Getting the go ahead

Before anything gets built, there is paperwork to consider.

Time is money. It’s true in life and it’s true in the development industry. 

That simple equation puts pressure on local governments and builders. The key is to find a balance between speed and careful consideration.

The stakes are high. Delays in getting approvals add to developers’ carrying costs. Those costs get passed on to homebuyers. That means simplifying the approval process can help make homes more affordable.

To that end, the City of Calgary has created Calgary Approvals Coordination. It guides the approval process and delivery of land development. It’s a big job. Approvals Coordination works on behalf of other City departments such as:

  • Roads
  • Water Resources
  • Calgary Fire Department 
  • Waste & Recycling Services
  • Environmental Management 
  • Land Information and Mapping 

Even that breakdown—Approvals Coordination at its most basic—hints at the complexity of the issues involved.

Things get more involved at the policy level. The Calgary development process is a multi-stage affair. Approvals Coordination oversees things like the Development Site Servicing Plan. The DSSP ensures developers meet City standards related to water, sanitary and stormwater systems.

Approvals Coordination also monitors the standard development agreement. That policy outlines the responsibilities of developers when it comes to construction, maintenance and creating public infrastructure. In other words, it influences how and where the city grows.

The City of Calgary and developers have also taken steps to streamline that agreement. These are welcome, mutually beneficial moves. Even with these improvements to the process, it can take between 9 and 13 years for a developer to go from dirt to door

Along the way, there are reviews and approvals to secure. The ins and outs of City policy can be a bit dry. But when people learn that it all affects home prices, they tend to perk right up.

March 12th, 2020
Updated: March 16th, 2020

Calgary’s Approvals Coordination division deals with a lot of complex issues, but it has a simple mission: streamline the process of development in all parts of the city.