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Secondary suites help provide Edmontonians with a diverse range of housing choices.

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

A secondary suite is a separate dwelling located within a single-detached, semi-detached, or row house with its own living, cooking, sleeping and sanitary facilities. A suite may be created through the development or conversion of a basement or other interior space within a house, accessed without passing through the principal (main) dwelling, such as through common interior space, or directly into the suite from outside.

A secondary suite is not permitted in an apartment, boarding/lodging house or a house with a major home-based business. No subdivision is fundamental to the use and definition of a secondary suite. A secondary suite remains subordinate—secondary—to the principal dwelling or suite.

To see if your property is zoned for a secondary suite, check your property’s zoning designation. Visit maps.edmonton.ca to see if secondary suites are listed in your zone. Secondary suites are typically allowed in zones where single detached, semi-detached, duplex or row houses are allowed. You can also consult a Development Officer at the Edmonton Service Centre.

Important Information About Permits

  • For detailed information regarding secondary suite design requirements and considerations, please refer to the Secondary Suite Design Guide
  • Plans for heating and ventilation, plumbing, gas or electrical systems are not reviewed prior to the issuance of permits, as code compliance is audited during inspections. Homeowners and/or contractors are responsible for ensuring that design and construction meet code.
  • Inspections may be required at various stages of your project. Review your building permit conditions to understand when to request inspections.
  • Projects may require both a development permit and a building permit. Separate permits are required for heating and ventilationplumbinggas, and electrical work.
  • Any Secondary Suite, regardless of the construction year, that exists without the required Development Permit is subject to double the regular application fees.
Who can apply for permits?

Application Requirements

Site Plan

A site plan must include:

  • A north arrow
  • Property address
  • Corresponding streets and avenues
  • Dimensions of property lines Location, measurements, and setbacks of proposed and existing buildings and structures
  • Identify applicable caveats, covenants, easements

Drawing Tips:

  • Drawn on a real property report, plot plan, or graph paper.
  • Please keep units of measurement consistent.

Sample Site Plan / Plot Plan

Architectural Drawings

Architectural drawings must show the following necessary features, as applicable:

Suite layout

  • The proposed secondary suite and any common area, showing:
    • Use of rooms and spaces
    • Location and dimensions of walls, doors, stairs, and windows
    • Any change or upgrades to existing windows and doors
    • Any new exterior door and window openings
    • Dimensions of the egress window required in each room for sleeping
    • Changes to HVAC, plumbing, gas and electrical systems
  • A separate “before” sketch or photos of the existing floor layout of the main home and secondary suite space to help speed plan review, showing:
    • Existing use of rooms and spaces
    • Location of existing walls, doors, stairs, and windows
    • Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm locations
  • Renovation of other parts of the main home may be combined with this permit application. Confirm and select all items that are part of the project from the list of Home Improvement Permit options, and provide the information as indicated.

Access & Egress

  • If there is not a second and separate way out of the secondary suite, show how the exterior exit (stair, door, and/or deck/veranda platform) is protected from the windows of the main home and common spaces.
  • Access and exit access for the secondary suite is not through the main home or a service room
  • Entry door(s) into the secondary suite provided with a deadbolt lock. This includes any direct access door between the main home and the secondary suite which must have a separate deadbolt from each side (not using a common key) so that mutual agreement is required for the door between the two to be unsecured.

Heating & Electrical

  • A separate heating/ventilation system (separate forced air furnace, or radiant heat with HRV) must serve the secondary suite, and shall not be interconnected/ducted with the remainder of the house.
  • Load Calculation submitted to show sufficient electric power is provided for the main home and the secondary suite

Fire protection

  • Smoke alarms that are hard-wired, and interconnected throughout the entire house (main home and secondary suite)
    • In each bedroom and in any hallway/area between bedrooms and the rest of the floor,
    • Common spaces including interior shared means of egress, and
    • All ancillary spaces such as storage rooms, washroom, laundry room, or service rooms that are accessed from common area. 
  • Carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the entire house (main home and secondary suite)
    • In each bedroom or in a hallway within 5m of bedroom doors,
    • Any room with a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, and
    • Service rooms with gas appliances not contained within the main home or the secondary suite.
  • A continuous smoke-tight fire protection barrier of a minimum 12.7mm (½”) thick standard gypsum board on the underside of floor-ceiling assemblies and on both sides of wall framing to separate:
    • The main home and the secondary suite from each other,
    • Common spaces including interior shared means of egress from the rest of the house,
    • Ancillary spaces such as storage rooms, washroom, laundry room, or service rooms accessed from common area, and
    • All service rooms containing any fuel-fired space-heating or cooling appliance, fuel-fired service water heater or gas laundry dryer from the rest of the house.
  • Doors in smoke-tight barriers must be minimum 45mm solid-core wood, with self-closer.

Noise

  • Sound absorbing material (batt insulation) in walls and floor-ceiling assemblies between the secondary suite and the main home, as well as between the suite and non-suite space where noise may be generated (shared laundry)
    • Fill ceiling and wall cavities with a minimum of 150mm (6”) thick batts, taking care to not block return air runs.
    • Install resilient channel (sound-bar) on at least one side of the walls and on the underside of the floor-ceiling assembly. 
  • Where required Sound Transmission control details are not on or with the plans, complete the secondary suite portion of the Sound Confirmation Declaration form and attach it with the application.

Firewall

  • Where required Firewalls for Secondary Suites in a Row House details are not on or with the plans, complete and provide the Letter of Acknowledgement with the application.

For more detailed information regarding secondary suite design requirements and considerations, please refer to the Secondary Suite Design Guide.
 

Elevation Drawings or Exterior Photographs

Photographs of all sides of the exterior of the house are adequate if no exterior alterations associated with the secondary suite project are proposed, or

Elevation drawings if changes are proposed to the exterior of the house.

  • Exterior of all sides of the house, including all windows and doors
  • Finishing materials for 
    • walls (for example, brick, stucco), 
    • roof (for example, asphalt shingle, concrete tile), 
    • fascia, soffit, and so on.
Structural and Engineering Documents

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 the Alberta Building Code.

Submit Your Application

Fees

Most projects require a development permit and a building permit. City staff will determine which permits and fees apply.

Starting work without permit(s) is subject to penalties.

Secondary Suites constructed prior to January 1, 2007 are not subject to Sanitary Sewer Trunk Fees. 

Each application is unique. Typical applications involve the following fees:

Fixed Price Application Fees
Permit Type Permit Fee Safety Codes Fee Total
Development Permit $293 - $293
Heating, Cooling or Ventilation (HVAC) Permit $112 $4.50 $116.50
Plumbing Permit $112 $4.50 $116.50
Gas Permit $112 $4.50 $116.50
Sanitary Sewer Charge (after Dec 31, 2006) $758   $758

 

Building Permit Fee
Construction Value Building Permit Fee Safety Code Fee Total
$0 - $5,000 $112 $4.50 $116.50
$5,001 - $10,000 $160 $6.40 $166.40
$10,001 - $25,000 $276 $11.04 $287.04
$25,001 - $50,000 $513 $20.52 $523.52
$50,001 - $100,000 $994 $39.76 $1,033.76
$100,000 + $1935 $77.40 $2012.40

 

Electrical Permit Fee
Construction Value Electrical Permit Fee Safety Code Fee Total
$0 - $24,000 $149 $5.96 $154.96
$24,001 - $80,000 $150.60 - $341(1) $6.02 - $13.64(3) $156.62 - $354.64
$80,001 - $100,000 $339.20 - $352(2) $13.56 - $14.08(3) $352.76 - $366.08

 

(1) Calculated as $69 + 0.00340*(Construction Value)
(2) Calculated as $276 + 0.00076*(Construction Value)
(3) Calculated as 4% of the permit fee with a minimum of $4.50 and maximum of $560

Construction Value: total cost of materials and services.

Construction Value does not include: landscaping, parking lots, sidewalks, furnishings, appliances, interior window coverings, temporary service connections, insurance or bonding, interim financing, permit fees, professional consulting fees, GST.


See 2020 Residential Permits and Fees for more information. Additional fees may apply.
There are several ways to make a payment.

Online Application Checklist

Required For All Applications:

  • Site plan
  • Architectural Drawings (floor plans)
  • Exterior Photographs (for no exterior alterations) or Elevation Drawings (for changes)

Required For Structural Changes:

  • Engineer-stamped drawings

File Instructions:

  • Name files to describe contents and project address (Example: “Site Plan - 321 45 Street NW)
  • One combined file or multiple files are accepted
  • Ensure the project address is included within every file
In-Person Application Checklist

To apply in person complete the following documents and visit the Edmonton Service Centre located in the Edmonton Tower Building. There are several ways to make a payment.

Required For All Applications:

Required For Structural Changes:

  • Engineer-stamped drawings

File Instructions:

  • Ensure the project address is included on every file
  • Do not include personal information on site plans or drawings

After You Apply

Application Processing

City staff will review your application to ensure your project complies with the City of Edmonton Zoning Bylaw and applicable Safety Codes.

Application processing times vary. During peak season (March-August) typical applications are processed within 3-4 weeks. Complex applications may require additional processing time.

Changing Your Application or Permit

Changes to your submitted application may be subject to additional fees. To make changes while your application is in progress Contact Us. To make changes after your permit has been issued contact the Permit Issuer identified on your permit.


Cancellation And/Or Refund Request Form

Scheduling Your Mandatory Inspection

The Building Permit holder should request inspections online at selfserve.edmonton.ca.

To learn more, visit Safety Codes Inspection Services.

Construction Site Management

Consult the Working With Neighbourhoods page for a listing of resources and tips for best practices for building. 

Temporary use or crossing of the road right-of-way for demolition, deliveries, and construction requires On-Street Construction and Maintenance (OSCAM) Permits. This is to ensure you are not damaging the boulevard, sidewalk or City-owned trees while you access your site. You should apply for your OSCAM Permit once your Demolition or Building Permit applications have been submitted.

For More Information

Development and Building Permits
2nd floor, Edmonton Tower
10111 - 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton AB T5J 0J4

Telephone

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

TTY 780-944-5555
Email developmentservices@edmonton.ca

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