Detached Garages and Sheds

The information on this page will help guide you through developing a detached garage, shed or other accessory building on your residential property. It is important to first obtain the necessary permits, to avoid incurring extra cost to fix deficiencies.


A garage is a detached building more than 10 m2 in gross floor area that is associated with a home.


A shed is a detached building 10 m2 or less in gross floor area that is associated with a home. Other examples of accessory buildings are gazebos, residential greenhouses or sea cans.

What permits do I need?

A Development Permit is required when:

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

For more information about development permits, visit:

Development Permits

A development permit must be approved before applying for building and trade permits.

A Building Permit is required when:

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

For more information about building permits, visit:

Building Permits

If plans also include a new driveway

Learn about driveway requirements here:


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.

For more information about trade permits, visit:

Trade permits

Do it yourself

As a homeowner, you are able to get homeowner's permits for limited scope of work involving plumbing, electrical, gas and mechanical. To be eligible to apply for 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 or other multi-unit development.)

Depending on the homeowner's permit you are applying for, other restrictions may apply. To learn more, visit: 

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 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


Apply online

New to ePermit?
See user guide

Need assistance?

  • We can help you with our online application. Contact us by email or phone 403-529-8374.
  • Or visit us in person (Mon-Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pm):
    Planning & Development Services
    2nd floor, City Hall
    580 1st Street SE, Medicine Hat
  • Whether you apply online or in person, additional documents such as a site plan will be needed. Other requirements will vary by type of project, such as floor plans, elevation plans, construction details and owner consent. If you have questions about the specific documents needed for your application, we can provide guidance.

Payment Methods

Online or phone:

  • Visa or Mastercard


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


  • Cheque

Fees and charges

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

To request line locates, visit:

Line locates


Building permits are generally required for accessory building projects, so 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

To book an inspection online, use one of the following options. Do not apply with both:

Web form  OR  ePermit

Please review this user guide before booking with ePermit.

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.