Garden Sheds, Gazebos, Pergolas & Accessory Buildings

What You Need to Know

If you are planning to build a shed, gazebo, pergola, greenhouse or workshop, you may be required to obtain a building permit. The exterior finishes of accessory development shall match or complement the exterior finishing of the principal building.  Accessory buildings greater than 10m2 (107.6 square feet) require a building permit and must comply with the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. If your accessory structure does not meet the Land Use Bylaw requirements (for height, size, etc.) you must apply for a development permit prior to making an application for a building permit. 

For information on development permits, please contact Planning Services at 403-995-2760 or submit an inquiry online by clicking the button below. 


What is an Accessory Building?

An accessory building is a building or structure that is separate from the principal building on the same site. The use of the building or structure is normally incidental, subordinate, and exclusively devoted to the principal use on the same site.  Except as provided for in the R-1N, R-1, R-1E, R-1AR and R-1ST districts, an accessory building erected on a site in a residential district shall not be used as a dwelling.  Typical accessory structures include antennae, satellite dishes, private tennis courts, private swimming pools, private hot tubs, water features, private garages, studio suites and private greenhouses.

An accessory building that meets the following criteria is not subject to side and rear setback requirements:

  • Does not have a permanent foundation and can be easily moved
  • Is 10m² (107.6ft²) or less in floor area
  • Is 3m (9.8ft) or less in height

Accessory buildings that are larger than 10m² (107.6ft²) and/or higher than 3.0m must conform to the setback requirements under the Land Use Bylaw. 

A building permit is required for an accessory building larger than 10m² and a development permit may be required if the placement involves variances to Land Use Bylaw regulations.

Where Can I Place My Accessory Building?
  • Sheds may be located in the rear or side yard.
  • Refer to the regulations for your Land Use District in the Land Use Bylaw or consult with Planning Services for minimum setbacks from property lines information.
  • There must be a minimum of 1.5m (4.92ft) from a natural gas meter or window and it cannot obstruct access to a gas meter, window, or door.
  • One (1) clear unobstructed access route between the front and rear yard must be maintained.
  • Sheds cannot be attached directly to the house.
  • No portion of the shed can be located on, over or under a utility right-of-way or overland drainage right-of-way.
  • If the accessory building is located within a maintenance access right-of-Way on a lot with a zero lot line, it must be located entirely within 10.7m (35.0ft) of the rear property line.

The maximum cumulative floor area of all accessory buildings under 10m² in floor area combined is 20m² (215ft²). 

The homeowner is responsible to make sure the work being carried out does not contravene the requirements of any restrictive covenants, caveats, or any other restriction that is registered against the property.  A copy of the Certificate of Title, available for a fee from any Alberta registries agent, will list all documents registered against your property.

A Real Property Report will show the location of property lines and all utility rights-of-way.  The Town of Okotoks does not come out and mark your property lines.  You must hire an Alberta land surveyor to perform this service.

When a Development Permit is Not Required?

Not all proposed development requires a development permit. Section 1.2.1 of the Land Use Bylaw outlines developments that do not require a development permit however it is best to confirm with Planning Services whether you need a permit for the development you are considering.

Steps for Building a Garden Shed, Gazebo, Pergola and Accessory Building
Step One: Application

To receive a timely decision on your application, please ensure that your application is clear, legible and accurate. In your application, you need to include the following:

  1. Exterior Accessory Application Form and Credit Card Authorization Form
  2. Fees $104.50 (GST exempt)  – includes the following:
    • Building permit fee - $100.00
    • Safety Codes Council fee - $4.50
  3. A Site Plan in metric showing the dimensions of the structure, height and setbacks from property lines and buildings (i.e. Real Property Report)

An inspection will be required once the framing is completed.

Approved building permits will be emailed out to the applicant.  Please note the telephone numbers to contact you on your permit to schedule inspections.

Step Two: Request an Inspection

Click the button below to learn more about booking your inspection.

REQUEST Inspection