Fences & retaining walls
Step 1: Review the rules and fees for your project
When is a permit required?
Typically a permit is required if any of these conditions apply:
- In the rear yard it is higher than 2m (6’-6”)
- In the front yard it is higher than 1.2m (4’-0”)
- Inside a corner visibility triangle it is higher than 0.75m (2’-6”)
- The gate is higher than 2.5m (8’-2”).
In most situations a fence doesn't need a building safety approval (building permit). If your design or location does not meet land use bylaw specifications you will require planning approval (development permit).
Retaining wall or garden box:
- It is retaining 1.2m (4’-0") or more of soil, and
- The combined height of all retaining walls and garden boxes within 1m (3’-3") of each other is 1.2m (4’-0") or more.
In most situations retaining walls and garden boxes 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).
Skateboard or sports ramp:
- It is more than 1.5m high, 5m wide, and 6m long, and
- It is not in a residential backyard, and
- It is less than 1.2m from the side and rear property lines, and
- It is attached to any other structures such as a fence, deck, garage, or shed.
In most situations a skateboard or sports ramp doesn't need 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).
|Planning Approval - Development Permit (prior to construction)||Permit fee||Advertising fee||Development Completion Inspection||Total|
|Planning Approval - Development Permit (prior to construction): Proposed land use bylaw relaxation for a fence or retaining wall
||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 retaining wall
||Permit fee: $202
||Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08
|Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: Renovation to an existing retaining wall
||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 permt application fees.
Building code and bylaw information
Retaining walls 1.2 m or greater in height will require a development permit.
Garden boxes must follow the rules of a retaining wall when the garden box is holding back soil at grade level. Please refer to images provided.
Retaining walls and fence heights are measured from grade to the top of the fence:
Fences on private property that are in poor condition are handled by the Community Standards Bylaw. Contact 311 for more information.
In most situations where a fence has been built by a developer, a restrictive covenant is registered on the land title, outlining the property owner’s rights. Developer fences older than two years are no longer the responsibility of the developer. To see who is responsible after the developer, refer to your caveat.
For any questions regarded fences off roadways, parks and pathways, contact 311.
Skateboards and sport ramps are only allowed in a Low Density Residential or Multi-Residential District, if your land use district starts with an “R” or an “M”, backyard skateboard ramps are allowed, if they meet the rules. Refer to the myProperty map to confirm the rules that apply to your land use district. Higher density areas of the Centre City like the downtown do not have access to backyard ramps.
You will only require a development permit if the height restrictions are exceeded and the structure falls outside the maximum allowable size.
In most cases, a building permit is not required, as the structure would not be considered habitable
Please see a guide to skateboard and sport ramps for examples of various structures that fall under this category.
New fence construction is not permitted to extend onto City of Calgary property. Visit the encroachments page for more information.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the work being carried out conforms to any restrictive covenants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title.
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 Fence permit checklist or Retaining wall permit checklist to determine the application and drawing requirements for your project.
- For online applications, review the criteria for information on how to organize your plans and documents
- Complete plans and collect supporting documents. Review the sample drawings if needed.
You can use these sample drawings as a reference while preparing your application
Step 3: Apply
First, create a myID Personal or myID business account.
Citizens can register for a myID personal account. A personal account is intended for individual citizen use, not business users.
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.
Step 4: Inspections and managing your permit application
- Visit Residential Inspections to learn 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.
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.