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Do I need a Building Permit for window and door replacement?

December 1, 2016

We have good news and bad news here:

  • The good news is that no Building Permits are required for straight replacement of windows and doors as long as the home's framing structure is not being changed.
  • The bad news is that because no permits are required for window replacements, there are no formal post installation inspections to ensure all windows are installed to meet current Building Codes and keep water out of your home. This means that some windows installers can cut corners that can cost you a lot of money, headaches and stress in the future.

A permit is required if changing a flat window to a Bay Window or a Bow Window, even if the rough opening size is not changed. This is because the weight of the bay or bow window is cantilevered out from the home and creates special structural considerations to properly carry that load.

A Building Permit is required for enlarging any doors or Windows where a header needs to be added or altered. This includes brand new windows where there is no window now.

If the new proposed header will be over 8' wide then typically the City of Calgary will request an Engineer review the project and create stamped drawings showing the structural framing required to support all loads. This can be costly up front, but not nearly as costly as experiencing structural damage to your home later because the proper due diligence was not taken up front.

In order to obtain a permit the City will require the following information:

  1. Real Property Report (you should have this when you bought your home - or can request a copy from the City)
  2. To Scale and Professional drawings of the Floor Plan and the Elevations for the existing structure (with exisiting window sizes) and proposed renovation (new window and well sizes)
  3. Framing details (specifically for bay and bow windows)

A more costly and longer process is involved if dramatically changing the appearance of your home, especially the front elevation. This would require obtaining a Development Permit in addition to the Building Permit and can add months and thousands of dollars to your project, so carefully consider thsee factors before planning dramatic renovations.

Other Building Code considerations that are looked for during the permit process include:

  1. Ensuring no more than 7% of any side elevation is glass area.
  2. Ensuring basement foundations are not cut out for a larger window than 48" without an Engineering review.
  3. Ensuring basement foundations are not cut out more than than 25% of the foundation length in total without an Engineering review.
  4. Window wells are projecting at least 30" from the foundation.

Our Team (including our the Independent Permit Expert we rely on) is fully trained in the requirements for Permits to ensure your Window or Door Enlargement Project is done safely, correctly, and legally.

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We look forward to the opportunity to get to know you and discuss the efficiency and comfort solutions we can offer for you, your family, and your home.

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