Do I Need a Building Permit?

Considering Changes?
Considering Changes?

Are you considering making some changes to your home?  Thinking about building a deck, garage, shed or finishing your basement?  Are you buying or selling a house?  Be sure you know when you need a building permit.  Learn more by reviewing the information below.

Details about Building Permits
What is a Building Permit and How Does the Process Work?

A building permit is authorization from the Town to begin construction, demolition, addition or renovation to a property.  It is an integral part of the process to ensure that the work is done in a manner that puts safety of the public first.  The Safety Codes Officer reviews the building plans to make sure that they comply with the Alberta Building Code, Fire Code and Safety Codes Act as well as the Land Use Bylaw. 

The building permit process protects both the owner's interests and those of the community at large. It also helps to ensure that any structural change is safe. Failure to obtain proper building permits can result in costly construction delays, legal action and/or the removal of work already completed.

Keep in mind that it could take up to 10 business days to get a Residential Permit Application approved and a possible 4 to 6 weeks for a Commercial Permit Application to be processed.  Note that building permits do expire.  Active work must be started within 90 days from the date of issue and if work is suspended or abandoned for 120 days, a new permit must be obtained.  Residential permits are valid for 365 days at which time the work must be completed or an application for an extension must be submitted.

While a building permit primarily deals with safety of buildings, a development permit deals with the impact that the construction/building has on surrounding properties.  Section 1.2.1 of the Land Use Bylaw outlines the types of development allowed in each land use district and the rules and the regulations governing those uses.  For more information please contact Planning Services at 403-995-2760 or submit an online inquiry by clicking the button below.


When You Need a Permit and What are the Benefits?

Building permits are required for the construction, demolition and alteration of any building in Okotoks. Some of the projects requiring a permit include:

  • Building a house or addition
  • Building a garage, shed, gazebo, accessory building etc.
  • Renovating/Altering your home
  • Building a deck
  • Installing a pool, hot tub or pond
  • Installing a wood stove 
  • Installing/Replacing a furnace or air conditioner

Applying for a building permit prior to the work you are considering has benefits:

  • Protects you and your family’s personal safety by ensuring that it meets safety standards.
  • Helps ensure you are covered by insurance. If a fire, or other damage to your property happens in an un-permitted area that does not meet safety code, it is possible it will not be covered by insurance. 

To confirm whether or not your project requires building permits, contact Safety Codes at: 403-995-6304.

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Development & Building Permits

When a Permit is Not Required

Building permits are not required for minor repairs and replacements that do not affect the structural integrity of a building. Some of the projects that do not require a permit include:

  • Re-insulating or adding insulation
  • Window or door replacement providing the opening is not enlarged
  • Repair or replacement of plumbing fixtures
  • Re-roofing, except where structural work is involved
  • Minor exterior repairs

To confirm whether or not a project requires building permits, contact Safety Codes, 403-995-6304.

Consequences Involved When You Do Not Obtain A Permit

The building permit and inspection process ensure that construction, demolition, addition or renovation to a property is done in a safe manner.  Therefore, in order to maintain the safety of the public, an enforcement action or stop work order may be issued by the Town when an approved permit has not been obtained before work has begun.  The Town reserves the right to levy fines at their discretion.

We do recognize that there are instances where people may become aware of the necessity of needing a building permit after they have begun or even completed their project.  In these situations, building permits may be obtained afterward, but the required process to receive the stamp of completion by an inspector can be quite costly and time consuming.  There may even be a need for completed work to be disassembled for the inspection to be performed properly.

The lack of building permits may also cause issues when you prepare to sell your home.  The realtor is likely to ask for permits for finished basements, hot tubs, sheds, etc.  Or, at a minimum, the realtor will make the buyer sign a waiver. If you need to get the permits in order to sell your house, there may be extra costs.  Also note that making an insurance claim may be a challenge if you have un-inspected work done in/on your home.

Why Do I Need to Book an Inspection?

Please click button below to learn more.

PERMIT Inspections 

Selling a Home

When you prepare to sell your home, the realtor is likely to ask for permits for finished basements, hot tubs, sheds etc. Or, at a minimum, the realtor will make the buyer sign a waiver. If you need to get the permits in order to sell your house, there may be extra costs if you need to remove drywall so inspectors can see the wiring, plumbing, etc.

Buying a Home

Buyer beware! Make sure you ask for permits on the home you are considering. If you purchase it and then need to get permits, you may end up paying more and be responsible for deficiencies that need to be corrected after the inspection. 

Get your building permit to ensure your safety and avoid added costs later on.  Submit any inquiries by clicking on the button below or call Safety Codes at: 403-995-6304.

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