Secondary suites (sometimes called basements suites, mother-in-law suites or granny suites) are self-contained units within a single family home. A secondary suite has its own kitchen, bathroom and entrance.
Secondary suites must comply with the Alberta Fire Code and Alberta Building Code, as well as municipal bylaws. If your suite was built after December 31, 2006, it must have:
- a separate mailing address
- a ceiling height of at least 1.95m
- direct access to the outdoors
- a window in each bedroom
- fire protected walls and ceiling between the secondary suite and the main home and around common exits by the use of ½ inch of drywall
- interconnected smoke alarms that cover both the secondary suite and the main home
- an independent heating and ventilation system
- enclosed gas-fired furnaces and water heaters that are in an enclosed space that is insulated with ½ inch drywall
If your suite was built before December 31, 2006, the above requirements may not apply. To be legal a safety codes officer must approve the existing structure of your secondary suite.
The secondary suite must also comply with municipal bylaws which vary throughout Alberta.