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  • Writer's pictureK Monk

When Do I Need a Construction Permit in Red Deer, Alberta?

If you're planning on doing any construction in the City of Red Deer, Alberta, it's important to understand when you need a construction permit and when you don't. Renovations and new construction are costly, but getting fines or even being required to demolish or alter a project after its finished would be way worse! Additionally, if you plan to sell your home in the future, a prospective buyer may ask to see the paperwork to make sure everything is legal.

In this blog post, we'll touch on when you might need a permit for construction or renovation in the City of Red Deer, and when you don't. We'll also look at the pros of getting permits for construction with some helpful tips along the way.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be the authority on permits in Red Deer, but simply to provide some condensed (and hopefully useful) information to the homeowner, I will provide links to the city's website pages that apply.

You don't need a permit when building a fence, but there are some guidelines according to the city of red deer website:

  • The fence in your backyard can be no taller than 6 feet, 6 inches (2 metres) and the fence in your front yard can be no taller than 3 feet (0.9 metres)

  • You can only build with safe building materials. Sorry, but as much as you want to keep the bad guys out, you can't use barbwire, spikes, electricity or broken glass. But you can upgrade your surveillance system...

  • If you live on a corner lot, keep in mind your fence shouldn't obstruct a drivers vision

  • For additional guidelines go to The City of Red Deer's website here

Patios or decks lower than 24" do not need a permit in Red Deer, however there are some exceptions that can require a permit:

  • if you plan to cover your patio or deck with a roof or pergola

  • if your deck or patio is close to the property line, you may need a permit

  • for more info on decks, patios and whether or not you need a permit visit The City of Red Deer's website here

Accessory Buildings (buildings not considered to be the primary structure on your property) do not need permits if:

  • They are less than 10m2 (107 sq.ft.), and under 2.8m (9 ft.) high

  • Anything over this will require permits. For more information go here

Repairs and Fixtures

Lets say you buy a nice new lighting fixture or a brand new faucet at one of the home improvement stores in Red Deer. Do you need a permit to replace the one you have? No. However, you would need a permit if you are adding new electrical circuits or new plumbing. As well, you don't need a building permit for simple repairs, such as painting, or drywall repair,

When Permits are Required

You will need a permit if you are doing any of the following:

  • Installing a hot tub

  • Installing or moving a mobile home

  • Building a home, detached garage, or larger structure

  • Adding an addition or doing structural alterations to your home (taking a wall out, installing a larger window etc.)

  • Major renovations or basement development

  • Secondary suites

  • Decks over 24" off the ground

  • Anything to do with HVAC or gaslines

  • Fireplace installation (gas or solid fuel burning)

  • Service connection (electrical and gas)

  • Sewage disposal system

For more information go to the City of Red Deer website page here

Explanation of Permits

There are two types of permits you can apply for: a development permit and a building permit.

A Development Permit is required so that the structure you are proposing to build on your property complies with the Land Use Bylaw regulations, particularly regarding the placement.

A Building Permit is a little different and pertains mostly to safety. Its required to review the safety components of a building project, ensuring it is constructed in accordance with the National Building Code, Alberta edition, and is safe for you to use.

Let's face it, when we hear about the idea of getting a permit for construction we just see dollar signs and confusion. But its actually not that bad. The City of Red Deer makes it pretty easy to get permits, and provides templates and guidelines to assist you, whether your a homeowner or a professional carpenter or a contractor.

Some Helpful Tips:

  • Plan well in advance, last minute projects never go smoothly and the city will not rush the process because of poor planning

  • More information the better, what takes a lot of time is communicating back and forth with the development office because of missing information

  • Hire a professional architect or draftsperson to make a set of drawings for your project. If you are planning to build a detached garage, addition, or even a large multi-tiered deck professional drawings are a must. This is also very useful during the planning phase in getting quotes and estimates from contractors. It shows you are serious about your project.

  • Review the requirements beforehand and plan accordingly. This will avoid disappointment and costly changes.

  • Consider applying for a variance on projects that don't comply. In my experience the City of Red Deer has been very reasonable when applying for things like garages that are over the height restrictions etc.

The benefits of getting a permit is that it keeps you safe. It protects you as the homeowner from faulty workmanship, because the city will inspect the job to ensure it meets code. So in the end, getting a permit is just good practice and can save you money and headaches down the road.

If you have any questions about construction permits in Red Deer, please contact The City of Red Deer at 403-342-8190 or email: You can also visit their website at:

For more information on construction permits in the province of Alberta, please visit the Alberta Building Code website at:

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