Homes with Secondary Suites Calgary

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Secondary Suites Calgary : The Rules

In Calgary A secondary suite, also referred to as a basement suite, a mother-in-law suite or a granny suite, is a self-contained living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen located within or on the same property as a single family home.

Before developing a secondary suite, you will first need to find out if secondary suites are allowed in your area; if your property is large enough; and if you can renovate to meet the necessary building code standards.

Use the Secondary Suite Permitting Assistant to determine your address zoning and the necessary permitting process for your property.

Bringing an existing suite up to code

The City has always required homeowners to have legal secondary suites. A secondary suite is legal when it complies with all necessary Land Use Bylaw rules as well as building and safety requirements.

The City’s Development & Building Approvals investigates illegal suites on a complaint-only basis. Legalizing an existing illegal secondary suite will vary depending on your specific circumstance. Some of the factors that you should consider include:
do you have the correct land use designation under the Land Use Bylaw 1P2007?

  • does the suite conform to the current building code?
  • when was the suite constructed?
  • is it located in a single detached dwelling?

If you need further information, contact Development & Building Approvals at 403-268-5311.
Secondary Suite application requirements


More Details

What is a Secondary Suite Calgary?

A secondary suite (also known as a basement suite, mother-in-law suite or granny suite) is a self-contained accessory living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen developed within or on the same property as a single family home.
What’s the difference between a duplex and a secondary suite?
The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 defines a duplex as a building that contains two dwelling units, one located above the other, with each having a separate entrance.

Secondary suites differ from a duplex in that they are limited
in size to a maximum of 70 square metres (m2) in most cases.

Secondary suites offer greater flexibility in form and placement
on a property while a common entrance is permitted, provided
it leads directly to the exterior and is separated from adjacent
floor areas.

The addition of a secondary suite to a duplex or semi-detached form of development is not allowed.
I plan to develop a secondary suite in my home. What do I need to consider?

  • Is the secondary suite an allowed use in your land use district?
  •  Does your property meet the minimum Land Use Bylaw
  • requirements for a secondary suite in your district?
  • Are you aware of the building code requirements?

Secondary suites are only possible in certain land use
districts and are only allowed on a parcel that contains a
single family home.
Your land use district will determine the steps you need to
take when applying for a secondary suite. A Building Permit
is mandatory in all scenarios.

Summary of common requirements

  • The minimum ceiling height for living spaces in a secondary suite is 1.95 m.
  • Each bedroom in a secondary suite must have at least one window for emergency escape in the event of a fire (window must be located at least 1.2 m from a property line).
  •  Must provide smoke separation between a secondary suite and the main dwelling unit. This is required on the ceiling of the suite, around common areas and around common exits by the use of ½-inch drywall*.
  • Homes containing a secondary suite must have interconnected smoke alarms installed to cover both dwellings.
  • Gas-fired furnaces and water heaters need to be enclosed in a room with ½-inch dry wall* on the ceiling and both sides of all room walls. Drywall must be tightly fitted around the ductwork.
  • Secondary suites must be served by an independent heating and ventilation system.
  • Bylaw 55M-89(15) requires suites have an independent electrical service panel or convenient access to a shared electrical service panel. This means the electrical panel must be located in a common area or have separate panels provided for the suite and main dwelling unit.  Applies to basement suites only. Other forms are subject to higher building code requirements for secondary suites Calgary

Secondary suites – A guide to developing a secondary suite

To download an overview of the different types of secondary suites in a printable format, visit the download box below.
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