Calgary Deck Permit: Do You Need It and Where to Get It

When planning a new construction, it’s always important to think about the potential permits and applications you’ll need. In case of building a new deck, chances are, you’re going to need a Calgary deck permit.

If you need help figuring out the application process, knowing which permits you’ll need, and how much you can expect to pay – you’ve come to the right place. We’ll also show you the importance of having a Calgary deck permit and the potential consequences you can face without one. Let’s jump into it.

The Importance of Permits

Having a building permit before you build your deck in Calgary is more than just a legality – it’s a necessity. First off, building permits ensure that the structure has been constructed following local building codes and regulations, which are designed to prioritize safety. If your deck isn’t built up to code, it poses a significant safety hazard to all who use it.

What’s more, having a permit will ensure that the construction project is complying with zoning ordinances, environmental regulations, and local laws. The permitting process also often involves inspections at different stages of construction. These inspections help with quality assurance and making certain that the work is structurally sound and up to standard.

Finally, having a properly permitted deck can have a great impact on the resale value of your home. If and when you choose to sell, an existing deck with the proper permits can boost the total value of your home.

When Do You Need a Calgary Deck Permit

Certain new structures require you to have a Calgary deck permit, and it’s important to know what those are to ensure you’re complying with the law. If your uncovered deck is more than 0.6 meters above grade at any point, you will need a permit when:

  • Building a new deck
  • Replacing, rebuilding, or extending an existing
  • Adding stairs to an existing deck
  • Replacing structural components of a deck

You will also need a deck permit from the city of Calgary if your deck has a pergola or roof and that roof is attached to your house. This is considered an addition and all additions to your home in Alberta will require at least a building permit.

However, if the roof isn’t attached to your home, it’s considered an accessory residential building. According to the Land Use Bylaw, it will require a building permit if it is greater than 10m2 or if it is attached to a house.

The only instance where you don’t need a permit is if your deck is uncovered and less than 0.6m above grade at any point.

Limitations to Know

When you apply for a building or development permit, you will be asked to provide the length and width of the deck in feet. You will also have to provide the height of your fence, not including any gates or rails.

The height of the deck is determined by the distance from the ground to the lowest point of the deck. In Calgary, the maximum height for a single-level structure is 1.54 meters or 4 feet 11 inches. 

You will also encounter placement limitations before starting your deck project. Keep in mind that the deck needs to be a 6-metre distance from the rear property line and 3 metres away from the front property line.

Starting the Calgary Deck Permit Application Process

When you apply for a deck permit in Calgary will depend on when you’re planning to start to build. Keep in mind that, once issued, your building permit will expire in 180 days. 

However, the time it takes to get your permit will depend on many factors, including volumes, application completeness, and your timely replies to any additional information the city of Calgary needs.

That said, to prepare your application details, you will need to know:

  • Who is applying (the homeowner or someone on their behalf)
  • The address of the project
  • Who will be carrying out the work (homeowner or contractor)
  • What permit you’re applying for
  • Project details, including the size

You will also have to prepare a copy of the:

  • Site plan
  • Cross section
  • Plan view

Once you’ve submitted all the forms and necessary documents, the City of Calgary will issue your permit and you can start construction.

The Cost of a Calgary Deck Permit

In addition to the money you’re putting aside to build the deck, you will also need to pay a fee during the building permit application process. The permit fee for a new deck or balcony, as well as changes to an existing deck, is $198. You will also have to pay an additional $7.92 for the safety codes council fee, bringing your total to $205.92.

If you’re doing an online submission, you can pay your permit fees in full at the time of your application using a credit card. However, if you’re submitting in person, you will be able to pay with a credit or debit card, as well as a cheque or cash.

The Consequences of Building Without a Permit

If you decide to build a deck without a permit, you might have some serious consequences. For one, if you ever decide to sell, rent, or renovate your home, you might face incredible obstacles down the line.

The biggest impact, however, might not be financial, but a matter of safety. If the deck isn’t properly distributing weight, it might collapse, twist, slide, and even bring down entire structures. When this happens, it poses a huge danger to the people and items on the deck.

If you’ve already built a deck without having a permit, there is a way out of the situation. As long as the work can pass an inspection, you will have to apply for a retroactive permit and pay added fees. In most instances, you’ll have to do this, in addition to paying for repairs, upgrades, and inspections. 

In extreme cases, you might have to tear down the entire structure. In that case, you will have to pay demolition and disposal fees in addition to everything else. So to be sure, it’s always best to have your city of Calgary deck permit before you begin any kind of construction.
If you need help with your Calgary deck permit or you already have it and want to start building your dream deck – get in touch with YYC Builders today! Our team of builders and designers can help you create the perfect outdoor living space and bring your vision to life!