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Read about up-to-date COVID-19 related service adjustments for development, permit, licencing, and construction & inspection services.

For interior and exterior alterations and renovations, additions, tenant improvements, selective or partial demolitions, changes to business activities.  

For commercial, industrial, institutional, apartments, Row Houses with 5 or more dwelling units, and stacked Row Houses.

Do I Need A Permit? 

Permits are required for:

Changes in activity 

  • You are the first tenant in a new building 
  • Moving your business to a new location
  • Change in a location's business activity, such as from retail to restaurant
  • Change in intensity of activity, such as restaurant seating increasing from 50 to 200
  • Installing temporary or permanent exterior signs

Construction or equipment changes 

  • Changes to exterior doors and windows 
  • Changes to structural and non-structural walls
  • Changes to heating and ventilation, plumbing, gas, and electrical work will require separate trades permits
  • When upgrading or installing new equipment (for example, a vehicle-detailing business expanding to include repair; forklift use and its charging/fuelling in a warehouse may require additional ventilation; adding or modifying commercial cooking equipment)

Permits are not required for: 

  • Cosmetic changes such as painting, changing flooring, or cabinetry

Which Permits Do I Need?

Most projects require: 

  • Business Licence is required for new businesses and moves to a new location.
  • Development Permit (Zoning Approval) ensures your structures are allowed in your location and comply with the Zoning Bylaw.
  • Building Permit to audit project design and construction in accordance with Alberta Safety Codes Act. Building Permit provides permission to begin construction. Starting construction without all permits can result in stop work orders, fines and/or administrative penalties.
  • Trades Permits for heating and ventilation, plumbing, gas, and electrical work
  • Sign Permit if installing permanent exterior signs

Talk to us. Visit the Edmonton Service Centre to talk to City staff to understand which permits will be required for your business.

Typical Project Process

Typical project process for changes to a commercial building.

Tips for Planning Your Project

Talk to Us

City staff are here to help you understand: 

To speak with City staff, visit us at the Edmonton Service Centre. At the ticket kiosk select Permits & Licenses. 

To make the most of your visit we suggest you bring: 

  • Your ideas for possible locations for your business.
  • Your ideas for business activities.
  • A site plan showing neighbouring businesses and parking. Tip: Ask your landlord for a site plan.
  • A floor plan showing  your proposed renovations. Tip: Use a ruler or graph paper to create neat and legible drawings.
  • You can find sample site plans and floor plans in the Building Permit Application Requirements section.

Please note: 

  • We suggest you reserve up to two hours for your visit, as you may need to speak with multiple City staff members. Wait times vary daily, and can be up to 30 minutes during peak season (March - September).
  • City staff will provide limited information during your visit based only on the details you provide. Additional information about your project will be communicated during the course of application review.
  • City staff cannot advise on matters related to provincial regulations.
  • You can contact Small Business Support for help with refining your business idea.
Submit a Complete Application

Submitting an incomplete application will cause significant delays as City staff are unable to begin reviews until all information is collected. 

Carefully review the application requirements to submit a complete application.

Use Professional Support

The plans you submit must meet checklist criteria and include a comparable level of detail as found in sample plans. 

Submitting incomplete documents will impact your application timeline. Applications are considered incomplete if documents are missing or do not include information listed in standards. 

Carefully review the application requirements to submit a complete application. Consider hiring professional support to draft your plans if you are unable to produce acceptable plans and documents.

Minimize and Communicate Changes

Minimize changes whenever possible. Any change to your planned business activities or project can cause significant impacts to your application timeline. 

Examples of changes to business activities include:

  • A cafe that will now serve alcohol
  • A 50-seat restaurant is now seats 200 patrons
  • A car detailing shop that will now perform engine repairs

Submit changes as soon as possible. 

Any deviation from reviewed plans cannot be endorsed on-site. When work completed does not match approved plans, revised plans must be re-submitted for a new review. 

Understand Provincial And Federal Regulations

It is your responsibility to ensure your project also meets provincial and federal regulations. 

Alberta Health Services has additional requirements for business such as restaurants, daycares, swimming pools, hair salons, massage centres, tattoo parlors, and nail salons. 

Additional rules apply to Cannabis businesses.

See Small Business Support for additional information.

Working Without a Contractor

Working without an experienced, certified designer or contractor can significantly increase the duration of your permit application review as City staff will require you to you modify your application to comply with regulations. 

If you are working without a designer or contractor, ensure you talk to us and carefully review the application requirements before submitting your application. 

Engineer-stamped drawings are required if the project includes changes to structural components such as beams, posts supporting beams, load-bearing walls, floors, wall opening enlargement, or foundation walls that cannot be checked in tables in the National Building Code (Alberta Edition).

Submitting Your Application

Application Process

All projects require development permit review. Applicants will not be charged if City staff determine that a development permit is not required. 

Applicants can choose whether to apply for development and building permits simultaneously or sequentially. 

Building permit review does not commence until after development permit review is complete. 

Multiple inspections will be required during and after construction. Carefully review the conditions written on your permit documents to understand when inspections will be required. 

Development Permit Application Requirements

The table below lists documents required to begin your application

Additional information may be requested when your application is under review. 

Applications are considered incomplete if documents are missing or do not include information listed in standards. 

Submitting an incomplete application will extend application timelines. 

Application Requirements for All Applications

Application Requirements  Application Standards and Guides
Site Plan

Tip: Ask your landlord for a site plan document. Ensure the site plan contains the information listed in standards. 

Site Plan Standard - General
Site Plan Standard - Child Care Facility

Development Permit Floor Plan

Note: Development permit floor plan standards are different from building permit standards.

Floor Plan Standard - Retail or General Projects 
Floor Plan Standard - Restaurant 
Floor Plan Standard - Light Industrial
Floor Plan Standard - Child Care Facility

Certificate of Title

Must be a current copy, obtained within the past 3 months.
 
Alberta Land Titles 

Elevation Plan

Only required for exterior changes. Exterior changes include installing new doors and windows. 

Elevation Plan Standard 


Application Requirements for Additions 

The following documents are also required for additions over ten square metres.

Application Requirements  Applications Standards and Guides
Elevation Plan Elevation Plan Standard
Lot Grading Plan See Lot Grading for standards, samples, and more information.
Landscaping Plan See Landscaping for standards, samples and more information.
Building Permit Application Requirements

Carefully review the application requirements to submit a complete application. The table below lists documents required to begin your application.

Additional information may be requested when your application is under review. 

Applications are considered incomplete if documents are missing or do not include information listed within the standards. 

Submitting an incomplete application will extend application timelines. 

Requirements for All Applications

Application Requirements Applications Standards and Guides
Site Plan Site Plan Standard - General 
Site Plan Standard - Child Care Facility 
Building Permit Floor Plans

Note: Building permit plan standards are different from development permit standards.

Floor Plan Standard - Retail or General Projects 
Floor Plan Standard - Restaurant 
Floor Plan Standard - Light Industrial 

3.8 Accessibility Guide

Application for Barrier-Free Relaxation

Elevation Plan For exterior changes only. Exterior changes include installing new cladding, doors and windows.
Elevation Plan Standard
Energy Code Documents Only required if the original building permit was issued after October 31, 2016.
Energy Code Requirements
Professional Schedules See Professional Involvement Standards to determine if professional schedules are required.
Schedules of Professional Involvement Forms
Fire Safety Documents Construction Fire Safety Plan


Requirements for Additions

The following documents are also required for additions. 

Application Requirements Applications Standards and Guides
Survey Plan Prepared by a registered Alberta land surveyor.

Survey Plan Standards
Building Plans

Note: Building permit plan standards are different from development permit standards.

Building Plans Standards

3.8 Accessibility Guide

Geotechnical Report Prepared by a registered engineering professional
New Home Warranty Required for dwellings that will be sold. 
New Home Buyer Protection Act


Additional forms: 

Variance/Alternative Solutions Request Form

Fees

For a complete list of fees see: 
2020 Development Permit and Related Fees
2020 Building Permit and Safety Codes Fees

Note: Development permit fees are only charged after development permit review is complete. Applicants will not be charged if City staff determine that a development permit is not required.

There are several ways to make a payment

Additional fees may apply for revisions to your application.

Applying Online

You can apply for permits online at selfserve.edmonton.ca. You will be able to manage the project through the dashboard, add and change trades, schedule inspections and find copies of reviewed plans and permit documents.

Applying In Person

To apply in person visit the Edmonton Service Centre.

Ensure to bring:

After You Apply

Application Processing

City staff will review your application for compliance with the City of Edmonton Zoning Bylaw and applicable Safety Codes

City staff may request additional information to better understand your project.

Changing or Cancelling Your Application

To change your application, email the person who is handling your application identified on the messages sent to you as your application progresses. Additional charges may apply for revisions. For more information see: 
2019 Development Permit and Related Fees 
2019 Building Permit and Safety Codes Fees

To cancel your application, email the Cancellation/Refund Request form to the person who is handling your application. 

Inspections

Multiple inspections may be required during and after the construction process. Review your building permit conditions to understand when inspections should occur. 

Failure to request required inspections may result in you having to remove finished walls and/or additional inspection delays. 

Any deviation from reviewed plans cannot be endorsed on-site. When work completed does not match reviewed plans, revised plans must be submitted for additional review. 

All the mandatory inspections are to be requested online at selfserve.edmonton.ca. Either the permit holder or the delegated constructor is responsible to co-ordinate all inspections.

FAQ

How long will it take to get my permit(s)?

Application processing times vary based on:

  • the complexity of the project. Complexity is assessed during application review
  • current application volumes (peak season is April-September)
  • completeness of the application
When does my permit expire?
  • Development permits expire 2 years from the date of permit issuance if the development has not commenced. 
  • Building permits expire:
    • 90 days from the date of permit issuance if construction has not started.
    • 120 days after halting construction. 

For More Information

Edmonton Service Centre

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

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