Building blocks of home improvement: Renovations explained in Lego

A house is one of the biggest investments a homeowner will make. Before you start a renovation, do your research.

A house is one of the biggest investments
a homeowner will make. Before you start a renovation, do your research to protect that
investment. We know the process may be confusing, but
The City is here to help guide you through your renovation project to ensure your project
meets Alberta’s safety codes and City of Calgary bylaws. Choosing the right contractor is an important
step. You should check their City of Calgary business licence, get a contract in writing,
ask for references and verify their insurance. After you’ve chosen a contractor or decided
to do the renovation yourself, check to determine what permits you’ll need, read
important tips, view sample drawings, tools, checklists and more.
You’ll need a permit if you’re: • Building or demolishing walls
• Installing or extending a plumbing or electrical system
• And more Permits are generally not required if:
• You’re replacing existing faucets, fixtures or a hot water tank
• You’re completing cosmetic upgrades, like replacing flooring, painting or kitchen
cabinets. City inspections are included as part of the
permit process. Our inspectors verify that your work meets safety and development standards
and they can assist if you have encountered problems with your project.
Electrical and plumbing work typically requires two inspections – a rough in and final.
For a final electrical inspection, you’ll need everything fully hooked up and operational.
For plumbing work, it is when all the fixtures are installed and in full working order.
If you’re renovating your basement, request an inspection when new walls have been framed
and before drywall, insulation or vapour barrier has been installed. Once the framing has been
covered, it’s very difficult to tell if things have been done correctly. It’s also
more expensive to make required changes if the construction is already covered.
Inspectors will: • Confirm doors accessing furnace and laundry
rooms meet the required 32” width • Verify that you would be able to get out
of a bedroom window in case of a fire • Check handrails on stairs
• Locate smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and confirm they are operational
Deck projects can be built completely before calling for an inspection. As long as an inspector
is able to see under the deck, this is acceptable. They will ensure the structure is installed
properly and adequately fastened, and test the resistance of your railing.
A building permit is required for all factory-built, wood burning fireplaces, but is only required
for gas fireplaces if the installation requires a chimney or other exterior projections.
In most cases, you don’t need a permit to build a fence unless it doesn’t meet the
height and location rules of the Land Use Bylaw. Alberta’s building and safety codes play an important role in your home’s safety.
Making sure renovations are done right will help you avoid future legal and financial
issues when selling your property. To learn more, visit or
contact our Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311.

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