How to Spot a Bylaw Infraction

What is a pergola?

Surveyors show pergolas on Real Property Reports because they are considered additions to the house or a building like a shed.

Surveyor Pergola Overland Drainage

Encroachment into an Overland Drainage Right-of-Way

It has been my experience that many people do not understand that a pergola is treated as a building, which implies the previous homeowner may have skipped the building permit application process. As a result, pergolas are a common source of bylaw issues. In this picture, the homeowner has built a wooden pergola that extends up to the concrete swale in the back yard. This was immediately flagged as non-compliant. The landowner was given the choice to move it or apply for an agreement to keep it in place.
Surveyor Pergola encroachment onto neighbor over fence

Encroachment onto the Neighboring Lot

If the pergola is not attached to the house, as pictured here, it will be considered an accessory residential building similar to a shed. As such, it must comply with the applicable rules. If the structure was attached to the house, it would then be considered an addition to the house and would be subject to the same land-use requirements as any other house addition.

There are many resources available from the City of Calgary

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