Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need permits?

All projects must comply to the codes and standards governed by the Province of Alberta. Permits are vital, not only because they are required by law, but they give you access to the expertise and experience of trained and qualified Safety Codes Officers to ensure your project is safe and complies with today’s regulations before any costly mistakes are made. Permits and their corresponding safety inspections help to ensure the safety and functionality of your undertaking and the peace of mind knowing your project has the oversight of our qualified professionals. Permits provide a record that you have done your due diligence to comply with the codes. The permitting system also informs the jurisdiction with the responsibility to administer the Safety Codes Act, that a project is taking place.

When do I need a permit?

A variety of local bylaws and provincial regulations govern when you require a permits. Most new construction and renovations, and move on home with the exception of farm buildings, require Building Permits. Any alterations to an existing Plumbing, Gas, Electrical, Private Sewage system or any new installation of the above, require permits. If you are ever unsure, please feel free to contact your Park Enterprises office and we can assist in determining what specifics and permits are required for your upcoming projects.

When is a permit not required?

A permit is not required for the following:

-Construction that does not exceed $5000 in prevailing market value and if there are no concerns affecting health and safety (Ie: a deck with a rise greater than 48″ may be under $5000 value, but does pose a threat to health and safety, therefore does require a building permit)

-Painting, decorating, re-roofing or re-siding if there is no structural changes and if there are no concerns affecting health and safety

Do I need permits, even if I’m working on my own property?

Yes. Although it may be your own land, any work done on your property is still subject to the law and the Safety Codes Act where you are required to obtain the appropriate permits to ensure your safety and success with your undertaking.

What is considered a ‘farm building’?

The Alberta Building Code does not apply to farm buildings and therefore do not require a Building Permit. (You may still require a development permit from your Municipality) A farm building is a building that is used for the operation of a farm such as a barn. These would be structures that are used for the storage of hay, animals or machinery only. If building is to be used for maintenance or a workshop, it is not considered a ‘farm building’ and would require a building permit.  Any farm building, still requires any applicable plumbing, gas and electrical permits.

Does my Building Permit include all the permits needed for my project?

No. All your permits are separate permits , inspections and fees. You will need to apply for each required permit separately.

Who applies for my permits?

A homeowner is eligible to apply for all of their permits with the exception of any work considered commercial, industrial or 3 phase Electrical work where certified contractors are mandatory. If you are a homeowner with a residential project, communicate with any of your hired trades services to clarify who will be applying for the permit. If you have contractor involvement, usually they will apply for the necessary permits however they are able to work under any permits you may pull as the owner. Not all of us posses the knowledge and experience necessary, we advise if you are not fully knowledgeable in any specific field such as electrical or private sewage, to please consult with a certified contractor to ensure your own safety and limit costly and dangerous errors.

I have my permit from my Town or Municipality, is that all I need?

Your Development Permit from your Town or Municipality is required first, so you have taken the right first steps! Your development permit addresses items such as zoning and any applicable restrictions as to what you would like to construct, your construction permits ensure what you have been approved to do is done safely for the protection of you and the public. Once most Development Permits have been approved, they are followed by a two week appeal period and specific conditions, be sure to read your permit to help you determine when you can proceed. With an active and valid Development Permit, you need to obtain your construction permits. Feel free to visit or call your Park Enterprises team to assist you with that process.

Who can I call if I have code questions?

You are always welcome to contact our knowledgeable and friendly staff with any questions you may have. Our inspectors are often on the road inspecting, however they are available on a mobile phone so you can always reach your inspector with any specific questions or concerns you may have. Any general questions can be also directed to Alberta Municipal Affairs, with field inspectors specializing in their field who can also help you with your inquiries.

Can my garage be built on a slab?

Your garage can be built on a concrete slab providing is does not exceed 55 square meters.

What services do I get with my permit?

When  a permit is purchased, you have access to a variety of services. Including but not limited to, code advice from our knowledgeable staff and expert Safety Codes Officers, permit issuance, plans examinations and site inspections. Identification and follow-up of deficiencies and unsafe conditions, maintenance of files and records, remittance of provincial fees and reports including a final status report.

How long are my permits valid?

Work pertaining to your permit must commence within 90 days of permit issuance and cannot be suspended or abandoned for any amount of time exceeding 120 days. Permits should be completed within one year, however if you are continuing to make progress, with a written request; your permit can be extended.

Plans have changed, and I am no longer going ahead with my project. Can I cancel my permit?

Yes your permit can be cancelled provided you have not started the work. You are entitled to a refund, however a administration fee may be charged.

When do I need to call for my inspection?

Some Municipalities require additional inspections. You can check your permit under ‘Permit Conditions’ to find out how many and when the inspections are required for your specific project. Feel free to contact your inspector directly to arrange for your inspection, or phone, fax, or email the Park Enterprises office to notify us when you are ready.

How much notice do I need to give when I am ready for an inspection?

The more notice the better, however our inspectors service each area on a minimum weekly basis. So with 2-5 business days notice you will receive your inspection. In emergency situations, pictures can be accepted with the discretion of the Safety Codes Officer although physical site inspections are preferred. Understanding the sensitive timelines of many construction projects, we never want to stop or delay construction so our inspectors endeavor to accommodate your needs and timeline to keep your projects on track and running smoothly.

Do I need a permit to finish my basement?

Yes, you must obtain a building permit for any basement development. You must submit plans along with your permit application, showing the floor plan and cross section information showing proposed rooms and existing, the use of each room and dimension, details of any structural changes, locations of smoke alarms, location, size and swing of all doors and window sizes and location. This provides you with the expertise of our Safety Codes Officers through a plans review and onsite inspections to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Does the installation of a swimming pool require a Building Permit?

Any installation for a private swimming pool, hot tub and spa with a water depth greater that 600mm or 24″ at any point, requires a Building Permit. Fence and gate requirements will then apply, even if it is an on-ground swimming pool.

I am installing kitchen cabinets in my home. What does the Alberta Building Code require for clearances to the range?

Fire from cooking are a common occurrence. To allow time to extinguish the fire, there are minimum clearances required from combustible materials. These are minimum requirements for standard residential stoves. Any installation of large or commercial type range, check the manufacturers clearances. The minimum clearance directly above the stove is 75mm (approx 30″) to combustibles. This can be reduced to 600mm or approx 24″ when the finish is non combustible. The clearances on the sides of the range to combustibles must be a minimum of 450mm or 18″ above the level of the heating element. The horizontal clearance to combustibles must also be 450mm or 18″. Combustible material could include cabinets, drop valances, appliance garages, breadbox, cabinet dividers etc. Some gas ranges may require increased clearances from the Alberta Building Code minimum. Please consult the appliance manufactures installation instructions. Please contact your local Safety Codes Officer or Safety Services at Alberta Municipal Affairs for further details or clarification.

What are the requirements for my bedroom windows?

The Building Code article establishes the general requirement that bedrooms must have at least one window that is large enough that is large enough that it can be used as an exit in an emergency. This window must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of .35m squared (3.77 ft squared or 543 sq inches), and no dimension less than 380mm (15″). The minimum window area must be achieved without having to remove window sashes or hardware. Also the window can’t require support when in the open position.

Can I install my septic field?

The placement and functioning of a private sewage disposal system depends on a variety of factors including but not limited to property setbacks, size of parcel, soil, dwelling being serviced and location of water source/course. You can apply for your PSDS permit as the homeowner, however we highly recommend consulting a certified contractor to ensure the preliminary evaluations are conducted accurately therefore ensuring a properly designed system to service your dwelling safely and in compliance with the Safety Codes Act.

How do I get my Private Sewage Disposal permit?

Prior to application for you PSDS permit, preliminary investigation must be completed. Part 7 of the Alberta Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice requires a Site Evaluation to be conducted. This determines what kind and size of system is suited for your property as it often varies from lot to lot. When applying for your permit you must submit a completed application , site plan identifying all set back distances, and buildings. (existing and future) You must submit your completed Site Evaluation in accordance with Article 7 or the SOP along with your soil profile, lab reports and design worksheets. For a detailed checklist please see our permit application requirements with our permit applications. Please contact the Park Enterprises team or your Safety Codes Officer with any questions or assistance you may require through this process.

If it costs more than the competition, what are we getting for our money?

Park Enterprises prides itself on personally visiting every site for inspection. Unfortunately in this world time is money and the rising cost of operating fees comes at a price. We do our best to keep our fees low and competitive which our customers can attest to. Our focus is on a job well done and not the bottom dollar. Every permit fee includes the extensive administration and monitoring, any applicable reviews and plans examination, customer consultation and our personal site visits. Often projects require more than one or two trips to ensure compliance and completion. These fees give our customers access to not only experience and knowledge but to the dedication to each and every project. It gives them access to the BEST!

Do permits really matter?

Permits are in fact required by law and the negligence of such is actually punishable under the Criminal Code. Many realtors, mortgage companies and insurance brokers require a record of permits prior to release of funds, final sale or coverage. These are not only a protection during construction, but long after the hammering is done. We tend to put a price on everything during our construction projects, but the price on a family’s safety-maybe your family’s safety is impossible. Permits enable the Municipality to track projects and activity in the area to again protect and inform the rate payers so that when circumstances change or emergencies arise all parties are well informed and have done due diligence. Yes, permits really matter.

Why choose Park?

Park Enterprises does more than issue you a piece of paper or stop by your jobsite. We care about our customers as people, we care about their families and we do everything we can to make this process as easy and seamless as possible. We continue to work with different Municipalities to revise our methods of inspecting to better protect our land and environment. We continue to work with Alberta Municipal Affairs to build and improve our service and commitment. It’s not what Park does that sets us apart; it’s how Park does it. It’s why we do it.

How long does it take to get an inspection?

With our head office being located in the City of Lethbridge, your inspectors are also located in the City of Lethbridge meaning quick and convenient inspections. We like to have 2-5 business days notice for an inspection so our inspectors can maintain scheduled routes, however in the construction industry that is not always possible. In emergency situations we are able to respond that same day. We never want to delay the progress of any projects and will always do our best to respond quickly and efficiently.

Does Park Enterprises have enough staff to cover the demand?

Park Enterprises is well staffed to cover the needs of the County of Lethbridge. With our head office and inspectors based out of Lethbridge, this saves a great deal of travel and processing time and allows inspections, inquiries, and resolutions to be dealt with in a prompt and efficient manner. Being a smaller agency, you will not be rotating through a myriad of different inspectors. You will be able to develop a rapport with your inspectors and know who and what kind of service to expect.

How can we trust they will do what they say?

Park Enterprises has a long history of honesty and hard work with top rated service. We are in good standing with the Safety Code Council of Alberta, have never been involved in any court case or legal proceedings and have developed strong working relationships with all of our contracted Towns and Municipalities. You don’t need to trust what we say; you can trust what we’ve done. A record of flexibility, determination and commitment to safety with a genuine, honest and dependable team.

Is Park Enterprises insured?

Yes Park Enterprises is insured and current with such policies as Errors and Omissions Insurance and WCB. Documents outlining such coverage are available upon request.