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What Are the Building Codes for Secondary Suites in Alberta?

Secondary suites are a great way to give your home an extra living zone complete, with a kitchen, bathroom, and second entrance. They are perfect for creating extra space for your growing family or as a way to make a little extra money on the side by renting it as an apartment.

But, before you go ahead and start building a secondary suite in Calgary, you need to know the building code requirements.

Alberta Building Codes for Secondary Suites

Heating and Ventilation Systems

If you’re planning to build a secondary suite on your property, it needs to have an independent heating system and an independent ventilation system. That means it can’t rely on the same system that is used in the main house.

A heating system that serves more than one dwelling unit must be designed and installed under the supervision of a registered engineer. Heating equipment requires provisions for access for inspection, maintenance and cleaning. 


Plumbing is an unavoidable headache when it comes to home renovations, and that’s no different for secondary suites. Secondary suites require a supply of hot water and at least one kitchen sink, a bathtub or shower, a lavatory (bathroom sink) and a water closet (toilet). Also, the sanitary line leaving the house requires back-flow prevention at the branch drain of each unit.


Unlike your heating and ventilation systems, you’re allowed to use the same electrical panel for your house and a secondary suite – as long as there are no shared branch circuits between the suites and the suites are not individually metered. Just make sure the electrical panel is accessible to both units and isn’t located where they can easily be damaged.

(If you want to learn more about the standards for secondary suites in Calgary, click here.)

With over 25 years of experience at Calgary Home Renovations by Aspire, we provide professionalism, quality workmanship and attention to detail that will ensure our clients are 100% satisfied with their Calgary home renovations. Our services include Calgary kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, basement renovations and development, home additions, and garage additions. Contact us today by visiting our website or calling us at (403) 796-4044!

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