Renovations and Basements

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.

Residential additions
If you intend to increase the square footage of your home by building an addition onto an exterior wall, visit Additions and Enclosures.
Secondary kitchen

An interior kitchen in your home that is physically separate from the main kitchen, for personal use. It has facilities for storing, preparing, and cooking food.

If you intend to create or renovate a secondary suite (i.e., basement suite), regulations are different. For information, visit Secondary and Backyard Suites.

Condos
If your home is a part of a condominium association, check your condo bylaws or ask the condo board about your renovation plans before you begin.

Home-based businesses

If you intend to do renovations related to a home-based business, there are additional considerations. For information, visit Home Based Businesses.

What permits do I need?

Development permit

A Development Permit is required when:

  • Your proposed renovation involves an increase to the gross floor area (an addition), or
  • Your proposed renovation is to add or modify a secondary suite in the home, or
  • Your proposed renovation is related to a home-based business.

Development Permit Application

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

Building Permits

A Building Permit is always required for any new development or alteration/renovation to existing development, unless the project involves only:

  • Cosmetic changes such as painting, decorating, patching drywall and other similar minor repairs of interior finishes, or
  • Replacement of interior cabinetry (provided that regulated clearances are maintained from stoves), or
  • Floor finishing (carpet, vinyl, tile, hardwood), as long as the structural elements of the floor are not altered, and
  • The construction value of the work is less than $5000.00.

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. Not required for the replacement of existing plumbing fixtures.
  • Mechanical Permit: for installing or modifying heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

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

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: Site plan, elevation plan, floor plan.
    May be required: 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 free utility locates below.
  4. Bring all these required documents (USB drive preferred) and apply in person at City Planning.
  5. Payment by debit, cash, cheque, or credit card.

Payment Methods

Online or phone:

Visa or Mastercard

In-person:

  • Debit
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Visa or Mastercard

Mail:

  • 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 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. To get them, contact:

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

Book Online

Please review this user guide before booking online:

Guide for ePermit Inspections


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