Unfortunately, there are strict bylaws surrounding the construction of backyard suites and also having a secondary suite on the same lot. In Calgary, having both on the same property is considered illegal; therefore if you want to have one, you can’t have the other.

If you have a secondary suite and want to build a garage suite in Calgary, all you have to do is shut down the secondary residence. And, if you’re in the permitting stage for a garage suite, the city will ask for confirmation that the secondary suite has been decommissioned to proceed with your development permit application.

So then, the question remains: how do you shut down a secondary suite to make way for a backyard suite build? Also see:

How to Shut Down a Secondary Suite

First, it is important to communicate with your architectural designer and backyard suite builder that a secondary suite exists on the premise. This will help everyone plan accordingly to shut down the secondary suite to help push the development permit through at a faster pace.

So how exactly can you shut down a secondary suite in Calgary and proceed with building a backyard suite? You will need to:

  1. Uninstall the cabinetry altogether or re-arrange the cabinets to function as a wet bar instead of a kitchen
  2. Remove the gas stove, microwave and other cooking appliances part of the kitchen
  3. Get a drawing of the decommissioned secondary suite to be submitted on your permit file

After the cooking facilities are decommissioned, a drawing of the secondary suite is required to submit to the city to advance your development permit. You’ll need to hire a company to come into the suite and take room measurements so that these can be used in the drawing (don’t worry, we can help you with all of this).

In most cases, the city should be satisfied with the removal of the cooking facilities as a means of shutting down the suite. However, keep in mind that every secondary suite is different. Your particular case may require more or less tasks to be completed before a city inspector confirms it has been decommissioned and you are allowed to proceed with building a backyard suite.

What is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is defined by the City of Calgary as:

  • A self-contained residence with two or more rooms and includes a kitchen living, sleeping and sanitary facilities.

A legal secondary suite has the following:

  • Bedrooms with proper egress windows
  • A separate bathroom
  • Separate cooking facilities (stove, cabinets, drawers)
  • An entrance that is accessible from the outside without passing through the main dwelling unit.

What is a Garage Suite?

A backyard suite is a self-contained residence separate from the main home or residence. These types of accessory residential dwellings (ADUs) come in many forms:

  • Garage suite – a suite with a garage on ground level and a residence above grade
  • Carriage house/garden suite – a suite built on ground level without a garage
  • Laneway house – could be either a carriage house or a garage suite

Questions about Building a Backyard Suite in Calgary?

Contact us - garage suites calgary

If you’re considering building a backyard suite in Calgary and want to shut down your existing secondary suite, we can help. Give us a call anytime at 403-797-4918 to discuss your options!

We are looking forward to discussing your backyard suite building goals with you!