Building permits

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A building permit is designed to address life and safety issues of a structure. 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.

Codes and standards available online
Current electronic editions of the following codes are available free of charge. Printed versions are available at a reduced price.

  • National Building Code of Canada
  • National Fire Code of Canada
  • National Plumbing Code of Canada
  • National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings
  • Alberta Building Code
  • Alberta Fire Code
  • Go to Virtual Store - Click "Browse Products"


Getting the required building permits and inspections benefits property owners. If you list your property for sale, but work has been done which does not meet code requirements, potential buyers may be deterred, or you may be required to make costly repairs. Or, if someone is injured on your property (ie: a deck without a proper guardrail), you will likely have obstacles with your insurance provider if it is determined that the injury was due to work completed without City permits.

Having your plans reviewed, and work inspected by Safety Codes Officers will ensure that minimum standards of safety are met. This will help protect you, other people, and the value of your property.



A building permit (BP) allows construction of a building or other structure to proceed on condition of compliance with the Alberta Building Code which addresses building and fire safety. BPs are issued by the City's Safety Codes Officers.

A development permit (DP) allows a specific type of development on a specific parcel of land in the City to proceed according to the Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw. DPs are issued by the City's Planning staff.


 

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).

  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, ie: an office becomes a health facility, or a retail store becomes a restaurant.

The registered property owner is responsible for completed or partially completed work on their building. For information on building inspections and enforcement, visit Inspections.



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.

  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 Home 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.

  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.

  Retaining walls which are 0.6 meters (2 feet) in height or less, provided they do not form part of a building foundation.

  Driveways and parking pads. However, these require a driveway permit and, depending on the situation, may require a development permit. Visit Driveways.

  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.

 


Follow the applicable checklist
for your specific building permit application.

  Checklists and forms

Each form must be printed, completed and submitted in person with the plans and other requirements to:

Planning & Development Services
2nd Floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE

There is a fee associated with a BP application, payable when you submit your application. The amount of the fee depends on the type of project. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards).

  View fee schedule

After you have submitted your application, the City will contact you for missing information or further clarification, if necessary. However, this will delay your application, so it's important that your information is accurate and thorough.

 

Not sure which forms you need, or have other questions?

 We are here to help! Call 403.529.8374.



A Safety Codes Officer will review your building permit application to ensure it is complete. If the application is incomplete, you will be contacted. The review cannot continue until all required paperwork has been submitted. Once your application is deemed to be complete, a comprehensive review will be completed to ensure compliance with safety codes.

The City will contact you to pick up your permit once it is released, or to inform you of required amendments to your building plans.

 

How long will it take?

Building permit application review times, provided your information is complete when you apply:

  For minor renovation projects: about 4-5 business days

  For major construction projects: about 7-8 business days 



After a building permit is approved by The City, you must finish work on the project within 12 months*. You may also request an extension within that time. Otherwise, the permit will expire.

If you are not able to finish construction within 12 months, you may extend your permit for an additional 12 months. You must submit a written request for an extension (which is subject to approval) to Planning & Development Services prior to the expiration date.

There is a fee associated with a permit extension request, payable when you submit your request. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards).

 

*NOTE: Some building permits, such as hot tubs, expire in 90 days. If you have questions, phone 403.529.8374.



Depending on your planned project, other permits may be required besides a building permit. For more information about specific projects, visit the Home improvement hub, or phone Planning & Development Services at 403.529.8374.

 

 


 

 

Development permits: needed to ensure that a development does not infringe on the rights of neighbours or other affected people, and that it complies with the Land Use Bylaw. Required for buildings and most other structures.

Electrical permits: needed for installing or modifying electrical systems, including moving lights or plugs.

Plumbing permits: needed for installing or modifying plumbing systems, including new bathroom fixtures.

Gas permits: needed for installing or modifying a gas furnace, gas fireplace, gas range or any other gas related work.

Mechanical permits: needed for installing or modifying heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Demolition permits: needed for demolishing all or part of a building, or relocating a building.

Homeowner's trade permit: needed for authorization of a homeowner to perform a limited scope of work on their own home.

Driveway permits: needed for installing or modifying driveways or parking pads.

Fire pit permits: needed for installing or modifying backyard fire pits or outdoor fireplaces.