Specifications and standards

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This page provides technical specifications and other documents and policies related to specialized situations.



icon_PDFMunicipal Servicing Standards Manual (MSSM) 

The intent of the MSSM is to provide an information guide to set standards governing design, preparation and submission of plans and specifications when planning the development or redevelopment of lands. It is intended for use by Developers, Engineering Consultants, Contractors and other interested parties to provide procedures and standards on the development of land and the construction of public infrastructure in the City of Medicine Hat (the Municipality).

MSSM defines the minimum expectation for public infrastructure.  It is the responsibility of Developers, Consulting Engineers, and Contractors to apply sound engineering principles and industry best practices to provide an end product that is practical, economical, efficient, safe and sustainable to be operated and maintained by the Municipality.

It is not the intent of MSSM to stifle innovation or discourage creative solutions, but to create benchmark by which Municipal staff can objectively and consistently evaluated a development proposal and quickly facilitates the necessary approvals.

MSSM also serves as a guide for the exploration of implementing viable and economic alternatives that meet the intent of the Standards.  Proposed alternatives must be reviewed and approved to the satisfaction of the Municipality prior to implementation.  The standards and criteria outlined in MSSM are subject to review and modifications from time to time and as such, responsibilities lie with the proponents of any new project to apprise themselves of the current standards and criterion prior to proceeding beyond the Planning approval phase.

In most cases, the City of Medicine Hat will assume ownership and responsibility for the perpetual maintenance of this infrastructure, so it is important that a degree of quality control is incorporated at the design stage of the project.


icon_PDFMunicipal Works Construction Specifications 

Technical specifications for Contractors performing infrastucture work for the Municipality. Requirements and standards include (for example) safety, fencing, culverts, pavement work, storm sewers, excavation trenching & backfilling, and sidewalk construction.

icon_PDFTemporary Traffic Control Manual 

Outlines basic principles and minimum standards and specifications for temporary traffic control at worksites to ensure human safety, protect worksite equipment and minimize traffic disruption.

icon_PDFTemporary traffic control form 

Environmental Utilities Construction Specifications 

Manual which outlines design standards and construction specifications for all design and construction projects related to water and sanitary sewer. Standard drawings also available. (click below)

  Environmental Utilities Construction Specifications


Parks and Recreation Standards, Specifications and Drawings

For standards for open space design, click below:

  Parks and Recreation Standards, Specifications and Drawings


icon_PDFLandscaping Plan Requirements

Developers' guide to Landscape Plan requirements for approval of Development Permits. Not applicable to single family detached or duplex dwellings.


  For additional design and construction standards, view Info for builders.

Building codes which deal with accessibility, or barrier-free design, exist to allow proper and safe access to buildings and facilities for all people regardless of physical, sensory or developmental disabilities. The rules for barrier-free design are found in section 3.8 of the Alberta Building Code.

To help explain this material, the Alberta Safety Codes Council has produced a document titled Barrier-Free Design Guide to help explain the barrier-free requirements of the Code. Download free PDF or purchase print version:

  Barrier-Free Design Guide

The current Alberta Building Code and other construction resources are available as free electronic editions from the National Research Council Virtual Store.

  Virtual Store - Free Codes Online

For more information on commercial building standards, visit Building a commercial space.

Service agreements

After a subdivision approval is granted by the Subdivision Authority, or after a Development Permit is issued by a Development Officer, the developer may be required to enter into a service agreement with the City in order to:

Ensure that the development is constructed in accordance to the City of Medicine Hat standards, and to

Ensure that the developer pays for the development’s share of the infrastructure that it will benefit from.

The City may also require that a developer or property owner enter into a service agreement if the developer simply wishes to provide services to existing un-serviced properties in residential, commercial and industrial areas.

The service agreement is a legal contract between the developer (or property owner) and the City of Medicine Hat which outlines the terms and conditions, financial and otherwise, which must be met and agreed upon prior to development proceeding.

Service agreements make provision for construction of municipal improvements such as water mains, storm and sanitary sewers, roads, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, power, street lighting, landscaping and various other items.

icon_PDFReview process for service agreements

icon_PDFService agreement template (view only)

icon_PDFDevelopment agreement template (view only)

icon_PDFConstruction completion certificate form (CCC)

icon_PDFFinal acceptance certificate form (FAC)


icon_PDFPre-qualification of material testing firms 

The City of Medicine Hat requires all consulting and testing agencies conducting material testing on City projects to be pre-qualified. This document describes the requirements for pre-qualification.


is the process whereby a parcel of land is divided into two or more parcels in order to obtain separate legal titles for each parcel. The landowner may make an application for subdivision, or hire an individual such as a professional planning consultant or an Alberta Land Surveyor, to make an application on the owner's behalf. Hiring an expert to manage the application helps ensure the process remains efficient.

To subdivide, an application must be made to Planning & Development Services.

To protect Alberta's historic resources, the Historical Resources Act requires approval at the subdivision stage of development, as well as at the Area Structure Plan stage.
Learn more at Subdivision Historical Resources Act Compliance.

When is subdivision approval needed?

•  When creating lots for new developments.
  When creating separate land titles for each unit of a duplex or row housing.
  When creating separate land titles for each dwelling on a single property.
  When joining properties, or pieces of properties together under one land title.


How to apply for subdivision approval



Please review this user guide before you apply online:
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Development Permits)


In person

1 - Review the subdivision application requirements (PDF).

2 - Complete subdivision application form (PDF).
NOTE: for condominium conversions, you require the condominium application form and checklist (PDF).

3 - Prepare other documents (eg. Certificate of Title, drawing) as indicated in the requirements.

4 - Application fees are payable when you apply. Fees vary depending on the complexity of your proposed subdivision. View current fees.

5 - Submit your application in person to:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Ph. 403-529-8374

TIP: Prior to formally submitting your application, consider a pre-application meeting. You have the option to meet with a Planning or Development Officer to discuss your subdivision proposal and identify any major obstacles or opportunities. These meetings are not for general inquiries. The applicant must have a proposal ready to present. Pre-application meetings can be requested by contacting Planning & Development Services at 403-529-8374.

After you have submitted your application, we will contact you for missing information or further clarification, if necessary. However, this will delay your application, so it's important that your information is accurate and thorough.

Not sure which forms you need, or have other questions?
We are here to help! Call Planning & Development Services at 403-529-8374.


Changing Land Use Designations in the City of Medicine Hat

Rezoning is required if you wish to develop your site (engage in a land use) in a manner that is not allowed by the current zoning. If you are a property owner, or an agent acting on behalf of a property owner, and wish to rezone a property, the process is described below.

The rezoning of a property involves changing a portion of the Land Use Bylaw. Therefore, an application must be made to the City Clerk to amend the Land Use Bylaw. Applications will be referred by the City Clerk to the Municipal Planning Commission and the General Manager of Planning & Development Services for comments.

TIP: It's advisable to contact Planning & Development Services as a first step. A Planning or Development Officer can let you know whether or not the department will support or discourage the application, based on feasibility and potential impacts to the neighbouring properties. This is not an indication of the final decision of City Council, but it may provide you with a measure of guidance in whether or not you wish to continue forward with your application.

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Ph. 403-529-8374


Apply for LUB amendment in person/mail

1 - Complete a Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application form  icon_PDF;

2 - Write a short statement describing the reason for the application. Note:  If the application is for a redesignation to Direct Control District, provide written reasons why particular control should be exercised over the site and why another land use designation is not appropriate;

3 - If you are not the registered owner of the site, you must provide satisfactory evidence that the application is authorized by the registered owner;

4 - Have a copy of the Certificate of Title for the site, issued by a registry office less than 30 days before your application submission;

5 - Have a drawing of an appropriate scale showing: location of the site, its relationship to existing land uses and developments within 60 metres, and proposed zoning;

6 - Application fees are payable when you apply.  2020 rates:  Rezoning $4,758.70;   Text amendment or Direct Control rezoning $6,155.55.    View all current fees.

7 - Submit your application (in person or by mail) to:

City Clerk
3rd floor - Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Ph. 403-529-8220


After you have submitted your application

While there is no official time limit to rezone a property, the total time may take between 4 to 12 months, depending upon the complexity of the application.

If the rezoning application is approved, you must still apply for a development permit to approve any new land use, and apply for a building permit to approve any new construction.

If City Council is of the opinion that the rezoning benefits the community at large, Council may direct that the application fee be returned to the applicant.


Why is lot grading important?

A properly graded lot ensures that surface drainage flows away from buildings. This avoids potential flooding problems and potential damage to neighboring properties. Improper lot grading can result in ponding, flooding, basement seepage, and other water problems.

When a subdivision is designed, engineers calculate lot grading to ensure proper drainage. That is, to ensure that water runs away from buildings, toward the public roadway or rear lane, and then safely flows into the City's storm sewer system.

lot-drainage figures

  icon_PDFLot drainage diagram


Responsibilities of the land developer

The developer creates the overall design of the subdivision and is responsible for setting the lot elevation.

In the Municipal Servicing Standards Manual, grading requirements are specified in section 2.

Standards for detailed design drawings of grading plans are specified in section 8.3.2.

  icon_PDFMunicipal Servicing Standards Manual


Responsibilities of the builder

The builder is responsible for building the house and grading the lot to the approved design. The builder is required to submit a lot grading certificate to the City of Medicine Hat within 12 months of the permission to occupy. They are also responsible for having the lot grading certificate produced by a legal land surveyor, professional engineer or architect. The certificate confirms the lot elevations and grades are within the limits specified by the City.

  icon_PDFSite drainage plan requirements


Property owners' responsibilities

As a property owner, you should know that changing approved lot grades (whether it be for landscaping, a garage, a shed, a driveway, a parking pad, etc.) can alter your property's drainage system and cause localized flooding. This can create problems for you and/or your neighbours, which could result in your being obligated to remedy the situation by properly constructing a retaining wall, concrete swale or other drainage facility.

If you are the owner of a newly-built home and there are problems with the lot grading on your property, your first contact should be the builder. If the issues are not resolved, speak with one of the Engineering staff at Planning & Development Services (contact info below).

If you hire a contractor to do grading work on your property, do not assume the contractor will adhere to the requirements. As the property owner, you are ultimately responsible for work which is done improperly.
See tips for hiring contractors.

  As with any alterations you are planning, it is important to obtain necessary development permits and building permits before you begin.

  For specific home renovation projects, see the Home Improvement Hub.

  For a related topic, visit Slope stability management.

  Drainage regulations are explained in section 5.12 of the City's Land Use Bylaw.


Important aspects of lot grading

  Lot grade at building means the finished landscape elevation after construction is finished, including lawn.

  Sewer invert at property line means the elevation of the sewer service at the property line.

  A slope of between 2 percent and 6 percent should be created away from building foundation.

  There should be no more than 0.15 metre (6 inches) difference between the actual lot elevation (after landscaping) and the design of the lot elevation.

  Walkout basements are viable when the difference between lot grades at front of building and the finished elevation at the rear of lot is a minimum of two metres.

  If part of the lot is higher than the lot grade at the building, the drainage directions on the subdivision elevation maps shown must be maintained.

  Certain types of lots accommodate certain housing types. For instance, grade discrepancies can be minimized if split level homes are built with the high side of the house on the high side of the lot.

  On infill sites, lot grades should be maintained at the same elevations as established for the site at the time of subdivision. New structures should be constructed so that may not cause drainage problems.



If you have any questions about lot grading or drainage, ask to speak with one of the Engineering staff members at:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Ph. 403-529-8374

Does your property include a steep slope? For information and advice related to sloped property, visit the slope stability management page in the Home Improvement Hub.