Receiving a compliance stamp on your Real Property Report is an important step in any real estate transaction in Alberta, especially in Calgary. Over the years we have surveyed thousands of Real Property Reports and have compiled a list of our top 6 reasons why RPR’s do not receive immediate compliance from the City of Calgary. Although most RPR’s pass through the compliance stage without any issues, there are always a few that don’t.
The City of Calgary has Land Use Bylaws for each community within the city. These bylaws stipulate what you can and cannot build on each Lot. They also provide a guide as to where certain objects should be located on a property, as well as the specific size and height of objects like a deck or patio.
We can never fully define every reason why an RPR does not receive immediate compliance at the City of Calgary, but the following six reasons seem to consistently show up.
Our Top Six
- Deck Setback
- Covered Deck Setback
- Height of Decks
- Sheds – Attached or Detached
- Sheds and Accessory buildings
- Overland Drainage Right of Way
1. Deck Setback
In Calgary, a distance of 6.0m is required from the end of a deck to the rear property line, and most homes in Calgary will have this required distance in place already. Properties that generally run into trouble are those where the rear deck was rebuilt to a different set of dimensions than the required 6.0m. Always check the Land Use Bylaws before rebuilding your deck.
The city defines a setback as the distance between an object and the property line and is always measured in metric.
2. Covered Decks
A distance of 7.5m is required for all covered decks or any portion of a covered deck. Enclosing your deck, adding a large attached pergola, or extending the roofline to cover the deck is a very popular idea these days. However, any of these items will immediately extend the required setback distance from the deck to the rear property line. The original required distance of 6.0m for an uncovered deck will now be bumped up to 7.5m. Why? The City of Calgary considers any and all portions of a covered deck to be a part of the home itself, and the setback distance for a home is….. You guessed it, 7.5m.
This bylaw only applies to portions of a deck that are covered. Any portion of a deck that is not covered is governed by the original 6.0m distance to the rear property line. Insert picture here.
3. Maximum Deck Height
The maximum deck height is 1.5m. This distance is measured from the ground to the surface area of a deck. Exceptions to this rule are homes with a walkout basement and homes where the owner or contractor specifically applied to have a deck built at a height greater than the maximum height of 1.5m
4. Sheds and Accessory Buildings
Within Calgary, sheds and accessory buildings that measure under 10sqm currently do not have any bylaws concerning them. But, distinguishing them as attached or detached from a home or garage can play a very important part in the compliance review.
Let’s examine this further. As mentioned above, the city does not have bylaws concerning sheds and accessory buildings that are under 10sqm in size, unless however they are attached to another structure like a home or garage. If this is the case, then the size of the shed or accessory building is of no relevance and the City of Calgary will now consider the shed or accessory building to be a part of the structure that it is attached to. This means that the shed or accessory building will be governed by the bylaws of the structure that it is physically attached to.
The simplest way to prevent any sheds or accessory buildings from impeding a compliance stamp is to make sure that they are NOT physically attached to a home or garage.
We define physically attached as being screwed, nailed, or physically attached to a home, or garage in a way that is not easily removed.
5. Sheds and Accessory Buildings
Unlike accessory buildings under 10 sqm, pergolas, sheds, gazebos, and other accessory buildings that are larger than 10sqm in size do have bylaws that govern where they can be placed on property. These structures are large enough that the city requires them to have their own setback distance between other objects and property lines. These set back distances are as follows:
- Distance from Accessory building to rear and side property lines must be 0.60m or greater.
- Must be located at least 1.0m in distance from other buildings on the property
6. Overland Drainage Right-of-Way
If you have a concrete swale in the back of your yard, then there is a good chance that there is a city right of way on both sides of the swale. Inset picture here.
Any objects or structures that cover the concrete swale will require immediate removal before compliance can be given. Any RPR’s showing structures or accessory buildings that are located within the Overland Drainage Right-of-Way, but not covering the concrete swale, will receive a compliance stamp as well as an encroachment stamp.
Encroachment stamps are given when structures are located within city property or a city right-of-way. RPR’s that receive an encroachment stamp will require further review at the City of Calgary. The location of a city right-of-way is shown on Real Property Reports. Find more information on locating city right-of-ways here
When issues arise at the City of Calgary concerning compliance, they will often work with the survey company who submitted the original RPR, and the property owner to resolve all issues. This process is called a relaxation of the bylaw, or relaxation for short, and takes approximately 10 weeks or more to complete. Find more information on bylaws and the relaxation process here.
We understand that this can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we make ourselves available to help answer all questions that you might have concerning Real Property Reports. We work with the City of Calgary daily and can help walk you through the majority of RPR related compliance issues to find the best possible solution.
Contact us today, we look forward to hearing from you. 403-277-1272
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