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Applying for the Development Permit exemption
If you’re thinking about developing a secondary suite, or legalizing an existing suite, there is no better time than now. City Council approved an 18 month long Development Permit exemption from September 1, 2015 to March 3, 2017. If your property is eligible, you can save an estimated $2,200 in costs and hours of paperwork by skipping the Development Permit process altogether. You need to find Suites that could be made legal as listed above.
Is your property a candidate for the permit exemption?
|Property eligibility requirements:
Check your property’s zoning by contacting us or visit suites page
See our FAQs for permitted vs discretionary uses
See our chart below for dimensions based on your property’s Land Use District
Don’t qualify for the permit exemption?
Good news, The City is currently waiving the Development Permit fee for secondary suites, and if your property is not zoned to allow a suite, the fee for a Land Use Redesignation application. You’ll still have to apply but at least you won’t need your wallet.
Why a Development Permit exemption?
Legal and safe secondary suites have been inspected to meet Alberta’s building code and provide people a safe place to live. The exemption program makes it faster and easier for those interested in developing a suite or making an existing suite legal by eliminating the Development Permit process where eligible.
What steps do I need to take?
- First you need to find Suites that could be made legal as listed above.
- You can verify if your property is zoned for secondary suites by entering your address oncalgary.ca/secondarysuite zoning tool, or you can contact our Planning Service Call Centre for assistance.
- Ensure you meet the minimum size requirements for your parcel’s Land Use District.
- Your property must provide an onsite parking stall and a large enough private amenity space outside for a resident (minimum 7.5m², with no dimension less than 1.5m)Minimum parcel dimensions:
Land Use District Minimum Parcel Width Minimum Required Parcel Depth Minimum Required Parcel Area R-1s 11m 30m 330m² R-C1s 15m 30m 400m² R-C2, R-2 9m None None R-C1Ls 24m 30m 1100m²
- Complete the application form (below), book an appointment(please select Development Permit) or visit the Planning Services Counter. The details of your application will be reviewed by our planning staff to ensure your property is eligible for the exemption.
- Development Permit Exempt Secondary Suite application form
Here’s what you’ll need to bring or have as part of your application:
- Site Plan (Existing Real Property Report)
- Floor Plan
- Side Elevation
- Cross Section
- Should your application be eligible for the Development Permit exemption, you can apply for a Building Permit to begin construction or renovations. You or your qualified licensed contractor can begin applying for Trade Permits. The time required to complete your secondary suite depends on your personal plans, but all construction must meet all safety code requirements for occupancy to be approved.
- You or your qualified licensed contractor contacts 311 to book a City inspection to ensure all Alberta Safety Code and City bylaw requirements have been met.
What permits do you need?
If your property is determined to be eligible for the Development Permit exemption, your project will require a:
- Building Permit
- Applicable Trade Permit(s) – e.g. heating, electrical, plumbing, gas.
For Completed details visit //www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Permits/Projects/Applying-for-the-Development-Permit-exemption.aspx
Secondary Suites Calgary : The Rules
In Calgary A secondary suite, also referred to as a basement suite, a mother-in-law suite or a granny suite, is a self-contained living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen located within or on the same property as a single family home.
Before developing a secondary suite, you will first need to find out if secondary suites are allowed in your area; if your property is large enough; and if you can renovate to meet the necessary building code standards.
Use the Secondary Suite Permitting Assistant to determine your address zoning and the necessary permitting process for your property.
Bringing an existing suite up to code
The City has always required homeowners to have legal secondary suites. A secondary suite is legal when it complies with all necessary Land Use Bylaw rules as well as building and safety requirements.
The City’s Development & Building Approvals investigates illegal suites on a complaint-only basis. Legalizing an existing illegal secondary suite will vary depending on your specific circumstance. Some of the factors that you should consider include:
do you have the correct land use designation under the Land Use Bylaw 1P2007?
- does the suite conform to the current building code?
- when was the suite constructed?
- is it located in a single detached dwelling?
If you need further information, contact Development & Building Approvals at 403-268-5311.
Secondary Suite application requirements
What is a Secondary Suite Calgary?
A secondary suite (also known as a basement suite, mother-in-law suite or granny suite) is a self-contained accessory living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen developed within or on the same property as a single family home.
What’s the difference between a duplex and a secondary suite?
The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 defines a duplex as a building that contains two dwelling units, one located above the other, with each having a separate entrance.
Secondary suites differ from a duplex in that they are limited
in size to a maximum of 70 square metres (m2) in most cases.
Secondary suites offer greater flexibility in form and placement
on a property while a common entrance is permitted, provided
it leads directly to the exterior and is separated from adjacent
The addition of a secondary suite to a duplex or semi-detached form of development is not allowed.
I plan to develop a secondary suite in my home. What do I need to consider?
- Is the secondary suite an allowed use in your land use district?
- Does your property meet the minimum Land Use Bylaw
- requirements for a secondary suite in your district?
- Are you aware of the building code requirements?
Secondary suites are only possible in certain land use
districts and are only allowed on a parcel that contains a
single family home.
Your land use district will determine the steps you need to
take when applying for a secondary suite. A Building Permit
is mandatory in all scenarios.
Summary of common requirements
- The minimum ceiling height for living spaces in a secondary suite is 1.95 m.
- Each bedroom in a secondary suite must have at least one window for emergency escape in the event of a fire (window must be located at least 1.2 m from a property line).
- Must provide smoke separation between a secondary suite and the main dwelling unit. This is required on the ceiling of the suite, around common areas and around common exits by the use of ½-inch drywall*.
- Homes containing a secondary suite must have interconnected smoke alarms installed to cover both dwellings.
- Gas-fired furnaces and water heaters need to be enclosed in a room with ½-inch dry wall* on the ceiling and both sides of all room walls. Drywall must be tightly fitted around the ductwork.
- Secondary suites must be served by an independent heating and ventilation system.
- Bylaw 55M-89(15) requires suites have an independent electrical service panel or convenient access to a shared electrical service panel. This means the electrical panel must be located in a common area or have separate panels provided for the suite and main dwelling unit. Applies to basement suites only. Other forms are subject to higher building code requirements for secondary suites Calgary
Secondary suites – A guide to developing a secondary suite