Do I Need a Building Permit?

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.

A building permit can be regarded as formal permission from the Town of Okotoks to begin construction, demolition, addition or renovation to a property.  It is an integral part of the process put in place to ensure that the work is done in an acceptable manner with respect to the safety of the public.  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 and the Land Use Bylaw. 

Always 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.  Another important note to remember is 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 ensuring the 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.

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When You Need a Permit

Building permits are required for the construction, demolition and alteration of any building in the Town of 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

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

Next Step:  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.

Why are Permits Required?

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.

Consequences Involved When You Do Not Obtain A Permit

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

We do recognize that there are instances where some people have become aware of the necessity of obtaining a Building Permit after they have begun or even completed their projects.  In these situations Building Permits may be obtained afterwards but the process that is required to receive the stamp of completion by an Inspector can be quite costly and time consuming.  There might be the requirement for completed work to be disassemble in order for the inspection to be performed acceptably.

The lack of Building Permits may 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 as mentioned above.  Making an insurance claim may be a challenge if you have uninspected work done on your home.

Alterations/Additions to Your Home

Applying for a Residential Interior/Exterior Building Permit when you are building a deck, shed, garage, installing a hot tub or finishing your basement comes with many 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. 
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 looking to buy. 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 (403)995-6304.

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