Legal Secondary Suite

Legal Secondary Suite Contractor & Renovation Company Serving Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere.

Secondary Legal Suite ideas are becoming a popular source of additional income for many homeowners across Calgary & Alberta.

A Basement Secondary Suite can be a great use of unused space. It also has reliable long-term investment potential with respect to increased property value & rental income throughout ownership of the home.

Having said this, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when considering a Registered Legal Suite. There are By-Law requirements needed to ensure any home would be approved for secondary suite development.

As of January 2018 the City of Calgary, under mandate from Calgary city council is working toward a more streamlined approach to the Legal Basement Suite building guidelines to make it easier for homeowners & contractors alike.

Prior to the mandate, basement construction projects such as this were a little tricky to get approvals at an efficient pace to keep up with the many applications being submitted to city council. The review process could sometimes take a few months as each application had to go through city council & be voted on.

Now the review & approval process is completed by the Building Planning & Development office which handles the standard basement development applications as well, making it much more efficient to complete the required paperwork. The average process now takes 4-8 weeks.

At Urban Square Developments we are an experienced Legal Secondary Suite Contractor in Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks & Chestermere. If you are considering a Basement Suite project we would welcome you to use our Contact Us page to get in touch. We would be happy to schedule a convenient time to meet & discuss your project & help with advice to make the process as simple & straightforward as possible. We can handle all the paperwork & permit applications to make the process much easier for homeowners.


Some things homeowners should keep in mind when considering a basement rental unit is there a few items that are required to meet specific Building & Development codes. Some of the following are:

– Seperate entrance for tenants

– Separate Heating System

– Fire Separation & Safety between units

– Egress window size for safety in bedrooms

– Electrical Panel & Mechanical access for both units

– Designated parking Etc


So as you can see there are a number of different requirements needed to properly complete a fully compliant Secondary Suite than a normal Basement Development.The City of Calgary will not sign off on these projects without the proper paperwork & requirements & we’ve seen instances of homeowners making costly & avoidable mistakes trying to circumvent these requirements. It is far easier to complete it correctly the first time & avoid any potential issues in the future. We are Licensed Legal Suite Contractors & we can help homeowners with the process to help avoid these issues.


When it comes to total Legal Suite cost there is no doubt that the initial investment will be higher than a standard Basement Construction project. The specific requirements to meet safety & Building Codes are different & should be thought of as such. It should also be kept in mind that you are essentially building a self contained apartment in a basement. All the procedures, safety measures & materials used to build your main floor must be duplicated downstairs. This means kitchen/appliance components, laundry components, heating/ventilation components, bed & bath components etc.

Now having said that, if completed correctly & with a little forward thinking a basement rental unit can be an excellent source of both short term & long term investment potential. The average new build has a 10-15% ROI long term property value increase & whatever rental income collected in the short term. It’s a win-win by most standards.

Choices of finishings are the main factor in total development costs for any project. The questions a homeowner should consider when trying to estimate a budget are personal preference in almost every case:

Does the homeowner want the kitchen to have an island..?

What type of appliances are being considered..?

Stone or Laminate countertops..?

Is there a seperate entrance existing or is one needed..?


There are so many variables that make each Legal Basement Suite unique. Typically a fully Legal Secondary Suite with all required permits & completed correctly can cost between 55k-75k+ and above for higher end finishings or large basements. Again you have to remember, you are building a fully contained apartment in a basement. These average costs consist of new kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances, separate heating system, seperate entrance, labour, permits, materials & required licensed trades (ie electrical, plumbing, gas, hvac etc)

To assess any type of accurate project cost on a Registered Legal Suite project, we would welcome to schedule a time to view the space & discuss the ideas or requirements a homeowner may be considering.. We view each project with objectivity, discuss options, and give our best advice to help with the most important decisions that need to be made.

Many homeowners are surprised when discussing what the City of Calgary requires to develop a legal rental unit & we are happy to help homeowners with the information needed to make informed decisions & make any project run smoothly.

Although there is some red tape that come with these projects, the process is relatively straightforward & can be completed fairly easy if you know the process & what the city inspectors will require to meet all building code requirements.


We are Licensed Basement Suite Developers and the subject of permits comes up often in our site visits speaking with homeowners. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of completing these projects properly & meeting all Building Code requirements. We understand the human factor that says: “If I don’t get permits it will be cheaper & I won’t need to do these extra requirements.” Unfortunately nothing can be further from the truth. Here is a must-read Calgary Herald article that will make clear the importance of secondary legal suite permits

The City of Calgary is currently in a 2 yr ‘grace period’ for all outstanding illegal suites in the city. They have given this ‘grace period’ so homeowners have the time to bring their properties up to code & meet all safety requirements.

If you are considering a Secondary Suite Development in Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks or Chestermere, feel free to Contact Us & we would be happy to set up a time to discuss what you may be considering for your space & offer our advice to to help the process run as smoothly as possible.