The Land Subdivision Process in Alberta

Simply put, land subdivision involves splitting a parcel of land into one or more parcels with separate titles. Subdividing land in Alberta can be a lengthy and complicated process, involving multiple steps before the subdivision can be registered with Land Titles. To help ensure your next land subdivision goes as smoothly as possible, we’ve outlined the different types of land subdivision in Alberta, as well as briefly explained the land subdivision process.

Types of Land Subdivision in Alberta

No matter whether you’re taking one lot and splitting it into two or altering the position of an existing lot boundary, you need a subdivision. What type of subdivision you need, however, depends on your particular circumstances at the time, which is why we always recommend consulting with a subdivision survey company as early as possible to determine the most efficient and cost-effective subdivision method. Some of the most common ways for subdividing land in Alberta include:

Subdivision by Legal Survey and Plan

The most common subdivision method, Subdivision by Legal Survey and Plan involves a full subdivision survey of the property to be subdivided. This is conducted to confirm the boundaries for the original parcel of land, and once that’s done, legal survey posts are placed at the corners of the new parcels to create the new boundaries. These posts are generally left in place to easily identify the individual land parcels, and each new parcel will be assigned a new legal description, such as Lot, Block, or Plan.

Subdivision by Instrument

Also known as Separation of Title, Subdivision by Instrument is when two or more lots on the same title need to be reverted to their original size to allow the title owner to split the title in two. This subdivision method is common on duplexes and infills in inner cities and on older subdivisions and can be a much quicker way to subdivide a property than a legal survey, provided the new lots are the same size as the original subdivision.

Subdivision by Descriptive Plan

A subdivision by descriptive plan does not require a full subdivision survey, nor does it involve legal boundary posts. The method is common in rural areas and on farmsteads but only applies in certain situations requiring pre-approval from Land Titles. Nevertheless, it’s generally cheaper than conducting a full subdivision survey and installing boundary posts.

Subdividing Land in Alberta

Subdividing land in Alberta can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months, so it’s worth starting early to avoid any unexpected delays if you intend on selling your land. How long the subdivision takes depends on a number of factors, so it’s best to err on the conservative side and plan for a minimum of 6 months. The subdivision itself consists of 7 distinct steps, including:

Municipality Application

Requirements differ by municipality and you can either submit the subdivision application yourself or have a subdivision survey company, like Arc Surveys, submit it on your behalf.

Municipal Review, Assessment, and Circulation

The municipality will do a thorough review and circulate it to different agencies for their input. This step can take 2 to 3 months. Next, the municipality will thoroughly review your subdivision application and circulate it among different agencies for their input. This is one of the longest steps when subdividing land in Alberta and can take from 2 to 3 months.

Conditional Approval

Once the review is done, you’ll be issued a conditional approval by your municipality that outlines certain conditions that need to be met before your application is fully approved.

Satisfaction of Approval Conditions

At this point, you’ll need to pay all necessary taxes, fulfill the conditions imposed in your conditional approval, and have a subdivision survey company complete a legal survey and plan of the property.

Signing Documents and Agreements

Once your subdivision survey is complete, it’s time to prepare and sign all the legal documents required by Land Titles, such as the Consent to Register Plan and other related agreements.

Endorsement Submission

After all approval conditions are met, you can apply to the municipality for final approval — also known as Endorsement. Should all go to plan, the municipality will issue a Subdivision Authority Approval Letter, which you’ll need to submit to Land Titles.

Registering Approved Subdivision with Land Titles

The last step in the subdivision process in Alberta involves submitting all consent forms, agreements, and your Subdivision Authority Approval Letter to Land Titles to register the subdivision. Registration generally takes 3 to 4 weeks and once complete, Land Titles will issue the new titles – marking the completion of the Alberta subdivision process.

Contact a Professional Subdivision Survey Company Today

If you’d like more information on the land subdivision process in Alberta, subdivision surveys, or just want to complete your land subdivision in the easiest and most stress-free way possible, get in touch with Arc Surveys today. With decades of combined experience in the land survey industry, our team possesses a wide range of skills and experience to help you with all your surveying needs. Call us at 403-277-1272 to find out more or fill out our online form for a free quote on your next subdivision survey.

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