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Garage, shed, gazebo and similar structures - Permits

Step 1: Review


Do I need a permit?

A detached garage or similar structure (like a shed, pergola, gazebo, greenhouse, arbour, workshop, backyard office, playhouse or carport) requires a permit if:

  • It is greater than 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) – if it is under 10 m2, review our section for buildings under 10 m2 (107sq. ft.).
  • It is attached to a house – this is considered an addition and not a garage or similar structure. You will need to review the additions page.

Planning Approval (Development Permit)

In most cases, a garage or similar structure will only need building safety approval (building permit). If your structure does not meet the rules listed in the location or design sections (land use bylaw), you will also need planning approval. You must apply for planning approval before applying for the building safety approval.

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

Building Safety Approval (Building Permit)

Building safety approval (building permit) is to make sure that the structure meets building safety requirements.

Do I need an Electrical Permit?

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

Fees

Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable) Fee schedule Permit fee Advertising fee Development Completion Inspection Total
Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable): Proposed land use bylaw relaxation for a garage, shed, greenhouse, or pergola planning applications fee schedule Permit fee: $384 Advertising fee: $32 Development Completion Inspection: $163 Total: $579
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit Fee schedule Permit fee Safety Codes Council Fee (4%) Total
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: New garage building permit fee schedule Permit fee: $332 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $13.28 Total: $345.28
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: New carport, shed, greenhouse, or pergola building permit fee schedule Permit fee: $202 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08 Total: $210.08
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: Renovation to an existing garage, shed, greenhouse, or pergola building permit fee schedule Permit fee: $202 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $8.08 Total: $210.08
Trade Permits Fee schedule Permit fee Safety Codes Council Fee (4%) Total
Trade Permits: Homeowner Electrical Permit building permit fee schedule Permit fee: $112 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $4.50 Total: $116.50
Trade Permits: Homeowner Plumbing Permit building permit fee schedule Permit fee: $112 Safety Codes Council Fee (4%): $4.50 Total: $116.50
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: Contractor Trade Permit       Please use our trade permit fee estimator to estimate your permit fee.

How long will it take to get a permit?

Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable) Our process Timeline
Proposed structures that do not meet all rules of Land Use Bylaw 1P2007
  • Our process: 60 days to decision
  • 21 days advertisement/appeal period
Our commitment: 10 - 12 weeks*
Review our Development Permit Process page for more information about the planning approval process.    
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit Timeline
  • New garage
  • New carport, shed, greenhouse, or pergola
  • Renovation to an existing garage, shed, greenhouse, or pergola
7 days*

*To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information listed on the Garage, shed, gazebo and similar structures - Permit Checklist.

Building Safety Approval - Building Permit Timeline
  • New garage
  • New carport, shed, greenhouse, or pergola
  • Renovation to an existing garage, shed, greenhouse, or pergola
7 days*

*To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information listed on the Garage, shed, gazebo and similar structures - Permit Checklist.

When does my permit expire?

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Building Permit 180 days
Contractor Trade Permit 330 days
Homeowner Permit 330 days

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.

Step 2: Prepare


Use the information below to prepare your application. Follow the rules in the location, design and construction sections to help make sure your application meets the City's requirements.

Location

Building setbacks

In most land use districts, accessory residential buildings, such as a garage or shed will have a minimum building setback of 0.6 m (1.9 ft.) required from a side or rear property line. When the side or rear property line is shared with a street, the garage must be 1.2 m (3.9 ft.) from the property line. No accessory buildings may be located in the actual front setback on a low density residential property.

The building may go up to the side property line (as long as the property line is not shared with a street), as long as it meets all of the following requirements:

  • The exterior is maintenance-free (examples of maintenance-free materials include: vinyl siding and stucco) or the owner of the adjacent parcel grants a private maintenance easement. (This requirement does not apply to buildings under 10 m2).
  • All water drainage off of the building remains on the property.
  • There is no eave overhang onto the adjacent lot.

Separation from the main residential building

All accessory residential buildings 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) or larger must have at least a 1.0 m (3.2 ft.) separation from the main residential building or house. When measuring to determine the minimum separation distance between a proposed accessory residential building and the main residential building, measure from the closest wall of each building (include second floor cantilevers, bay windows, etc.).

diagram showing minimum distance from main residential building

 Minimum distance from main residential building.

Zero lot lines and maintenance access right-of-ways

Zero lot lines allow you to build up to your side property line. Zero lot lines commonly exist in conjunction with maintenance access right-of-ways on the opposite side of the lot and on adjacent lots. If your proposed structure projects into a maintenance access right-of-way, the document showing allowance for this type of construction must be presented at the time of application.

Building near utility lines

Contact Click before you dig at 1-800-242-3447, to find out where your utility lines are before you build.

For information about building near or over gas lines, contact ATCO Gas at 403-292-7500.

If you have any questions regarding clearance from utility lines and boxes, contact ENMAX at 403-514-3716.

No structures are permitted to be built in a utility right-of-way.​

Design

What is your property's zoning?

The zoning of your property will dictate specific rules for the design of your garage, for example, the allowable parcel coverage or how many parking stalls are required on your property.

Please visit our Land use districts / zones page in order to determine your properties zoning.

Parcel coverage

The sum of accessory residential buildings on a property must not exceed whichever is less:

  • the building coverage of the main residential building (house), or
  • 75 m2 (807 sq. ft.) per dwelling unit 

In addition, combined parcel coverage of all buildings cannot exceed a certain percentage of your total property size. This percentage is dictated by your specific land use district. See the graph below to determine your allowable lot coverage.

Land Use District Allowable Coverage (%) Parcel Area <= 300 m2
Parcel width < 10 m
Parcel Area <= 300 m2
Parcel width < 8.7 m
Parcel width > 11 m Semi-Detached / Duplex Row / Townhouse
R-C1L
R-C1Ls
40 x x x x x
R-C1
R-C1s
R-C2
R-1
R-1s
R-MH
R-CG*
45 x x x x x
R-C1N 45 50 x x x x
R-1N 50 x 60 45 x x
R-2 45 x x x 50 x
R-2M 45 x x x 50 60
*Parcel coverage rules for R-CG change as density increases.

Note: If the aggregate area of all accessory buildings is under 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) those structures will not contribute to parcel coverage.

To calculate lot coverage, you will need to divide the footprint area of all applicable buildings by the property size.

(Total building area ÷ property area) × 100 = lot coverage per cent

Tip: You can use a Real Property Report (RPR) as your site plan. The lot dimensions will be located on the document.

Example:

Parcel coverage example
 

  1. Find the allowable coverage for the property based on your land use district.
    R-C1 = 45%
  2. Calculate the property area.
    10.36 m × 32.0 m = 331.52 m2
  3. Add all applicable building areas:
    house: 77.2 m2
    covered deck*: 9.3 m2
    shed: 10.2 m2
    proposed garage: + 40.8 m2
    Total building area = 137.5 m2
  4. Divide the total building area by the property area and times that by 100 to get a percentage.
    total building area = 137.5 m2 × 100 = 41.47%
    property area = 331.52 m2

R-C1 allows for a maximum lot coverage of 45 per cent. Therefore, the proposal comes within the allowable lot coverage.

*Covered deck is only included in the calculation because it has a roof structure. Decks that are not covered should not be included.

Parking

Number of stalls required

Most properties require one parking space per dwelling unit, unless your property falls into one of the categories below. If you are unsure of your land use district, please enter your address into the property information bar. If your land use district is not noted below, then you require one stall per dwelling.

Two stalls per dwelling are required when located in:

  • R-C1N or R-1N and the parcel width is less than 9 m (29.5 ft.).
  • R-C2 or R-2 and the parcel width is less than 9 m (29.5 ft.) or the parcel area is less than 270 m2 (2,906 sq. ft.).

Two stalls per parcel are required when located in:

  • R-2M and the parcel width is less than 9 m (29.5 ft.) or the parcel area is less than 270 m2 (2,906 sq. ft.).

If your property is an irregular shape and you are unsure of your parcel width, please refer to the example below to see how to measure your parcel width and determine how many parking stalls are required.

driveway

Parking requirements can be met with a parking pad, driveway or a garage. The required parking stalls must not be located one in front of the other.

Note: many properties in Calgary were developed prior to the current bylaw and its parking requirements. There is also the potential that relaxations for parking were granted on an individual property. In these cases, the current parking requirements may not have to be met.

Stall size requirements

For the purpose of parking stall requirements, walls of a garage, fences and property lines are considered barriers.

Parking stall size requirements:

  • If the parking stall abuts two barriers the stall must be at least 5.9 m x 3 m.
  • If the parking stall abuts only one barrier the stall must be 5.9 m x 2.85 m.
  • If the parking stall abuts no barriers the stall must be 5.9 m x 2.5 m.

Height

All accessory residential buildings must not exceed height requirements outlined in the Land Use Bylaw. The structure must:

  • Not be higher than 4.6 m (15 ft.) from the finished floor.
  • Not be higher than 3.0 m (9.8 ft.) from the finished floor to the underside of the eaveline: the intersection of the wall and the roof structure at the highest point.
  • Be one storey in height, but can have an attic without windows, accessed by a removable ladder, used by the occupants of the house for storage. The attic is allowed to have maximum height of 1.5 m (4.9 ft.) measured from the attic floor to the underside of any rafter.
  • Not have a finished floor higher than 0.6m (1.9 ft.) above grade, unless it is a private garage. For example, a pergola on a deck that is higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.), would not meet bylaw.

Garage height example

 

Lane grades

If a detached garage is accessing an unpaved rear lane, a lane grade can be established through a Development Site Servicing site visit. This will ensure that the garage floor will be at the correct elevation in relation to the lane. The City of Calgary will assume no responsibility for water runoff into the garage, or access problems arising from construction of a garage, due to a grade that is inconsistent with the design grade approved by Development Site Servicing. There is a fee for this service.

Residential grades requirement list

Rooftop decks and balconies

Rooftop decks and balconies on accessory residential buildings would always require a development permit (planning approval) because it does not meet the Land Use Bylaw specifications.

Please review our Development Permits process page for more information on the processes for these applications.

Similarly, accessory residential buildings, other than a private garage, must not have a finished floor higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.) above grade. For example, a pergola on a deck that is higher than 0.6 m (1.9 ft.), would not meet bylaw​.

Semi-detached garages

Semi-detached garages straddle a property line. You will usually only see these when the house is a semi-detached dwelling. However, sometimes the owners of two single detached dwellings will build a semi-detached garage that straddles their common property line.

Two building permits are always required, whether the property has been subdivided or not. If the total garage area is over 75 m² (807 sq. ft.), a development permit is required.

Construction (Building Code information)

Buildings under 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.)

Accessory residential buildings under 10 m² (107 sq. ft.) in area typically do not require a building permit, however, they must comply with the rules listed under location and design.

Parking pad

Although a building permit is not required for a parking pad, if you plan on pouring a parking pad for the purpose of building a garage in the future you should consider the location after reviewing the previously rules of the Land Use Bylaw listed under location and design.

If your garage slab will have an area bigger than 55 m2 (592 sq. ft.), and does not have a concrete foundation that is 1.2m below grade, you will need a concrete slab designed by a professional engineer. Please refer to Building Regulations Bulletin 2014-011.

Building within 0.6m of the side property line

When building within 0.6m (1.9 ft.) of the side property line, accessory residential buildings which are 10 m2 (107 sq. ft.) or larger have the following requirements for fire-ratings and permitted locations of eave projections:

Fire rating:

5/8" Type X drywall is required to be installed from floor slab to underside of roof sheathing on the interior face of wall assemblies located within 0.6m (1.9 ft) of the side property line.

Eave projections:

Eave projections are not permitted within 0.45 m (1.5 ft.) of a side property line shared with an adjacent property (excluding rain trough). All water drainage off the building must remain on the property. A non-vented soffit (underside of eave projection) is required for eaves within 1.2 m (3.9 ft.) of a property line shared with an adjacent property.

If the eaves will project towards the lane instead, the roof trusses will likely be resting on the beam over the overhead garage door. If this is the case, you will need to provide a copy of the beam calculations or manufacturer’s truss layouts when you apply for a building permit.

The Alberta Building Code has specific distance requirements for eaves and soffits, as demonstrated in this diagram:

Temporary tent garages

Temporary tent garages on residential properties do not require a building permit, however; they must comply with the rules listed under location and design.

Note: tent garages are not considered maintenance free structures, so the setback rules apply.​​

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.

Step 3: Apply


To apply online, you need a myID account. Create a myID account.

Apply in person

Drop off your application: COVID-19 Service Changes - Application drop-off

3rd floor, Municipal building
800 Macleod Trail SE

 We are currently not accepting appointments.

Step 4: Track


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

Step 5: Changes


For more information about changing your permit visit Permit changes - Manage your application​.

Step 6: Inspect


For information about cancelling or rescheduling an inspection, permit expiry and types of inspections see Building inspections.

Inspection you will need

Garage inspection

Framing (rough-in) inspection requirements:

  • The garage must be at lock-up stage, where all doors and windows are properly installed, with the building secure and the site safe.
  • Garages can be built into the side yard, close to the property line. Fire rating standards must be completed, with fire-rated materials installed. 
  • The garage inspection can occur when the project is complete, or at the framing stage when doors and windows are installed.

Electrical inspections

Electrical Trade Permit

The following tasks must be completed before booking an inspection. Please note it is not necessary to have drywall installed for a final inspection.

Please review the green service label policy to determine if you require a green service label (sticker).

Rough-in requirements

  • Have all wiring and interior of outlet boxes readily visible.
  • Remove vapour barrier and insulation where it’s covering any wiring. The exception is for wiring fished into walls.
  • All wiring must be supported.
  • Remove outer sheath of wiring and terminate all wiring into outlet boxes and fixtures.
  • Ensure all splices are made and all grounding is complete in outlet boxes and fixtures.
  • Do not secure devices (plugs, switches) to outlet boxes. Leave all wiring and terminations visible.
  • Cables may be terminated into the panelboard, but wires should not be on breakers.
  • Never energize exposed wiring.
  • Rough and underground inspections should be combined.
  • Expose the trench on at least one end to confirm depth.
  • Access must be provided to all areas where electrical work has been completed.
  • For secondary suites, use the secondary suite electrical load calculation sheet to ensure your current electrical service is adequate. When complete, please email the form to us. If the main electrical service must be increased from 60 amps, 100 amps, or 200 - amp service, please have your Contractor contact ENMAX.

Final requirements

  • Do not have any exposed live wiring.
  • Install all devices, receptacles and light fixtures.
  • Any open outlet boxes or unfinished wiring must be properly secured and installed in a junction box with an approved splice cap and a junction box cover.
  • Install, terminate and energize all breakers, if safe to do so.
  • Complete the panelboard breaker directory, all breakers must be labeled correctly.
  • Access must be provided to all areas where electrical work has been completed.

For more information, review the Homeowner electrical wiring guide.

Book an inspection

Inspections occur Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For next day inspections, please book before 2 p.m. the previous business day (e.g. book by 2 p.m. on Friday for a Monday inspection).

You will receive a confirmation e-mail on the morning of your inspection that states your inspection window (8a.m.-12p.m. or 12p.m. to 4 p.m.). If you have not received an email by 8:30 a.m. on inspection day, please call 311.

Homeowners

Call 311 to book an inspection over the phone.

Contractors

If you have a Vista account:

If you do not have a Vista account:

Planning Services Centre

Hours:
Monday - Friday* 
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time Zone)
*closed on statutory holidays

Live chat:
calgary.ca/livechat

Call:
403-268-5311

Visit:
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. ​