Building Permits

A Building Permit covers how the structure is built.

It allows the construction or demolition of structures contingent on meeting the requirements of the Alberta Building Code. It gives authorization to erect, demolish, relocate, alter or repair a structure, or change the use or occupancy of a space within Medicine Hat. A Building Permit application is reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code by a Safety Codes Officer to ensure that our built environment is safe.

Building Permit Application

A building permit is required for:
  • Residential and commercial construction, including new building construction 10 square meters (107 square feet) or more in area.
  • Demolition, repair, relocation, alterations (changes) or additions to an existing building or structure.
  • Construction of a foundation to support a building or structure, regardless of size.
  • Basement development in existing buildings or addition of a secondary suite in a dwelling.
  • Construction of, or changes to, structures such as garages, decks, mobile homes, or swimming pools (in ground or above ground).
  • Addition of a seacan which is 10 square meters (107 sq.ft.) or more in area to any property.
  • Solar panels attached to any building (residential, accessory, commercial).
  • Hot tubs and ponds greater than 0.6 meters (2 feet) deep.
  • Retaining walls over 0.6 meters (2 feet) in height.
  • Decks over 0.6 meters (2 feet) above grade, and roof enclosures over existing or new decks or carports.
  • An event tent, or group of tents, collectively 60 square meters (646 square feet) or more in area, or closer than 3 meters (10 feet) to any structure, or which contain commercial cooking equipment.
  • Freestanding signs over 6 meters (20 feet) in height.
  • Change of occupancy or use of an existing building. Generally applies to non-residential buildings; for example, an office becomes a health facility, or a retail store becomes a restaurant.
A building permit is not required for:
  • Fences, planters and sidewalks. Depending on the situation, a fence may require a Development Permit. Visit fences and retaining walls.
  • Retaining walls which are 0.6 meters (2 feet) in height or less, provided they do not form part of a building foundation.
  • Cosmetic changes such as painting, decorating, patching drywall and other similar minor repairs of interior or exterior finishes (if such work will not create a safety hazard during the project).
  • Replacement of interior cabinetry, provided that regulated clearances are maintained from stoves. For more info, visit renovations and finishing basements.
  • Floor finishing (carpet, vinyl, tile, hardwood), as long as the structural elements of the floor are not altered.
  • Replacement of roofing on a one to four unit dwelling, as long as no structural changes are made to the building.
  • Replacement of siding on a one to four unit dwelling, as long as the replacement is with similar construction, and no structural changes are made to the building.
  • Uncovered decks which are 0.6 meters (2 feet) or less above grade. For more into, visit decks, patios and balconies.
  • Satellite dish installation. However, if the signal receiving surface area is 1.0 meters square or greater, a Development Permit is required.
  • Accessory buildings less than 10 square meters (107 square feet) in area, if they do not create a safety hazard. However, a development permit may be needed. Visit detached garages and sheds.
  • Swimming pools or landscaping ponds which 0.6 meters (2 feet) or less in depth. Depending on the situation, other permits may be required. Visit swimming pools or landscaping and ponds.
  • Replacing doors and windows in existing openings in a dwelling, as long as the outside dimension of the window or door does not change and the openable area of the window is not decreasing.
  • Driveways and parking pads. However, these require a driveway permit and, depending on the situation, may require a Development Permit. Visit driveways and sidewalks.
  • Exterior fireplaces and firepits. However, these require a fire pit permit. Visit backyard firepits.
  • Tent structures located on a residential property for residential purposes, or an event tent or group of tents, that are collectively less than 60 square meters (646 square feet) in area, provided the tent structures are more than 3 meters (10 feet) from any other structure, and they do not contain commercial cooking equipment. Visit special event and festival permits.

Approval process

Building permits are typically approved in less than 6 business days, provided that an approved Development Permit (if required) has been released.