homeowner Faqs

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 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 Park Enterprises office and we can assist in determining what specifics and permits are required for your upcoming projects.

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

Who applies for my permits?

As a homeowner, you are 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 contractors to clarify who will be applying for the permit. If you have contractor involvement, usually they will apply for the necessary permits. Not all of us possess the knowledge and experience necessary, we advise if you are not fully knowledgeable in the current codes and requirements of any portion of your project, 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 in accordance with the local Land Use Bylaw. Your construction permits ensure what you have been approved to do is done safely for the protection of you and the public. With an active and valid Development Permit, you need to obtain your construction permits. Feel free to visit or call the team at Park Enterprises 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 their cell by text or through email.

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.

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 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 no 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, dependant on the work completed in connection with your file. Various circumstances may prevent you from receiving a full refund.

When do i call for my inspection?

Review your permit documentation under ‘Permit Conditions’ to find out how many and when the inspections are required for your specific project. Feel free to contact our office to schedule and coordinate your inspection. 

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 project on track and running smoothly.

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 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

I am installing kitchen cabinets in my home. What does the Alberta Building Code require for clearance 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.

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.

Building Queries 

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.

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.

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, please consult one of our local building inspectors.

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 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 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.

what are the requirements for my 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.

Plumbing & Private Sewage Queries

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.

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 along with your soil profile, lab reports and design worksheets. Please contact the Park Enterprises team with any questions or assistance you may require through this process.

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.

where can i find a list of certified installers?

http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/CP_PrivateSewageContractorList

This list is updated regularly and will show certified installers in your area.

Electrical Queries

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.

Can i take out my own electrical permit?

Yes, if it is your own home that you are residing in or your own property and the work is single phase-you may obtain the permit as a homeowner. 3 phase work, or any business/commercial buildings require a master electrician to obtain the permit.

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