Building a New Home?

What you need to know:
New Builder Licensing
New Home Warranty

New Builder Licensing

New requirements came into effect on December 1, 2017 for residential builders in Alberta.  All residential builders in Alberta are required to have a builder licence in order to obtain permits for new homes and to construct new homes.

Don’t wait! You are encouraged to apply for your full licence now, in advance of the construction season, to avoid delays that could impact your business.

Download the New Builder Brochure and Fact Sheet.

Who Requires a Builder Licence?

If you build residential homes in Alberta, you will need a builder licence. You can apply for either a General Contractor or a Developer Licence.

A General Contractor licence is required for homes where the Alberta Building Code does not require the involvement of a coordinating registered professional. This includes homes that are up to four dwelling units.

A Developer licence is required for homes where the Alberta Building Code requires the involvement of a coordinating registered professional. This includes homes that are five or more dwelling units.

When Should I Apply?

Don’t wait! You are encouraged to apply for your licence now. Applying now will avoid processing delays that could impact your business.

What if I have a Provisional Licence? Do I need to apply now?

Your provisional licence is set to expire on May 1st, so you will need to submit an application for a full licence in advance of May 1st to ensure there are no interruptions to your business. If you wait until the last minute, your licence may not be processed by the time your provisional licence expires. This will impact your ability to obtain building permits for new homes and to register new homes.

In order to submit an application for a full licence, you will need to go through all four steps outlined below.

How do I apply?

Step 1: Request access to the New Home Buyer Protection System Builder’s Portal

Visit http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/builders-portal-information to submit an NHBPS Access Request. If you already have an account, log in at https://www.maconnect.alberta.ca

Step 2: Fill out your builder profile

You will be asked to provide company contact information, contact information for all directors and officers, and copies of driver’s licences or other government-issued photo identification acceptable to the Registrar for directors and officers. Please do not provide your Social Insurance Number or Health Card Number.

You will need to list all building-related associated organizations. This information must align with the provincial corporate registry (CORES).

Step 3: Fill out the licence application under the “Applications” tab

On the Part 1: Company Information tab, use the radio buttons to select the appropriate licence class.

On the Part 2: Licence Application tab, provide responses to all items on the application questionnaire.

Step 4: Pay for your application

You can either pay the $600 application fee online, or mail a cheque or money order along with the invoice. Your application will not be processed until payment is received.

In order to pay online, you will need to make sure your web browser pop-up blocker has been turned off. Please turn off your browser pop-up blocker while you make payment, and then turn it back on once payment has been made.

For more information about applying, please refer to the user manual at: http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/documents/nhbpo/NHBPS_v2_RB_User_Manual.pdf.

You can also call 1-866-421-6929 or email builderlicensing@gov.ab.ca

Builder Licensing FAQ

What are the fees?

An initial application cost $600. Each renewal application costs $500.

How long is the licence valid?

One year from the date of issue, unless otherwise stated by the Registrar.

What are the implementation timelines?

Prior to December 1st - No licence is required to issue building permits, only warranty coverage.

December 1, 2017 - Program requirements come into effect. Provisional licences are issued to existing builders in good standing.

March 31, 2018 - All builders, including those with a provisional licence, are encouraged to submit their licence application before this date.

May 1, 2018 - Provisional licences expire. All builders must have a full licence after this date in order to obtain building permits for new homes and to build new homes in Alberta.

Are there different licence types?

Yes, builders can apply for either a developer or general contractor licence.

A provisional licence will cover both classes of licence.

Can a Developer build small homes?

  • A developer will be able to build homes where the Alberta Building Code requires involvement by a coordinating registered professional.
  • A General Contractor will be able to build small homes, where the Alberta Building Code does not require involvement by a coordinating registered professional.
  • A developer will be able to hire a General Contractor to build small homes.

Can a licensed General Contractor build large homes and buildings?

  • Yes, if a licensed developer is overseeing the project.

How long is a provisional licence valid?

  • Until May 1, 2018.
  • All builders are required to have a builder licence to obtain building permits for new homes, including condominiums.  
  • All builders are encouraged to apply for their licence before March 31, 2018, in advance of the construction season, to avoid processing delays that could impact their business.

Do I need to bring my builder licence each time I apply for a building permit?

  • Yes, you will need to present your builder licence each time you apply for a building permit.

I am building my own home. Do I need a licence?

  • Owner Builders constructing their own home are not required to apply for a builder licence but are required to apply to the Registrar for an Owner Builder Authorization.

Does builder licensing apply to renovations?

  • Only when a residential construction project requires new home warranty coverage will the renovator need to have a builder licence. Other renovation activities do not fall within the scope of builder licensing.

Does builder licensing impact trade sub-contractors?

  • Trade sub-contractors are not required to have a builder licence. The builder is responsible for managing the project, including which sub-trades to hire and how much financial risk they will assume. Sub-trades are the responsibility of the builder and are not covered under builder licensing.

Where can I go for more assistance on how to apply?

New Home Warranty

Every new home built in Alberta is protected under warranty, thanks to Alberta’s New Home Buyer Protection Act. All new residential construction including single family homes, multi-family homes, cottages, cabins, and modular and manufactured homes will be required to show proof of warranty before a building permit will be issued. Renovations and substantial reconstructions may also require warranty coverage. 

The minimum required terms of warranty coverage under the new Act will be:

  • One year labour and materials;
  • Two years for defects in labour and material related to delivery and distribution systems;
  • Five years on the building envelope, with a requirement for the warranty provider to offer the option to purchase 2 additional years of coverage; and
  • Ten years for major structural components.

Owner-builders will be exempt from the new home warranty requirement unless the property is sold within the warranty period.  In that case, when the property is sold, the owner-builder must provide the buyer with warranty coverage for the remaining portion of the warranty period.

How will this affect you?

Proof of warranty and/or a warranty exemption is required prior to the issuance of a building permit.  Building permits are issued by The Inspections Group and are mandatory to build a new home.  If you do not have proof of warranty, then a building permit cannot be issued.

The new home warranty will cost approximately $1700 - $2000 for an average home, or less than one per cent of the average house cost.

When purchasing a home you will be able to access a public registry, which will track warranty for homes that require coverage.  Information in the registry will include key warranty dates and contact information for the warranty provider as well as the amount of remaining coverage.  The registry can be accessed on-line at www.HomeWarranty.Alberta.ca.

Where can you get further information?

If you have any questions with a building project, contact a New Home Warranty Compliance Officer at 1-866-421-6929.  Additional information is also available at http://www.municipalaffairs.gov.ab.ca/alberta_home_warranties.cfm, which includes a link to Frequently Asked Questions about the New Home Warranty Program. 

What are the penalties for non-compliance under the Act?

Penalties for failure to provide warranty are a maximum fine of $100,000 for a first offence and a maximum of $500,000 for second and subsequent offences.