What to Do if You Renovated Your Calgary Home Before Obtaining Permits?

by | Last updated Jun 4, 2019 | Published on Oct 30, 2018 | Renovations

Renovating your home can feel like just a step beyond Spring cleaning, so obtaining building permits often doesn’t even come to mind until after the work is done. However, the city of Calgary’s requirements for housing and construction are incredibly specific, and you may have inadvertently missed something that requires one or more permits.

If the city finds out you’re renovating without building permits before your project is finished, they will send a Cease Work order, and anything that isn’t visibly up to code will necessitate removal, and any concealed wiring or plumbing will need to be exposed and checked. They may also issue a citation and/or a fine. Yikes.

But it’s already done, so is it even worth it to get the building permits? What the government doesn’t know won’t hurt them, right?

Actually, no. It’s you that will get hurt, not the government. If you ever want to sell your house or rent out part of your property, or if you want to get your house appraised for a mortgage or collateral, you will need to have permits for everything. Also, permits give you peace of mind that your home is still safe for habitation.

Man Looking at Plans

Your whole property needs to be up to code, and that can be complicated. Did you make sure new windows meet safety standards? Do new doors to the outside open inward? Are mechanical rooms properly smoke-sealed? Is everything you’ve done permitted in your specific land use zone? Are all of your changes architecturally sound? Does it all meet Calgary’s energy regulations?

Even though your construction work is finished, hire a contractor immediately. You will certainly want a contractor to do a walkthrough before an official city inspector, who has the authority to make or break your project. You may want their help drafting the mandatory blueprints, as well.

It is possible to get all prerequisite building permits after the fact, but it’s tricky to navigate the legal processes. The City of Calgary’s website is a helpful resource for figuring out where to start.

Start in the Home Improvement Hub, and select your type of home renovation. You can read up on permits required and construction specifications. The permits you need are the same whether you got them before construction or not. If your property has a condo board, you’ll need a letter of approval for your proposed project.

Contractors like Alliance who are certified through both the City of Calgary and the Better Business Bureau know all the laws and permits you need. They can help you fix any construction mistakes and minimize the time and expenses of obtaining permits after the work is done.

Man Filing out a Survey Form

Another major perk of using a contractor that you may have overlooked is that contractors come with their own insurance. Things can so easily go wrong with renovation projects, especially when they require fixing amateur work. Often, these mishaps turn out to be more expensive than the original construction job. Alliance is insured for up to $5 million.

Overall, the city of Calgary would rather help you than hurt you. They want your projects to succeed; they just need to make sure everything is safe and legal. If you’re worried about meeting those standards, give Alliance a call 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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