Building a Detached Residential Garage.

 In Garages

Garage Floor Plan

Do I need a permit?

Yes, the Alberta Building Code and the City of Calgary, require a Building Permit prior to the construction of all detached residential garages. Additional trade specific permits are required for the building services, such as electrical, gas, and heating.


The following are the typical rules for building a detached garage in the City of Calgary.


Garage Size

  • The maximum size of a detached garage (Accessory Building) is 75 m² (807 Square feet).
  • The detached garage cannot have a larger foot print than the main residential building.
  • The maximum height of a detached garage is 4.6m (15′1″), measured from the finished floor of the garage.
  • The maximum inside wall height of a detached garage is 3.0m (9′10″), measured from the finished floor of the garage to the underside of the truss.
  • A detached garage can only be one storey high and cannot have a roof deck.
  • Properties with R-C1N, R-1N, R-C2, R-2 and R-2M land use zoning, where the lot width is less than 9 m (29½′) require 2 parking stalls in the rear yard. The minimum size of garage that you can build to meet the parking rules is a 20′ x 20′.
  • Detached garages that are larger than 55 m² (592 sq. ft, approximately a 24×24) require either a 1.2 m frost wall or an engineered foundation.

Garage Location

  • A detached garage should be in the rear or side yard, it cannot be built in the front yard.
  • A detached garage must be built at least 1.0m (±3′3″) from your house.
  • In most residential properties, a detached garage must be built 0.6m (2′) from the side and rear property lines. With the following exceptions;
    • If a detached garage has vehicle access off a street; it must have a driveway, with a minimum length of the 0m (±20′) and width of 3.0m (±10′). The driveway setback is measured from the back of the sidewalk or curb, if there is no sidewalk.
    • If your house is on a corner lot, and the vehicle entrance is from a lane, the detached garage must be built 1.2m (±4′) from the side property.
    • If your house is on a corner lot, and there is no lane, the detached garage must be built 3.0m (±10′) from the side property line.
  • The side property set backs can be reduced from 0.6m (2′) to zero, if the garage is built with a fire rated property line wall, the eaves are built in compliance with the fire code restriction, and the exterior of the property line wall is finished with maintenance-free materials. Water run off from the roof must also be directed onto your own property. Property line construction can also be allowed through a private maintenance easement with the owner of the adjacent lot.
  • Many new homes are zoned with zero lot lines and have existing maintenance right-of way agreements and pre-established rules on where the detached garage should be built.
  • You are not allowed to build a detached garage on a utility or maintenance right-of-way. The rights-of-way are outlined on your Real Property Report (U.R.W & M.R.W) and have detailed explanations in the Certificate of Title.
  • Provincial legislation prohibits the construction of a detached garage over a gas line. There are several options to deal with this, the easiest is to build the garage 30cm (1 ft.) clear of the existing gas line. If this is not practical, you can contract ATCO to install a protective sleeve or re-route the existing gas line.


Lot Coverage

  • In most communities in Calgary, the maximum lot coverage for all buildings on a parcel cannot exceed 45% of the lot size.
  • The allowable percentage of coverage depends on your homes land use designation, summarized as follows;
  • R-C1L(s)             40% Lot Coverage
  • R-C1N 45% or 50%, if your lot is under 300m² and 10m wide
  • R-1N 50%, 60% if your lot is under 300m² and 8.7m wide, or 45% for           Semi-Detached home.
  • R-2 45%, or 50% for Semi-Detached homes.
  • R-2M 45%, 50% for Semi-Detached homes, or 60% for Row or Townhouses.

Proposed over-sized or over-height detached garages, that do not fall with in the limitations of the above rules can be applied for through the Development Permit process with the City of Calgary planning department. Relaxation of the Land Use Bylaws are dealt with on a case by case basis.

The surrounding cities of Airdrie and Okotoks, and the municipal districts of Foothills and Rockyview all require building permits for residential garages, have similar land use regulations, and more rural appropriate building setback distances.


All detached garages must be built in compliance with any restrictive covenants, caveats or other legal restrictions that are registered on your properties Certificate of Title.


Obtaining the proper permitting for your detached garage will ensure that your new garage meets all of the Land Use Bylaws and is built in accordance to the Alberta Building Codes.


SHAW Renovation & Construction, is a family-owned company that has been serving Calgary for over 30-year.   We strive to provide the highest level of workmanship and customer satisfaction.


Set up a FREE detached garage consultation.


Call 403.233.9367, email or visit

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