Decks patios and balconies

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deck&patioBuilding a residential deck, patio or balcony without permits can be costly and may force property owners to do more work than they planned, to fix deficiencies. The information on this page will help guide you through your project.

Important terms:

Deck means a horizontal structure, raised at least 0.6 meters (24") above grade, that is intended for use as an outdoor amenity space. A deck may be covered or uncovered, or enclosed with screens and windows. A deck may be attached to a residence or freestanding.

Patio means an uncovered horizontal structure with a surface height no greater than 0.6 meters (24") above grade at any point, that is intended for use as an outdoor amenity space.

Balcony means a horizontal platform that is attached to a building above the first storey.


Remember, we are here to help! If you have questions, contact us:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6
Ph. 403.529.8374


A development permit (DP) 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 City's Land Use Bylaw. DPs are issued by the City's Planning staff.

A building permit (BP) covers how it is built. It allows the construction/demolition of structures contingent on meeting the requirements of the Alberta Building Code. BPs are issued by the City's Safety Codes Officers.

The type of structure being built will determine what permits you require. Height measurements indicated below must be made from grade (ground level).

For application forms, see How do I obtain permits, below.


When is a development permit required?

In residential areas, a development permit is required when:

  The proposed deck, patio or balcony will be covered or enclosed.

  The size of the proposed deck or patio will result in total site coverage of more than 45% of the lot's area (in low density residential areas). See Zoning and land use.

  The size of the proposed deck or patio will result in total site coverage of more than 65% of the lot's area (in medium density residential areas).

  The proposed deck, patio or balcony will encroach into established setbacks. See below:


icon_PDFSetback diagram

If none of the above applies to your project, it is likely that a development permit is not required.

If one or more of the above applies to your project, DP approval may be conditional, or it may be denied.

NOTE: If a development permit is required, you must be issued your development permit before you may apply for a building permit.

When is a building permit required?

Due to safety codes regulations, a building permit is required when:

  The height of the proposed deck is 0.6 meters (24") or higher from grade.

  Adding a balcony to an existing building.

If neither of the above applies to your project, it is likely that a building permit is not required.

Uncovered patios typically do not require a building permit.


What other permits/approvals are required?

Other permits (below) may be required if your proposed project involves specific considerations:

  Electrical permit: Required for installing or modifying electrical systems, including lights or outlets.

  Demolition Permit: Required for demolishing any existing building or structure.

  Land Owner Consent Form: Required if the property is a part of a condominium, or is otherwise not owned by the applicant.


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 inspector.

  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. Remember, we are here to help! Call Planning and Development Services at 403.529.8374. 

Visit: Tips for hiring contractors



Please review these user guides before you apply online:
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Development Permits)
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Building Permits)


In person

You can print the application form you need from the list below, complete it and visit Planning & Development Services. Or just drop by and we will assist you.

A permit fee is payable when you apply. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee Schedule.

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374


icon_PDFDevelopment Permit Application

icon_PDFResidential Deck Checklist 

icon_PDFBuilding Permit Application 

icon_PDFLand owner consent (Building permits)


How long will it take to obtain my permits?

Development Permits: Timelines vary based on the type of application and the impacts to neighbours. Learn more > 

Building Permits: Typically less than 6 business days, provided that an approved development permit (if required) has been released. Learn more > 

If a building permit was a requirement for your project, then you must book City inspections. At the discretion of the Safety Codes Officer, most deck projects require rough-in and final inspections, depending on the complexity of the project.

Book online


Please review this user guide before you book online:
icon_PDFUser Guide for ePermit (Inspections)


Book by phone/fax

Phone 403.529.8208 (24 hours)

OR download the inspection request fax sheet, and fax it to 403.502.8036.

For general inquiries, phone Planning & Development Services at 403.529.8374.

For more information, visit Inspections.

To learn about building guidelines and sample construction drawings for decks, download the document below. Please be aware that this is not a comprehensive manual, and does not cover patios or balcony additions. If you have no previous knowledge or experience with building such projects, your best option is to hire a competent builder who is eligible to receive permits.

icon_PDFBuilding guidelines - residential decks

When planning your deck, patio or balcony, it is important to learn where and what underground and overhead utilities are located on your property. Locates are done free of charge, but require a couple of days notice to obtain.

If applying for a building permit for your project, it is required that you also include utility locate slips. To obtain them, contact:

  Alberta One-Call (Electric, Gas, Water, Sewer, Telus) 1.800.242.3447

  Shaw 1-866-344-7429