As Calgary’s premier backyard suite builder, we get asked every week by potential clients about the possibility of building a new suite on top of an existing garage. It may be because these people have a new garage and feel it would be a waste to tear it down, or perhaps they have built a reinforced pad and structure and think it is more than capable of accommodating a new construction project above.

Unfortunately, in all situations you cannot build a new “suite” on top of an existing garage in Calgary due to the structural engineering requirements and building code regulations associated with this type of residential construction. Also see:

Engineering Requirements

Garage suites are carefully designed so that the bottom structure and pad are strong enough to support the weight of the suite above it.

For example, each suite has a joist layout system designed by an engineer that carefully calculates the loads associated with the garage suite structure and ensures that these pass local building codes. These joist systems are engineered for both the garage roof and garage suite roof.

If the project has a basement, the engineering will be more heavy-duty as the floor will have to take on the load of one to three cars above.

Alberta Building Codes & Standards

Another reason why you can’t build a new suite on top of an existing garage in Calgary is because of the building codes and standards set out by the provincial regulator.

Such regulations stipulate what is required for things such as minimum roof and wall insulation ratings, ground frost wall depth and structural maximums/safety load capacities, the last of which directly prevents the construction of a new suite on top of an existing structure.

The development permit process ensures that new construction will not occur on top of an existing garage. The City of Calgary, for example, will not approve any permit requesting to perform such an action.

National Energy Code of Canada

A third reason why your garage and pad must be demolished before building a new backyard suite in Calgary is the National Energy Code of Canada (NECB), implemented nationwide in 2017.

The federal government developed the nationalized code as part of Canada’s commitment to improving the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). The NECB covers a full spectrum of building components and systems including the building envelope, electrical, and mechanical systems.

Hence, it would be incredibly difficult to modify an existing garage that would meet both provincial and federal building codes. Actually, let’s just not go there at all!

Looking to Build a Garage Suite in Calgary?

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The great news is that all demolition associated with any garage suite project we have is included in our pricing. That means you don’t have to worry about paying extra for these services!

Contact us anytime at 403-797-4918 if you have questions about building a backyard suite in Calgary and we will be happy to assist you! We are looking forward to discussing your investment goals with you!