What is the difference between a development permit and a building permit?
A development permit ensures that your project aligns with City regulations and conforms to the land use regulations in the City’s Land Use Bylaw. These regulations include setbacks to property lines, height, site coverage and use. A building permit ensures that your project is safe and will conform to the Alberta Building Code and other applicable regulations such as the National Energy Code.
When do I need a development and/or a building permit?
Type of Project
Development Permit Required
Building Permit Required
Basement Development (finishing)
Does not include a Secondary Suite
Addition (includes sunrooms and solariums if attached to the house)
Detached Garage or Carport
Deck under 2 feet high
Deck over 2 feet high
Shed under 107 sq. ft.
Shed over 107 sq. ft.
New Commercial, Industrial, Multi-Family & Industrial Buildings
At Building Inspector discretion
Interior Building Renovations (no structural/wall changes)
Interior Building Renovations (adding/removing walls, adding/removing windows, adding upper cabinets, other structural changes)
Change of Use/Occupancy
How much does a building permit cost?
The cost of a building permit varies depending on the type and scope of work (ex. Residential vs. Commercial). Some are priced using a flat rate, while others are determined by square footage or construction value. Our most up to date fees can be found in our Fee Schedule which is updated yearly.
How do I find out what can be built on my property?
The Land Use Bylaw assigns a land use district for each property in the city. That land use district stipulates the types of uses and the size and scale of development that can occur on your property. The Land Use Bylaw also has general regulations that apply to all land use districts for uses such as secondary suites, accessory buildings (sheds, garages, pergolas, etc.), fabric covered structures, etc. that guide what you can and cannot build on your property.
What is a single detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling, multi-attached dwelling?
Residential dwellings are categorized by their form – the diagrams below demonstrate the difference between single detached, semi-detached and multi-attached dwellings:
Single Detached – One standalone dwelling unit.
Semi-Detached – Two dwelling units sharing a common party wall.
Multi-Attached – Three or more dwelling units sharing common party walls.
What do I need to build a new house?
You will need a Development Permit and a Building Permit (see our application package). You will also need to obtain an excavation, underground electrical, and interior electrical, plumbing & gas permits. If you are new to building in Fort Saskatchewan, we highly recommend you speak with one of our Development Officers early in the process, as some of our requirements may differ from other municipalities in the area.
How long does it take to get a permit?
Processing times vary depending on the time of year and application volumes. Please allow yourself enough time so that you may get your permit in time to start construction. Applications are processed in the order which they are received. Any revisions needed will extend processing times.
What is an accessory building?
An accessory building is any building or structure that is located on the same lot as your house (the principal building) and is subordinate to that principal building. Accessory buildings include but are not limited to sheds, detached garages, gazebos, pergolas, and play structures.
Do I need a permit to build an accessory building on my property?
Accessory buildings over 10m2 (107ft2) require a development and a building permit. The application package for an accessory building is available online. Regardless of their size, all accessory buildings must also comply with the setback requirements of the Land Use Bylaw and can be as close as 1.0 m (3.3 ft) from your rear or side property lines. They must be no closer than 1.2m (3.9ft) from your house or any other accessory buildings on your property. If your property is located in the Residential Estate (RE) District, all accessory buildings can be as close as 2.0m (6.6ft) from your side and rear property lines.
How close to my property line can I build my garage or shed?
All development must comply to the setbacks (distances to the property line) defined in the Land Use Bylaw. These setbacks vary depending on the type of development and the district in which your property is located. In most residential districts, accessory developments (garage, shed, hot tub, pergola, etc.) cannot be built any closer than 1.0m (3.3 ft) to your side and rear property lines. If you plan to build a detached garage with lane access, it must be located at least 1.2m (3.9 ft) from the lane.
If you property is located in the Residential Estate (RE) District, all accessory buildings must be at least 2.0m (6.6ft) from your side and rear property lines.
Do I need a permit for my pergola?
A pergola is categorized as an accessory building. If the pergola is larger than 10m2 (107ft2) it requires a development and a building permit. Pergolas must also comply with the setback requirements of the Land Use Bylaw and can be as close as 1.0 m (3.3 ft) from your rear or side property lines. They must be at least 1.2m (3.9ft) from your house or any other structures (shed, garage) on your property. View the pergola application package.
Do I need a permit to build a fence on my property?
You do not need a permit to build a fence on your property. However, all fences must not exceed the maximum heights set out in the Land Use Bylaw. Fences must not exceed 1.82 m (6.0 ft) in your rear and side yard or 0.91m (3.0 ft) in your front yard. The different types of yards are defined in the Land Use Bylaw.
Can I have a secondary suite on my property?
Secondary suites are a permitted use in the following land use districts: R1, R2, R3, RC & RE. Secondary suites are only permitted in single family homes and on lots with sufficient parking on site. They must comply with the Alberta Building Code. We highly recommend that if you are interested in developing a secondary suite on your property, that you contact Planning & Development before starting the process.
Do I need a permit to build an uncovered deck on my property?
Decks over 0.6 m (2.0 ft) in height require a development and a building permit. Decks over 0.6m must comply with the setback and projection requirements in the Land Use Bylaw. Decks over 0.6m can be as close as 5.6m (18.4 ft) from your rear property line in most residential districts. In the Residential Estates (RE) district, decks can be as close at 7.6m (24.9 ft) from the rear property line. In all districts decks over 0.6m must maintain the side setback or distance of your house to your side property lines. The application package for a deck can be found here. You can also apply for your deck online through our portal.
Do I need a permit for a hot tub?
The Alberta Building Code requires that hot tubs have a building and an electrical permit. This is to ensure that the hot tub is located and installed in a safe manner. Hot tubs must also comply with the setback requirements of the Land Use Bylaw and can be as close as 1.0 m (3.3 ft) from your rear or side property lines. The application package for a hot tub can be found here.
What permits do I need if my business is moving?
Depending on the nature of the previous business, you may need either a Change of Use or New Occupancy development permit. A Building Permit is also required to ensure the space meets the Alberta Building Code for your business. If you are a new business in the city, you will also need to obtain a Business License. The application forms can be found here.
What permits does a home based office or business need?
You will need a development permit for an Accessory Home Occupation and a Business Licence. Other bodies such as Alberta Health may have other requirements depending on the nature of your business. The application forms can be found here.
How will I know when my permit is ready?
When your permit is ready you will received a call from our office. You will have the option of picking up your permit at our front counter or having it mailed to you. Applications which are not picked up within 10 days will be automatically mailed to you.
A Compliance is a review of your property and all the buildings and structures on it against the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. Compliances are based on Real Property Reports, and are typically a condition of sale between the buyer and seller. The City does not require sellers or buyers to acquire a compliance certificate, but offers them as an optional service. The application form for a compliance can be found here. 2 Original Real Property Reports and a current Certificate of Title are required.
Where can I get a Real Property Report (RPR)?
Real Property Reports are prepared by private survey companies. You can contact any survey company you wish to complete a survey of your property. A listing of Alberta Land Surveyors’ can be found here.
What happens if my property is not compliant?
The results of a compliance are meant to act as information between the seller and potential buyer of the property. If items of non-compliance are noted (ie. no permits, variance required, encroachments), the City will identify a solution. It is up to the seller & buyer to determine how to move forward and if they want to correct those issues. Compliance cannot be obtained unless those items of non-compliance are corrected.
What is the Land Use Bylaw? Where can I find the Land Use Bylaw?
The Land Use Bylaw regulates use and development within the City of Fort Saskatchewan. It does this through establishing land use districts (zones) which determine what can be done on each parcel of land within the city. It also determines the development permit process and how decisions are made on applications.
Is there a difference between redistricting and rezoning?
A redistricting or rezoning is the process of changing the land use district that applies to a parcel of land. The Municipal Government Act refers to the process as redistricting, but it is also known as rezoning. Redistricting a parcel of land to a different land use changes the types of uses and development regulations that can be applied to the site.
How do I redistrict my property?
An applicant can submit a redistricting application to change the existing land use district of their land. Applications are submitted to Planning & Development for review. Redistricting’s amend the Land Use Bylaw, and therefore require a Public Hearing and notice to be provided to adjacent landowners. City Council is the authority that approves or refuses redistricting applications.
How do I subdivide my property?
A subdivision is the process of dividing one parcel of land into two or more smaller parcels. A land owner can submit a subdivision application to Planning & Development for review. Proposed subdivisions need to meet the requirements of the City’s planning documents including the Land Use Bylaw. The Subdivision Approving Authority is the body that approves or refuses subdivision applications.
What is the Municipal Development Plan? Where do I find the Municipal Development Plan?
The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is the City’s highest level planning document. It establishes the City’s long-range vision “Engaged People, Thriving Community”. This vision is the desired end-state for the community and is the foundational element of the plan.