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What’s the Difference between a Building Permit and a Development Permit in Calgary?

by | Oct 30, 2018 | Basement

Engineer holding Development PlanYou’ve been looking into renovating or adding on to the buildings on your property, and you’re all tied up in the legal requirements for the job. It can be confusing.

The quick answer to the question can be found by asking yourself another question: Are you building something new, or changing something that’s already there?

If you are building a completely new structure, you need a development permit before you get the building permit. If you’re renovating and/or changing the purpose of an existing structure, you only need a building permit.

Books and Laptop Placed on Table

The city’s zoning laws dictate what kind of building and development are allowed to be built in particular places. Adapting the Alberta building code specifically to meet the needs of Calgary, these laws help raise the quality of life for citizens by making sure living, working, and manufacturing areas are equipped for just that. You wouldn’t want to live or send your children to school next to noisy, polluted factories. Likewise, you wouldn’t want a busy industry situated in the middle of a residential area, bringing all its traffic and parking problems.

For these reasons, cities closely manage what’s being done in each zone.

The first step in building or renovation of any kind, then, is to find out what your zone is. You can either check the Calgary development map input your address into the city of Calgary’s website by clicking on the red words, “property information tool”, and it will tell you all about the rules of your particular zone.

The Development permit differs from the building permit in that the city is checking on making sure the type and purpose of the structure fits into the zoning requirements, whereas the building permit is for making changes to a building that is already approved for the zone.

Angry Face of a Cat

Oh no! Your zone doesn’t allow you to follow through with your plans! Fear not; you can apply for a land use redesignation, which can change the land use district, or zone, in which your property lies. There is no guarantee that your permit will be accepted, but it does happen.

What about the sticky grey area that is adding onto a house? It’s more than interior renovation, but it’s also not building an entirely new structure. The city prefers to err on the side of caution, so in this case, the development permit is required.

You can find .pdf versions of all the paperwork you’ll need on the City of Calgary’s website , but acquiring the permits requires filing in person at the City of Calgary permit office, located in the Calgary municipal building.

Female is working on Development PlanNo matter what you’re building, however, these will not be the only permits you need. Make sure you scour Calgary’s website and talk to experts early and often.

Look at some of our previous blogs to find out more specific information, including permits and inspections, on renovating garages and basements or building secondary suites.

All the permit and inspection business is merely time consuming at best and a complicated quagmire at worst. You can skip all the bureaucracy, however, if you hire Alliance to do it all for you. Call for a free consultation today at (403) 228-2000.

You can check out some of our Calgary Basement Development work here.

Also thinking about a Home Renovation or a Garage Build? Check out our Home Renovation work and our Garages Builds.

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