5 things about spring renos

Tips heading into patio season

Spring has sprung, meaning the handyman in your family is likely itching to tackle that outdoor project that’s been nagging at him or her for months.

With patio season in sight, here are five tips from the City of Calgary’s Planning and Development department before tackling your spring reno project:

Backyard decks
Before you start, the City suggests determining whether you’re building a pergola or roof structure that is attached to your house. If it’s an extension to the house, it’s considered an addition, in which case you will need to apply for a building permit. For uncovered decks that are not located on the same facade as a basement walkout entry, the maximum height is 1.5 metres in a developed area. In both the developed and developing areas, the height of a deck cannot exceed 0.3 metres above the main floor level of a house.

Front decks
Front decks are subject to different rules than those built in the side and rear yards. According to the City of Calgary, they must be at least three metres from the front property line, but can vary depending on the contextual front setback.

Privacy walls
A privacy wall is required when a deck is located in 1.2 metres of a shared property line (i.e. semi-detached, rowhouse or townhouse). The City of Calgary says the wall must be no less than two metres yet not greater than three metres in height, measured from the surface of the deck. If a privacy wall is being installed on a balcony for a single-detached dwelling, the maximum height is two metres.

Balconies
The City of Calgary categorizes balconies as either open or recessed. Open balconies must not project more than 1.85 metres from the front of building to which it is attached. Recessed balconies, meanwhile, must not exceed 10 square metres in floor area. Regardless of how they are categorized, all balconies must not project into any side or front setback area; they may project a maximum of 1.5 metres into any rear setback area; in most cases, they must be at least six metres from the rear property line; and the may be a maximum length of 3.1 metres when located in a rear setback area.

Zero-lot lines
The City of Calgary does not provide any rules specific to zero-lot lines. It defines these types of properties as those that allow for a deck along the side. They commonly exist in conjunction with a maintenance access right of way on the opposite side of the lot.

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