Ask the Expert: Are permits needed to build a deck, pergola or shed?

As summer approaches, many Calgarians may be thinking about revamping their backyard with a new deck or pergola, or creating more storage by building a shed.

But there are some things to consider before you start swinging that hammer.

Jennifer Crack from The City of Calgary joined Global News Morning Calgary on Monday to highlight which of your backyard home improvement projects need a permit.

“When you are doing renovations, we want to make sure that you’re doing your project safely. So the permits are there so we can check the safety measures, make sure that it’s getting built correctly,” Crack said.

Building a deck

While balconies always require permits to build, decks typically do not. As long as your deck is not more than 0.6 metres (two feet) above grade and does not have a roof, you don’t need a permit.

However, if your deck will have a roof that is attached to your house, permits will be required.

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Building a shed

Typically, as long as it will be in your backyard and isn’t attached to your house, you don’t need a permit to build a shed.

“Anything under 10 metres squared — so the equivalent is 107 square feet — you don’t need a permit for that,” Crack explained. “Just make sure you’re being cognizant of how close it is to any side properties.”

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Building a pergola

Typically, pergolas do not require permits to build, as long as they are not attached to the house and are under 10 metres squared (107 square feet).

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For more information on other home improvement projects like building gazebos, playhouses, patios and sunrooms, visit

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