Contractor FAQ's

Permit Administration & Queries

Why do I need permits?

All projects must comply with 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 of your clients. 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.

Who gets the permit documentation?

Copies of the permit and approved documents where applicable will be sent to you, the permit applicant. Copies of inspection reports will be sent to yourself as the contractor as well as the homeowner. Once completed, the Permit Services Report will be sent to yourself as the contractor and the homeowner. We understand that sending the homeowner copies of the inspection reports can at times create some frustration. Under the Safety Codes Act, the owner is ultimately responsible. If items remain uncorrected, the owner is responsible. In order to promote education and engagement while understanding the owner is responsible under the Act, we send copies of inspection reports to contractors and owners.

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 there is a certified contractor involved, usually you would obtain the permits for the work you have been hired to complete.

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 their cell by text or through email. We strive to return messages or inquiries within the same day or 1 business day.

Why should I fix any deficiencies?

Permits provide a level of security knowing that your installation conforms to the safety standards adopted under the Safety Codes Act. It is highly recommended that the deficiencies are resolved. A non-compliant permit can affect the property owner in the following manner:

  • Issues respecting the sale of your property;
  • liability and property risks;
  • possible negligence lawsuit/litigation;
  • insurance claim issues;
  • and living in an un-safe environment.

While we aim to be understanding & flexible, at times there are items that must be corrected. We appreciate your support & understanding in assisting us to ensure due diligence when it comes to your investment in your permit & project. If you have any questions or concerns with a recorded deficiency, feel free to contact your Safety Codes officer for more information and assistance.

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 and consultation 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. The intent is that projects progress, as projects that carry on over extended periods of time become subject to code changes, process changes and can create other safety concerns. The timeframe allowed for each permit and scope of work varies, consult your permit provider or your permit document for the specific timeframes for your project. 

How can i extend my permit?

Extensions for permits can be granted. A request must be received in writing, noting how long of an extension you require and the reason. In some jurisdictions, an additional fee may apply. Contact our office for the specifics of your project for further details and assistance.

Plans have changed, and I am not longer going ahead with my project. Can i cancel my permit?

Yes your permit can be cancelled. Provide a written request with the reason for cancellation. You may be entitled to a refund, dependent on the work completed in connection with your file. Various circumstances may prevent you from receiving a full refund. Contact our office for the specifics of your project for further details and assistance.

I am no longer finishing this job. What do i do?

This situation arises from time to time and there are some options available. You can transfer the permit to the owner or different contractor. Or, if you have completed any work under your permit, we will inspection the work completed to date and re-issue the permit to reflect the revised scope of work and attach the corresponding site inspection. A new permit for the remainder of the project would need to be obtained.

How do i transfer a permit?

A written request must be received by our office, asking for the permit to be transferred from your name to the name of the party taking over the project. The new permit applicant will need to provide their contact information and signature on the current permit application or a new permit application. The permit will be re-issued and file transferred to the new party overseeing the project.

When do i call for my inspection?

Review your permit document under ‘Permit Conditions’ to find out how many and when the inspections are required for your specific project & when the inspection is due by according to the Authority Having Jurisdiction’s Quality Management Plan. Feel free to contact our office to schedule and coordinate your inspection. Annually, a booklet of the areas we service as well as the specific inspection stages is provided to our contractors. If you have not received one, please contact our office to receive a copy to assist you with the planning of your projects.

What is a QMP & why does it matter?

QMP is a Quality Management Plan. Municipalities that are accredited, or oversee the local management of safety code services, will have a QMP. This document sets the framework under which we operate. It defines what documentation is required for a permit, who can obtain a permit, process for no entry, expiry or cancellation as well timeframe for how long we have to respond to an inspection request or the timeframe for your project. It also stipulates inspection stages for various projects and what stages we are required to see.

The inspection stages required for your project and associated timeframe, will be noted on your issued permit document. Some Municipalities have additional service delivery processes or policy’s, communicate with our team to understand the needs of different Municipalities where you are working. Be involved in the process-if something is not working, you have the ability to voice your perspective and we will work with you and our partnership with the Municipality to address and improve the local delivery of services and management of safety codes. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our team for additional information.

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. Our service delivery agreements stipulate that an inspection is required to be completed within 2-5 business days, unless alternate arrangements have been made. In emergency situations, we will do our utmost to coordinate and accommodate your inspection need. However, in some cases-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 endeavour to accommodate your needs and timeline to keep your projects on track and running smoothly.

Plumbing & Private Sewage Queries

Is a plumbing permit needed to install a water service?

No, a permit isn’t required to install a water service connecting a building to a municipal or private water supply or to install a building sewer or storm sewer outside a building.

What do i need for an annual permit?

An annual permit may be issued to effect minor repairs, alteration or additions on a premises in the electrical, gas or plumbing disciplines. The permit can be issued to a person holding a trade certificate in the appropriate trade under the Apprenticeship & Industry Training Act.

Is a plumbing permit required if the rough-in has been completed?

A plumbing permit is not required to change out fixtures if no design change to the piping system is taking place. If rough in plumbing has previously been completed and permitted, the installation of fixtures will not require another permit.

do i need a permit to replace a septic or holding tank?

Yes. The permit regulation does exempt some situations from requiring a permit such as the replacement of equipment for a private sewage disposal system when being replaced by a similar type if the replacement is being made for the maintenance of the system. The replacement of a holding tank or septic tank is outside the scope of parts or equipment such as filters or pumps, as is a primary component of a private sewage system. With changes in codes pertaining to minimum tank sizes, high level alarms and filters, it would be best to do your due diligence and obtain a permit for this scope of work.

Electrical Queries

Can a journeyman electrician obtain a permit?

A permit can be issued to a master electrician for any electrical system within the scope of their certification. A journeyman electrician cannot obtain an electrical permit.

Do receptacles in attached garages need to be arc fault protected?

Yes.

If a circuit is GFI protected, does it still require arc fault protection?

Yes, unless it is a bathroom circuit.

Building Queries

Do I need a builder license?

As of December 1, 2017, all residential builders require a builder license for the construction of new homes. A builder license is required for new home construction or substantial renovations/reconstruction. If New Home Warranty is required, a builder license will be required.

As of May 1, 2018-any provisional licenses issued by Alberta Municipal Affairs will expire. All builders will require their updated license to obtain permits for new home construction after this time. You are encourage to apply for your license by March 31, 2018 in order to prevent any delays. Contact Alberta Municipal Affairs to apply or receive further instruction. The builder registry can be accessed here: http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/builder-registry

When is a Building 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.

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. Out of interest for public safety, 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 applicable plumbing, gas and electrical permits.

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. For any further clarification or project specifics, please consult one of our building inspectors for a consultation and assistance.

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. Any electrical connections will require an electrical permit, obtained by a certified electrician.

What are the requirements for bedroom windows?

The Building Code article 9.7.1.2 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.

Do I need a permit to finish a basement?

Yes, if you are contracted to finish a basement, a building permit is required. You must submit plans along with your permit application, showing the floor plan with 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 your clients and your due diligence.

what is considered a basement development?

Development of a basement during or after construction requires a building permit as well as other pertinent sub trade permits. A basement is considered “developed” when framing to create rooms/spaces takes place AND rough ins. Framing in rooms/spaces without any wiring or other work taking place, does not require a permit. Partial framing of rooms/spaces, even if not the entire basement would require a permit or be included on the permit for new construction at time of review and issuance.

This ensures life safety items are met such as egress and fire safety requirements. Although framing may take place, if no wiring is being done-the space is not able to be used for sleeping/living quarters therefore not applying any life safety risks.

Framing Only – No permit required
Framing & Rough In’s – Permit required

Gas Queries

what certification do i need to replace a furnace?

A certified journeyman sheet metal worker can obtain a gas permit for the replacement of a furnace in a single family residential dwelling. A journeyman gasfitter can also obtain a permit for this scope of work. This includes the replacement of gas piping downstream of the shut off valve for the furnace, if applicable.

If i am installing a gas appliance or outlet, but someone else is completing the venting, what do i do permit or who is responsible for the applicable venting?

Unless otherwise stated, your permit would include the installation of the appliance or outlet noted on your permit application as well as the required venting. If you are aware that someone else will be completing the venting, note on your permit that the scope of work is for the installation only, not including the venting. A separate permit will be required by the party completing the remainder of work and venting.

Do i need to double wrap or sleeve a pipe penetrating an exterior wall?

Yes, gas piping or tubing needs to be sleeved or double wrapped when it is penetrating an exterior wall. The intent of this clause is to protect the gas line from galvanic action which is created when two dissimilar metals touch. We have to protect the gas line from concrete products such as hardy board or stucco, as well as masonry or concrete products.

The code book does not distinguish a type of exterior wall, rather that piping or tubing passing through an exterior wall, shall be sealed watertight and the portion of piping running through the wall shall be sleeved or double wrapped.

What can you use to wrap a pipe? The definition of a pipe wrap tape is found in the definition portion of the B149.1-15 code book. This is defined as an adhesive tape made of PVC or polyethylene material with minimum thickness of 0.3mm, with an adhesive resistance to water.

DO I need a permit for temporary heat?

Yes, a permit for temporary heat must be obtained by either the homeowner residing in a single family dwelling or a certified gasfitter.

What do i permit for a tank set?

If a permit is issued for a tank set – unless otherwise indicated, that permit is for setting the tanks only.

A separate permit would be required for the connection to any appliance or outlets – if it is not originally stated on the permit. A permit can be issued for the tank set and connection to the system/outlets, however this needs to be noted on the permit application at time of permit issuance.

If a tank set has more than one tank but still has only one connection for the Tank Set – one permit and 1 tank set fee is applied.

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