Building and Construction
When do I need a building permit?
A Building Permit is needed for the construction of a building, the renovation or addition to a building, and for any change in the type of occupancy of the building.
A Permit is not required for:
- Maintenance work on roofs or upgrading roofs. However, because of the fire risk in Canmore, homes in the Town requires roofs be constructed of non combustible or fire retardant materials with a minimum Class B fire rating.
- Painting, decorating, re-roofing or re-siding IF matters affecting health and safety are not at risk AND there is no structural change to the building
- Construction that does not exceed five thousand dollars ($5000) in total prevailing market value IF matters of health and safety are not at risk AND it is not of a structural nature in the opinion of the Safety Codes Officer
- Construction of an accessory building or structure less than 10m2 (~107 ft2) in area AND located on a temporary foundation AND less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in total prevailing market value
- The replacement or alteration of ducting serving a space heating appliance IF it is located in a single family residential dwelling AND there is no design change required to the heating and ventilation system.
How much does a building permit cost?
What permits will I need to build a house?
You will need a Building Permit, and possibly a Development Permit. Road use permits and excavation permits may also be needed from the Engineering Department. It is likely that you will need electrical, plumbing and gas permits from a certified body.
Do I need a permit for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) work?
The Town of Canmore doesn't issue HVAC or Mechanical permits, but any Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning work will require the appropriate permits where that work is covered by the Alberta Building Code, Canadian Electrical Code, Alberta Gas Code, or Alberta Plumbing Code. For example, furnace and heating appliance installation, and all wood burning fireplaces and stoves are regulated by the Alberta Building Code, and do require a building permit.
What other permits might I need?
If the project you are proposing to undertake involves electrical, gas or plumbing work, you will need to obtain the relevant permits from an accredited agency. See Building Inspections & Occupancy for a list of accredited agencies. For additional information on electrical, gas and plumbing permits please visit the Alberta Affairs website.
What is the building application timeline?
The building permit application takes time and should be factored into your planned schedule for construction. In general, minor building permit applications take between 15 and 20 working days to process. Larger or more complex permit applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. It is very important to note that the above schedules apply only to complete permit applications where no development permit is required.
Upon the applicant satisfying the Town of Canmore that all engineering and other requirements specified under the Land Use Bylaw have been complied with, the Town will release the permit to the applicant. Permits that are not claimed within 30 days of the approval date will be cancelled. Plans will be returned by mail and 25% of the fee will be retained.
- If a permit application is incomplete, the applicant will be contacted by the Town of Canmore and informed of the deficiencies. The application cannot be processed until all required information is submitted. It is better to wait until you have assembled all of the required information prior to submitting your application to the Town of Canmore.
Does the Town regulate the colour of the house, type of roofing, or any other architectural controls?
There are no colour or architectural controls for single family and duplexes, but there are for larger developments. Height, location, setbacks and roof pitch of a house are regulated. However, because of the fire risk in Canmore, homes in the Town require roofs be constructed of non combustible or fire retardant materials with a minimum Class B fire rating.
How close to the property line can we build?
This depends on your land use district, and on any other setbacks which need to be taken into account for your property. First, find out how your property is zoned by looking at the Land Use Bylaw and searching for "Land Use District Maps." Then search for your zoning in either Residential Land Use Districts, Commercial Land Use Districts, Industrial Land Use Districts, or Direct Control Districts to read more about the required setback for your type of property.
What are the Town’s green building requirements?
Building and Development permits for new construction are required to meet the Green Building Regulations. You can see the target your project is required to meet in Land Use Bylaw of the Land Use Bylaw.
What are the responsibilities of the permit holder?
Once the review of an application is approved the following responsibilities apply. These are excepted from the Town of Canmore's Building Permit Bylaw.
SECTION 11 RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PERMIT HOLDER
On the issuance of a Permit, the permit holder must:
(a) comply with the terms and conditions of the Permit; and
(b) undertake the construction, process or activity in accordance with the Act and
applicable codes and standards; and (c) notify the Town:
(i) if the permit holder does not intend to complete the undertaking, or
(ii) if there is a change in ownership from the owner as stated on the Permit
application, (d) ensure that all plans and specifications required to apply for the Permit are available at the construction site at all reasonable times for inspection by a Safety Codes Officer, and
(e) ensure that the Permit is posted, or otherwise identified, at the construction site.
SECTION 12 TERM OF A PERMIT
In the absence of a different term set under Section 10, a permit expires if the undertaking to which it applies
(a) is not commenced within 90 days from the date of issue of the permit, or
(b) is suspended or abandoned for a period of 120 days, or
(c) is in respect of a seasonal use residence and the undertaking is suspended or abandoned for a period of 240 days after the undertaking is started. Despite subsection (1), when the term of a Permit has not expired, the Town may, in writing, and on the request of the Permit holder, extend the permit for an additional fixed period of time that the Town considers appropriate.
SECTION 14. DEVIATION FROM PERMIT CONDITIONS
No person shall deviate or authorize a deviation from a Permit or terms or conditions of a Permit without first obtaining the written permission of the Town. SECTION 15 PERMIT TRANSFER, TERMINATION
If a holder of a Permit relinquishes the holder’s interest or participation in the undertaking governed by the Permit before the undertaking is completed, the Permit or any label or identification number issued as part of a Permit:
(a) is terminated, and
(b) applies only to the part of the undertaking completed before the termination unless the Town authorizes the Permit or label or identification number to be transferred. A Permit is not transferable to any other person unless the transfer is authorized in writing by the Town.
What's a setback?
The distance which a building or structure is set back from a street or road, river or stream, railway line, utility right-of-way, or any other place which needs protection.
Do I need a permit to build a fence?
No permits are required for fences, but they must meet certain height regulations. In both residential and commercial districts, the maximum height of a fence is 1.2m (4') in the front yard, 1.8m (6') in the side and rear yards, and 2.5m (8'2") at the highest point of a gateway. On corner lots, where the height of a fence may affect visibility, the maximum height allowed is 1m (40") within the corner visibility triangle. There is a
full public guide on fences
Do I need a permit to build a deck?
Do I need a permit to build an accessory building?
A Building Permit is required for a garage or shed that is more than 10m2 (~107 ft2) in area, or is worth more than $5,000 in cost of work. A Building Permit may also be required if, in the opinion of the Safety Codes Officer, matters of health and safety are involved. A full public guide on accessory buildings is available
If I don’t need a permit for my shed, can I build it wherever I want?
No. An accessory building can be built in any yard except the front yard of a residential property and must maintain the required setbacks. If an accessory building is attached to the house it is subject to the same setback regulations as the principal building.
What is a development permit and when would I need one?
Do I need a permit for a fire pit?
Fire pits don’t require a permit, but are controlled by the Town of Canmore Fire Bylaw. Click
for more information. We also have tips for
Fire Pit Safety.
Do I need a permit for a hot tub?
Do I need a permit to finish my basement?
Do I need a permit for installing a wood stove or fireplace?
Do I need a permit if I'm putting up a large tent for an event?
Possibly. Check out our Tents & Temporary Structure Permits for Events
for more information.
I have my permit - now what?
Now that you have your Building Permit, all you need to do before starting construction is:
- Post the blue building permit card conspicuously on the site.
- The signed and stamped drawings that were returned to you with the building permit card are the drawings that should be used for construction.
- Only the work identified on those drawings is covered under the building permit.
- Keep track of the inspections required as part of your building permit and to abide by the conditions of your permit.
- Please ensure that you and your contractors maintain a safe and tidy construction site. Sample Building Permit
- If you do require access to a portion of the road right of way you must first obtain a road right of way usage permit from the Town of Canmore.
- If you require access over a park or municipal reserve parcel as part of construction you must first obtain permission to cross a public reserve.
- If you need to work on a Sunday or a statutory holiday, you must first obtain permission to work from the Town of Canmore. Submit this form
Request for Permission to Work Sundays and Holidays
- If you wish to make an amendment to your building permit, please submit the proposed revisions and supporting information to Planning and Development at the Civic Centre. Please note that additional fees are due if the amendment is submitted after the building permit has been granted. Until such time as the amendment is approved, no work other than that detailed in your existing permit and drawings is permitted.
What inspections are needed?
How can I get occupancy?
Once a building or unit has passed the final inspection by the Safety Codes Officer the occupancy procedure can be initiated.
See Building Inspections & Occupancy
When is a building permit closed?
Once the final inspection has been passed and unconditional occupancy granted, the building permit file will be closed by the Town. As part of closing the file, a Permit Services Report (PSR) will be issued to the building permit holder.
PSRs are issued for all files that are closed. Please note that in some cases a PSR will be issued where conditions of a building permit are not complete or the work does not comply. This is done when a building permit expires and there has been no renewal applied for by the applicant.
What is a Sustainability Screening Report?
An evaluation of the net impact/benefit your project will have on the community. It is made up of a narrative explaining the project and a matrix that calculates the impact/offset of the development. It is required for projects over 500m2 or an application for an amendment to a statutory plan.
Business and Signage
I want to start a home-business, what permits do I need?
What do I need to start a B&B?
What is a home occupation?
Home occupations are small-scale businesses that operate out of a home in a residential neighbourhood. For more information on home occupations, visit: Home Occupation Permit.
What permits might I need for a commercial business?
I want to put up a new sign, what permits do I need?
I would like to advertise my business with a flashing open sign, four back-lit hanging signs, six permanent banners, three A-boards, a moving lights display and one of those waving inflatable air men. What permits would I need for this?
My property is for sale and I need a Letter/Stamp of Compliance. What is a Stamp of Compliance and how do I obtain one? What happens if the development is not in compliance?
A Stamp of Compliance is confirmation that the Real Property Report you submit is compliant with the land use regulations of your district. If you are not compliant, we will not issue the stamp and we can require you to make your property compliant - either through application for the appropriate Development/Building Permits, or demolition of non-compliant parts. The application form is available
. Note that the Real Property Report must be no more than 2 years old, or can be 2-5 years old if accompanied by a statutory declaration affirming that nothing has changed.
What is a Real Property Report?
A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. It takes a form a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a statement detailing the surveyor's opinions or concerns. You can contact a surveyor to obtain one.
Can I get a copy of the plans for my house?
How do I know what land use zone my property is in?
Find out how your property is zoned by looking at the Land Use Bylaw
and searching for "Land Use District Maps." Then search for your zoning in either Residential Land Use Districts, Commercial Land Use Districts, Industrial Land Use Districts, or Direct Control Districts to read more about your type of property.
Where can I find a copy of the Land Use Bylaw?
Where can I find a copy of the Municipal Development Plan?
Where do I apply for a permit or submit an application?
Secondary Suite Information
What Land Use Districts allow for suites in Canmore?
Suites, or accessory dwelling units, are allowed or considered in many districts of Canmore. A complete list and description of Land Use Districts can be found in the Land Use Bylaw. For more information and a map on where suites are allowed, visit Accessory Dwelling Units.
What is the process for building a suite?
If an accessory dwelling unit is allowed in your Land Use District you are invited to submit an application. In some cases suites are a discretionary versus a permitted use. In these cases you will need to apply for a Development Permit and a Building Permit if constructing a new suite or legalizing an existing suite. Be sure to determine which district your lot is located in and review the associated regulations prior to submitting your application. You can find secondary suites standards and tips for building suites on the Safety Codes website.
For more information on secondary suites, visit Accessory Dwelling Units
Tourist Home Information for Property Owners
What is a tourist home?
For more information on tourist homes visit our webage dedicated to Vacation Rentals.
If you have any questions, the Planning and Development department staff are happy to meet with you and discussion your application. Come down to the Civic Centre Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., or phone 403.678.1543.