balcony
Permit fee: $384 Advertising fee: $32 Development Completion Inspection: $163 Total: $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
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: New Deck
Permit fee: $202 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08 Total: $210.08
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: New Balcony Permit fee: $202 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08 Total: $210.08
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: Renovation to an existing deck or balcony Permit fee: $202 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08 Total: $210.08

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

Location

Deck setbacks

All decks:

  • Must not project into any side or front setback area.
  • May project a maximum of 1.5 m into any rear setback area. In most cases it must be at least 6.0 m from the rear property line.
illustration of minimum side and read setbacks

Front decks within the developed area

Due to the more immediate aesthetic impacts on the neighborhood, decks built in the front yard in developed areas are subject to different rules than those built in side and rear yards. At the minimum, decks must be 3.0 m from the front property line. This minimum setback may increase depending on the contextual front setback. See the example below on calculating your contextual front setback.

Illustration showing the calculation of the contextual front setback for decks in the developed area. 

Zero lot lines

Zero lot lines allow you to build a deck to your side property line. Zero lot lines commonly exist in conjunction with a maintenance access right of way on the opposite side of the lot. Review your maintenance access right of way (MARW) document attached to your property's certificate of title for specific regulations. If you are building within the MARW, you must provide a copy ot the document.

Illustration of a zero lot line and a maintenance access right-of-way. 

Balconies

Rules vary for balconies based on whether they are open or recessed. Open balconies must not project more than 1.85 m from the building façade to which it is attached. A recessed balcony must not exceed 10 m² in floor area.

Illustration of a balcony unenclosed on 3 sides. 

All balconies:

  • Must not project into any side or front setback area.
  • May project a maximum of 1.5 m into any rear setback area. In most cases it must be at least 6.0 m from the rear property line.
  • May be a maximum length of 3.1 m when located in a rear setback area

Pergolas and trellises

If a pergola or roof structure is being attached to a house, the structure is considered an addition. Please refer to the additions page. If the structure being built is detached from the house, it is considered an accessory residential building and must comply with the applicable Land Use Bylaw rules. For more information see detached garages and sheds, and other accessory residential buildings.

You may require additional information for these types of permit applications and a review from a professional engineer.

Illustration of the difference between an attached and detached pergola. 

Design

Deck height

In the developed area, the maximum height for a deck that is not located on the same facade as a basement walkout entry is 1.5 m. To find out if your property is located in a developed area, enter your address in the property information bar.

In both the developed and developing areas, a deck located above the same facade as a walkout entry can exceed 1.5 m, but if must not exceed 0.3 m above the main floor level of a house.

Illustration of deck height maximums in developed and developing areas. ​

Privacy walls

A deck or balcony that is attached to a semi-detached, rowhouse or townhouse building requires a privacy wall when the deck is located within 1.2 m of a shared property line. The privacy wall must be no less than 2.0 m and not greater than 3.0 m in height, measured from the surface of the deck. If a privacy wall is being installed on a balcony for a single detached dwelling, the maximum height is 2.0 m.

Illustration of a privacy wall located within 1.2m of the side property line and extending the full depth of the deck. 

Construction

Patios

Patios 0.6 m (2’-0”) high or less typically do not require a permit. To avoid encroachments, ensure you check your Real Property Report to locate your property lines and any potential rights-of-ways. If you are extending your driveway, or proposing a new driveway or front parking pad, visit the driveways page.

Railing height

A railing 0.90m (3’-0”) high is required if the distance from the surface of your deck to adjacent ground level is less than 1.8m (6’-0”)

A railing 1.07m (3’-6”) high is required if the distance from the surface of your deck to adjacent ground level is equal to or exceeds 1.8m (6’-0”)

Refer to Division B, 9.8.8.3. of the 2014 Alberta Building Code for more information.​

Spacing requirements between railing balusters

The maximum rail opening is 0'-4" wide.​

Pile width and depth

  • The minimum pile diameter is 0’-10”.
  • The minimum pile depth is 4’-0” below grade.

If you are using screw piles, you will need to provide site specific engineering. Please provide the CCMC listing number if applicable.​​

Composite decking material

If you are using composite decking, you will need to provide the CCMC listing number.​​

For additional inquiries about building, plumbing, gas, electrical or heating, ventilation and air conditioning code or construction methods, building safety and fire regulations, please contact the Technical Assistance Centre or call 311. For all other inquiries (i.e. Land Use Bylaw), please contact our Planning Services Centre.

Step 2: Prepare your application


  • Use the Uncovered Deck checklist to determine your project’s application and drawing requirements.
  • For online applications, review our criteria for submitting your plans and documents
  • Complete plans and collect supporting documents. Review the sample drawings if needed.

Sample drawings

You can use these sample drawings as a reference while preparing your application

Step 3: Apply


Apply online

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


Disclaimer: 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.


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