Secondary Suite Development Permit Exemption

Calgary Secondary Suite Update

Development Permit Exemption Program

If you’re thinking about developing a secondary suite, or legalizing an existing suite, there is no better time than now. City Council approved an 18 month long Development Permit exemption from September 1, 2015 to March 3, 2017. If your property is eligible, you can save an estimated $2,200 in costs and hours of paperwork by skipping the Development Permit process altogether.





Minimum Parcel Dimensions:

Land Use District Minimum Parcel Width Minimum Required Parcel Depth Minimum Required Parcel Area
R-1s 15m 30m 330m²
R-C1s 11m 30m 400m²
R-C2, R-2 9m None None
R-C1Ls 24m 30m 1100m²



Don’t qualify for the permit exemption?

Good news, The City is currently waiving the Development Permit fee for secondary suites, and if your property is not zoned to allow a suite, the fee for a Land Use Re designation application. You’ll still have to apply but at least you won’t need your wallet.


Suite Sticker ProgramCalgary launches secondary suite registry  and STICKER PROGRAM

September 28, 2015 09:16 AM

The City of Calgary launched a Secondary Suite Registry and sticker program today, in an effort to promote the importance of legal and safe secondary suites in the city. The online, searchable registry tool and registered sticker program helps Calgarians verify if a secondary suite has been inspected by The City and has met the requirements of Alberta’s building codes at the time of its approval.

“Alberta’s building code requirements for secondary suites are important in protecting the public,” says Cliff De Jong, Special Project Coordinator with Planning, Development and Assessment at The City. “The registry program allows Calgarians to verify if a home they are considering meets these requirements.” The online registry and mapping tool allows Calgarians to enter an address, registry sticker number or community to verify a legal and safe secondary suite.

Registered secondary suite owners also receive a registered sticker that can be used to promote their suite to current and future residents. The individually numbered sticker corresponds to the suite’s address, which can be verified online.

“Safe secondary suites provide critical safety features that allow people to escape in the event of an emergency, such as a fire,” says De Jong. “Responsible secondary suite owners on our registry have put human life first, and should be recognized for taking the necessary measures to help prevent further tragedies in our city.”

Earlier this month, The City launched an 18-month Development Permit exemption to make it faster and easier to develop a basement suite where allowed, and rules of the Land Use Bylaw are met. The exemption program aims to reduce barriers, like time and money, from developing a safe basement suite.

To learn more about the secondary suite registry or the Development Permit exemption, please visit or contact 311. To verify a suite is legal click here view the additional details below.


Changes to Alberta Building Code

Changes to the 2014 Alberta building code comes into effect November 1st 2015. The changes for secondary suites are very minor. The big changes require smoke detectors in each bedroom and common areas that are interconnected to each other so when one goes off they all go off. It also now requires solid core doors that have self-closing devices. It is important you hire a contractor that is familiar with these code changes as mistakes always cost more if they are not caught prior to completion. If you get a building permit prior to November 1st, 2015 then you will only have to meet the 2010 Alberta building code.  Email for a copy of a summary of the building code changes for a secondary suite.


To apply for a Building Permit:



Fire inspection checklist-page-001 Fire inspection checklist-page-002

Click to View Inspection Check List on Line

For More Information and Full Details: Please Click

View all Legal Suites Currently listed for sale

Secondary Suites Registry

Legal and safe secondary suites in Calgary appear on The City of Calgary’s registry. These suites have been inspected, and have met the numerous safety requirements under Alberta’s building code at the time the work allowed under the building permit was completed. Only suites that meet these safety requirements appear on the registry, and have been issued a numbered sticker that corresponds to their address. A map of all such suites is available in the link below.

Verify if a secondary suite is registered with The City.


If you’re thinking about living in a secondary suite, verify it’s on our registry in our tool below.

Safety measures that can save your life

The safety requirements under Alberta’s Safety Code are meant to protect people in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Here are just three important safety features to keep in mind, and always check for when considering any place to live:


Each bedroom should have at least one window that can be opened from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. The window should be unobstructed, and it should be accessible and large enough for anyone to fit through. If the window has security bars, they should be operable from the inside without the use of any tools.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be present in each unit within the house, and connected to each other so that activation of one alarm would cause all alarms within both units to sound. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be inspected, tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Each unit within the house should have at least one exit that leads directly outside. Every exit door should be able to swing inward.

Creating a legal and safe basement suite

There is a big advantage to developing or legalizing a basement suite now because you may be able to skip the Development Permit step, saving you both time and money. City Council has approved an 18-month long Development Permit exemption that ends on March 3, 2017.

Secondary Suite Owner FAQs