Detached Garages and Sheds

Building without permits can be costly and may force you to do more work than planned, to fix deficiencies. The information on this page will help guide you through your project.

Garage

A detached building more than 10 m2 in gross floor area associated with your home.


Shed

A detached building 10 m2 or less in gross floor area that associated with your home. Other examples of accessory buildings are gazebos or pergolas.

What permits do I need?

A Development Permit is required when:

  • Your proposed building is more than 10m2 in area (any garage), or
  • Your proposed building does not meet the Land Use Bylaw rules (height, setbacks, lot coverage, etc.)

Development Permit Application  Development Permit Checklist

A Development Permit must approved before applying for Building and Trade Permits.

Building Permits

Due to safety codes regulations, a Building Permit is required when:

  • Your proposed building is more than 10m2 in area (i.e., any garage), or
  • Your proposed building will involve the construction of a foundation to support it, or
  • Your proposed building is intended for habitation (backyard suite or secondary suite), or
  • You intend to demolish any existing building.

You may need the following:


Trade Permits

Trade permits may be required if the proposed project involves specific considerations:

  • Electrical Permit: for installing or modifying electrical systems, including moving lights or outlets.
  • Gas Permit: for installing, modifying or adding to any gas system.
  • Plumbing Permit: for installing or modifying plumbing systems or any plumbing equipment.
  • Mechanical Permit: for installing or modifying heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Demolition Permit: Required for demolishing any existing building or structure.
  • Driveway Access Permit: Required for driveway construction.

Contractor Zone


Do it yourself

As a homeowner, you are able to get homeowner's permits for limited plumbing, electrical, gas and mechanical work. To apply for any of these homeowner's permits:

  • You must be doing the work yourself
  • You must own and live in the home
  • You must be capable of performing the work in accordance with the Safety Codes Act
  • It must be a single family home (not a condo building, etc.)

Depending on the homeowner's permit you are applying for, other restrictions may apply. 

Homeowner Trade Permits

Rules and Requirements

Accessory building requirements:

  • The maximum size is 85m2 in area.
  • The maximum height allowed is 5.0m.
  • If there are overhead power lines, there must be at least 1.0m vertical separation.
  • All accessory buildings on a site (parcel) must not exceed a total site coverage of 15%. (Site coverage = area of building ÷ area of lot)
  • Accessory buildings must be setback 0.6m from an interior side property line or rear property line, with no roof projection closer than 0.45m, and 3.0m from an exterior side property line.
  • No accessory buildings are allowed in a front yard.

Building near utility lines:

  • See Line Locates below to find out where your utility lines are before you build.
  • No structures are allowed over a gas line.
  • No structures are allowed in a utility right-of-way (UROW).
  • If you have questions regarding UROWs, contact us.

Foundation/slabs of accessory buildings:

  • Garages built of concrete or masonry veneer require foundation walls and footings which are a minimum of 1.2m below grade around the perimeter. Or the design of the foundation must be reviewed by a professional engineer who is licensed in Alberta.
  • The maximum accessory building area, slab-on-grade, is 67.6m2. Larger slab-on-grade buildings must be designed by a professional engineer.
  • All perimeter thickenings must be a minimum of 300 X 400mm, and include three strands of 15mm rebar around the perimeter.
  • The pad must be reinforced with 10mm rebar, placed at maximum 600mm on centre, installed in both directions, properly tied to the perimeter thickenings; or wire mesh tied properly to the perimeter thickenings.
  • Pressure treated skids or floor joists are required wherever wood may contact the ground.

General building information:

  • When building a rear garage or shed, lane elevations should be determined so that the structure can be built to an elevation that will prevent future drainage problems.
  • Exterior walls must be properly finished to ensure protection from the weather.
  • No windows are allowed in an exterior wall which faces a property line with a setback of less than 1.2m.
  • If the roof slope is less than 4:12, a low slope shingle installation is required.
  • Eaves must be a minimum of 0.45m from a property line.
  • If eaves are less than 1.2m from side yard property lines, the eaves must be protected.
  • If you have questions about construction of accessory buildings, contact us.

Sheds and other small accessory buildings:

The following applies to accessory buildings which are 10m2 or less in area, such as small sheds:

  • Typically, neither Development Permits nor Building Permits are required.
  • If on an interior lot, typically no setback is required from property lines nor house.
  • If on an exterior lot, must be setback a minimum of 3.0m from exterior side yard.
  • Must be entirely within your property, including eaves.
  • Must not be located in a front yard.
  • Sheds should be set on a bed of granular fill or compacted sand.

How to Apply

Online

Apply online

In Person

  1. Determine which application(s) you need. You can then download checklists and forms below to complete them, or come in person to Planning & Development Services and we will assist you.
  2. Have drawings ready, if required (ex: Site plan, elevation plan, floor plan, floor joist and roof truss drawings)
  3. Have utility locate slips: These show the location of underground and overhead utilities, such as gas and cable lines. See Line Locates below.
  4. Bring all these required documents (USB drive preferred) and apply in person at City Planning.

Payment Methods

Online or phone:

  • Visa or Mastercard

In-person:

  • Debit
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard)

Mail:

  • Cheque

How long will it take to approve permits?

  • Development Permits: Timelines vary based on application type and the impact to the community.
  • Building Permits: Typically less than 6 business days, provided that an approved Development Permit (if required) has been released.

Line Locates

When planning your project, it is important to know where utilities are located on your property. Locates are free of charge but require at least two days notice.

You must provide utility locate slips with a development application.

Line locates

Inspections

If a Building Permit was required for your project, then you must book a City inspection. At the discretion of the Safety Codes Officer, most projects require rough-in and final inspections, depending on the complexity of the project.

Book Online

Please review this user guide before booking online.

Book by Phone

Phone 403-529-8208 or fax the Inspection Request to 403-502-8036.

Risks when permits are not obtained

By not obtaining permits for work done on your home, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to potential future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim. There could also be consequences if you do not correct the situation, such as:

  • Enforcement action issued by a Safety Codes Officer.
  • A fine for building without a permit.
  • Having to undo work that has been completed.
  • Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
  • Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted, to fix deficiencies.
  • Potential liability to you, the homeowner, in the event of an accident.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you that permits were not required.

What if I am not the property owner?

If you are not the owner of the property, then you must get the owner's consent to apply for any changes.

Owner Consent