Who doesn’t like having some extra space? Regardless of where you live, adding a basement to your house can provide you with various benefits. Basements can act as the perfect place for storage but also a can also be turned into a cinema, games room, living room, bedroom, office, playroom and so much more!

It doesn’t matter what purpose individuals want their basement to serve; the fact remains that home basement renovations can improve your house for the better. If you are thinking of renovating a basement in your Calgary home, the first thing to consider is the regulations regarding building a basement.

Do you need a permit?

Yes, a permit is required for a basement development project in Calgary. There are three types of licenses that may be necessary depending on the kind of project that is sought. This includes the following:

  • Basement Electrical Permit
  • Basement Building Permit
  • Basement Plumbing Permit

Experts highly advise that professional services should be sought for home basement renovations to ensure the quality of the project. If professional services are used, a general contractor will pull the building permit while the electrician and plumber will pull electricity and plumbing permits respectively.

What is the Calgary basement development permit process?

When homeowners apply to get a permit for their basement development project, they are required to visit the municipality office or submit online. Bring along the site plan with information regarding the window sizes, room designations, square footage, general layout, smoke detector placement and size of doors. While some municipalities will be satisfied with the given information, others may ask individuals to show the site plan of the entire property as well. However, this is generally required when adding new windows or adjusting previous ones. You might also be required to show the proposed locations for the electrical fittings and lightings.

Merely getting a permit is not the end of the municipalities involved in the process. Instead, after obtaining the license, a team from the municipality department will conduct a comprehensive inspection for each permit you apply for. This occurs before the drywall goes up. Also, they might ask for a final inspection after the completion of the project.

During these inspections, any deficiencies and flaws that are seen in the plan are identified and pointed out to the individual. You are then required to correct the issues before continuing with the project. If you fail to do so, the work might not be accepted.

So, after completing the basement, make sure you get it checked from the municipality to close all the permits on your basement development project. This is because certificates are not always provided by the department to guarantee their approval.

Development vs. Building permit

Depending on the need, you might either need development or a building permit for your basement. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference between the two.

Building permit

A building permit is sought when you are relocating, altering or repairing a structure. It is also needed when the current use of the structure is changed. For instance, if you have a basement and wish to alter its structure to make it suitable for your needs, you will have to apply for a building permit.

Development permit

A development permit is needed when building a new structure from scratch. Here, issues regarding the compatibility of the new structure with the existing by-laws of the structure and its land use. A development permit is needed to make sure that the development being sought is aligned with the approved area planning and environmental policies.

Some instances when a development permit might be needed for a basement includes:

  • When the current basement is being altered to build suites
  • The floodway is being changed (the changes must be within six meters)
  • An exterior projection is being placed which acts as an obstacle for the yard
  • When you are adding onto the basement
  • When the structure being put up is not recognized under the bylaws of land use

The average time duration for getting a permit

Generally, for residential buildings, development permits may take 30 days to be processed. However, ensure first that all the required documents have been submitted. The processing day is also dependent on the type of project. For instance, larger projects might take up to 90 days to get a permit.

Make sure to submit all the required documentation in complete form. If not, the permit application might get refused. In case your permit gets denied, you can always appeal the decision by delivering the complete documentation later on. However, a penalty may be charged.


Since applying for and getting permits require detailed plans of the project you want to do, you need to hire a contractor for the job and rely on their expertise in renovations and the permit processes. That is where Lifestyle Renovations comes in. We will help in transforming the basement of your dreams into reality. Build a basement in your house. Benefit from the extra space. Call us today to get started.