Can I Remodel My House Without a Permit?


There are many reasons why you might want to remodel your house. If you’re planning on doing a few home renovations or some remodelling to your Edmonton property before selling or renting— it can be tempting to try and save some money by not applying for a permit. However, an Alberta Electrical, Plumbing, or Gas Permit is necessary anytime electrical, plumbing, or gas systems are installed, altered, or moved, as required by the Alberta Safety Codes Act.

What Is a Building Permit & When Do You Need One?

A building permit is crucial before beginning Edmonton home renovations or remodelling to a house’s existing electrical, plumbing, and structural elements. It is also necessary to have a new house built on your land. Extra fees may apply for this permit.

Like many homeowners looking to invest, you might want to rent your house and make it more segregated. You might also plan to overhaul your living space to make it the way you’ve dreamed, in ways that will affect the structure or exterior appearance of the property. In that case, you should check with your local authorities about codes and ordinances that may require a permit before work begins. If you make any major change like installing central heating and air conditioning equipment, it’s best and cheapest to include all other planned utility changes simultaneously; since permits are generally needed for them anyway. It’s best to get multiple permits at once based on the work done.

What Kind of Remodelling Requires a Permit?

Homeowners who are after simple projects like painting, putting up shelves, or laying bricks on an outdoor patio don’t need permits. Repairs to gutters and non-load-bearing interior walls are also exempt from the requirement to obtain permits before beginning work.

Work that is limited to interior remodelling (not including structural changes) can also be done without obtaining a permit. But it depends on how much the work affects load-bearing walls or other structural essentials. If the job increases the space of the home significantly, it could be that the work needs permits as well because there are utilities running outside the house as well.

When you’re dealing with fixtures, there’s not as much scrutiny. Still, utilities fall under the Safety Codes Act. You won’t need an Alberta permit if you are changing out a toilet. But you’ll need a permit to move the shower to another corner of the bathroom. That’s because, in order to relocate the shower, you’ll need to either build or switch out the water supply pipes.

Here’s another example. There is no requirement for a permit if you are changing a light fixture. A permit is required if you are moving the lights to hang from the roof in the centre rather than the corner because you’d be running new electrical lines.

Can You Get Away with Remodelling Without an Alberta Safety Codes Permit?

Getting away with remodelling done without a permit depends on many factors, but it’s neither likely nor is it recommended to try. If officials find out, you will be told to stop working on your project immediately.

According to Code, you’ll have to hire a contractor who has been approved by the Safety Codes Council and pay for an expert inspection (also Council certified) as part of this process.

Once construction is complete or discontinued at any time, it must not be occupied until a valid certificate of occupancy has been issued by your local authority. It’s all about safety, so officials won’t allow occupants in homes that were built without the proper remodelling permits.

Any further remodelling on the structure without up-to-code remedial work could lead to fines or legal action against you. You will also be required to undo any changes that do not conform with code requirements if a certificate of occupancy is later issued for the property. Depending on expert opinions of the safety hazards resulting from the work, you might have to undo the remodel completely.

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How to Get a Home Renovation Permit in Edmonton

To get a permit, you can visit the official permitting page at and follow the steps to get a permit. Select Edmonton for a permit authorizing your complete home renovation. Of course, if you go with a professional like Ultimate Renovations for your remodelling, permitting is something a renovation company take care of as part of a professional standard.

Why Do You Need a Permit to Remodel Your House?

Without a building permit, you could face the consequences you’re not prepared for. In addition to basic construction jobs such as putting up walls or installing new windows, homeowners who opt to install essentials like electrical wiring or central heating units must pay close attention to the Alberta Safety Codes Act.

More complex projects will likely require the assistance of an experienced professional to ensure compliance with all necessary permits and inspections before work can begin. While it is possible to perform these tasks yourself, the homeowner should consider the time involved and the increased likelihood of making costly errors or omissions that could require legal action to resolve.

Ultimately, you have to get special permits for remodelling work, including tearing down structures. If you don’t, you could face fines and legal action as soon as officials find out.

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