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    Secondary suites can be a desirable residential development for both property owners and tenants. This page is intended as a general guide to help homeowners become aware of the requirements necessary when planning a secondary suite within the Town of Westlock.

    A secondary suite means a separate set of living quarters within a principal (ex. basement suite) or accessory (ex. garage suite, garden suite) building, containing independent and physically separate sleeping, sanitary and kitchen facilities.

    Call us: 780-349-4444
    Email us: planning@westlock.ca
    In-Person: 10003-106 Street, Westlock, AB

    A Development and Building Permit are always required for any proposed secondary suite.

    Safety Codes Permits are also required for any plumbing, electrical and gas work needed in the construction of the secondary suite. Permits cannot be applied for by homeowners for electrical work on secondary suites. To ensure the safety of the suite, permits are only issued to a Master Electrician.

    To apply for permits, see below: How to apply.

    Risks when a permit is not obtained

    If you, as a homeowner or contractor, do not have permits for work that has been started or completed, there could be consequences if you do not take action to correct the situation, such as:

    • Enforcement action issued by a City Safety Codes Officer or Bylaw Officer.
    • A fine for building without a permit.
    • Having to undo work that has been completed.
    • Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
    • Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted, to fix deficiencies.
    • Potential liability to you, the homeowner, in the event of an accident.

    NOTE: As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you that permits were not required. For more info, visit Hiring a Contractor.

    A Development Permit covers the what and where a development may proceed. It approves what type of development is allowed on a particular property, taking into account land use and setback issues of the Town’s Land Use Bylaw.

    A Building Permit covers how it is built. It allows the construction/demolition of structures contingent on meeting the requirements of the Alberta Building Code.

    Allowable land use districts within the Town

    According to the Town’s Land Use Bylaw, Secondary Suites are typically considered a Discretionary use; meaning the situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by Planning & Development Services and are subject to adjacent landowner notification & appeal. The land use districts (zones) for which secondary suites will be considered are:

    • Low-Density Residential District (Discretionary Use)
    • Medium Density Residential District (Discretionary Use – accessory to single-family dwellings only)
    • Estate Residential District (Permitted Use)

    For more information on the application process for a secondary suite for your particular property, please contact Planning and Development Services at 780-349-4444 or planning@westlock.ca

    General requirements

    • A maximum of one secondary suite is allowed on a lot.
    • One on-site parking stall (in addition to the required parking for the principal dwelling) is required for every 2 bedrooms in a secondary suite.
    • A secondary suite must not be subject to separation from the Single Detached House through a condominium conversion or subdivision.
    • It must contain its own living, cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

    Requirements for a secondary suite within a dwelling

    • It must have an entrance to the exterior that is separate from the entrance for the principal dwelling, or it may share an entrance to a common interior landing with the principal dwelling.
    • It must have its own separate (independent) heating and ventilation system which complies with the Alberta Building Code.
    • The secondary suite and the primary dwelling must have electrically hardwired smoke alarms in each bedroom and all common areas, which must be interconnected.
    • A secondary suite must not be subject to separation from the Single Detached House through a condominium conversion or subdivision.

    Requirements for a secondary suite within an accessory building

    • It must meet the setback regulations for an accessory building
    • It must be no more than 4.6m (15.1 ft) tall
    • It must not cover more than 10% of your total lot area.
    • The exterior finishing must complement that of the principal dwelling

    Building code requirements

    For more detail about construction regulations and what you need when applying for your Building Permit, contact Superior Safety Codes at 780-489-4777.

    Submit an application for each permit, along with other relevant documents, to Planning & Development Services (contact info below).

    1 - Determine which applications you need.
    (See What permits do I need, above). You can then download checklists and forms (below) and complete them.

    NOTE: Development and Building Permits must be applied for and approved prior to safety codes permit applications.  We recommend applying for Development and Building Permits concurrently.

    Development Permits & Checklists

    Residential Development Permit Application Package

    Building Permits & Checklists

    Building Permit Application Package

    Safety Codes Permits

    Electrical Permit Application

    Gas Permit Application

    Plumbing Permit Application

    2 - Have drawings ready:

    • Floor Plan – show dimensions/uses of rooms inside the suite, locations of windows & doors, locating of smoke alarms
    • Site Plan – show available number and dimensions of parking available on-site; dimensioned with distances to property lines and other buildings labelled
    • Drawings – Elevation drawings with overall height labelled (if applicable – suite within accessory building only)

    3 – Apply with all the required documentation. 

    Application methods:

    In-Person or by Mail to:

    Planning & Development Services
    Town of Westlock
    10003-106 Street
    Westlock, AB  T7P 2K3

     Email to: planning@westlock.ca 

    Payment methods:
    After your application is received and processed, you will be notified by email or phone of the application fee(s). See our Fee Schedule for our current permit fees.

    Online:

    • Credit card (Visa or MasterCard)

    In-person:

    • Debit
    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard or Amex)

    Mail payment:

    • Cheque

    What if I am not the property owner?

    If you are not the owner of the property, then you must get the owner's consent to apply for any permits.  The Town accepts the following forms of owner authorization:

    • Signature on Development Permit application
    • Letter of consent from Property Owner

    How long will it take to obtain my permits?

    Timelines vary based on the type of application as well as our current application volumes.  Give yourself as much time as possible to complete the permit process prior to your preferred construction start date in case of any complications or revisions required.   

    Inspections for all building and safety codes permits are performed by the Town’s Safety Codes contractor, Superior Safety Codes.

    Inspections can be booked by phoning Superior Safety Codes at 780-489-4777.

    When phoning please have your permit number handy.