Change of Use

What is a change of use?

Any commercial space that is changing from one classification to another qualifies as a change of use, and a Change of Use Permit is required. Opening a new restaurant in a space that was formerly an office is an example of a change of use.

Why is a permit required to change the use?

It is important to ensure your business is located in the correct and appropriate district/zoning, and that your business, your staff and your customers are safe in that space.

The requirements of the Change of Use Permit will allow Inspections and Licensing to conduct a full review under the Land Use Bylaw and the Safety Codes Act, by creating a Development Permit and a Safety Codes Building Permit, if necessary.

Explanation of Permits

Development Permits

A Development Permit is required to ensure that a business can operate in the proposed space under the district/zoning. Things like parking, floor area, compatibility of adjacent uses, or if there are any restrictions on the property are items included in the application review.

What district do I fit in?

Find the lists of allowable uses within the Land Use Bylaw:

If your business is unique and doesn't fit within our regular land use districts, please contact us at 403-342-8190 or

How long does it take to process?

In most cases, it will take 2-7 business days to review and issue.

Where a business use is considered discretionary, review of the application will take 2-7 business days, and then there is a 21 day appeal/advertising period. This appeal/advertising period is required under the Provincial Municipal Government Act. It allows someone to appeal a discretionary application if they feel they are affected by the decision.

Note: During building season (April 1 - October 31, processing times may take longer, due to the number of applications that are submitted during this time.

What are the fees?

Please refer to 'Schedule A' of the Development Permit Fee Bylaw to find the fees associated with Development Permits.

Building Permits

A Building Permit may be required to review the safety components of an existing commercial space, and ensure it meets the requirements for your specific business. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure the space is safe for you, your staff and future customers.

What if the space is 'move-in' ready?

Even if you are not doing construction/renovations to the space, a building permit may be needed to review some of the following:

  • Washrooms
  • Fire rated walls
  • Fire alarm system
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Emergency exits and lighting
  • Cooking appliances

Again, our ultimate goal is your safety!

What is required if I am doing renovations to the space?

You will still require a Building Permit, however, we would classify this as tenant improvements rather than a change of use to the space. Additional documents will be required. Please check out our Commercial Renovations and Alterations page for more information.

How long does it take to process?

  • A change of use only, no construction, could take 7-14 business days for review and issuance.
  • A tenant improvement could take 14-21 business days. 

Note: During building season (April 1 - October 31, processing times may take longer, due to the number of applications that are submitted during this time.

What are the fees?

Please refer to 'Schedule A' of the Safety Codes Permit Bylaw 3551/2015 (pdf) to find the fees for Building Permits.

Permit Application Process

Check out what is included with each step of the process, from submitting your application to opening your business.

Who can apply?

  • Property owner/representative
  • The owner/representative of the business proposing to occupy the commercial space

If you are not the property owner, you will need to submit a Letter of Authorization with your application.

Step 1: Prepare your documents

Before submitting your permit applications, you need to prepare all the plan documents and forms that are required for your submission. Review the respective requirements list and forms for each permit.

Change of Use Permit

If you are unsure of anything on the application requirement list, we have provided an example application package to help you out! Change of Use Example Application Package (pdf)

Step 2: Submit your Application

How do I apply?

Change of Use Permits can be submitted via email. Submit a fully completed package, including all spaces filled out on each application form and providing all items on the requirements list from Step 1: Prepare your documents. A complete application package allows us to start your file. Email the package to

Step 3: Processing Your Application

Once we receive your complete permit application package, both a Development Officer and a Building Safety Codes Officer conducts a review. Each will ensure the proposed business and its intended use of the commercial space align with the Land Use Bylaw and the Safety Codes Act, respectively.

A Development Permit will be generated, and based on the description of the proposed use of space and/or the business operations, a Building Permit may also be generated.

You will receive email notifications throughout the application process, including:

  • If we need more information
  • When payment is required 
  • When the permit is issued

Good to know...

Did you know that some email servers block City of Red Deer emails? These emails will often end up in your junk/spam mail folder. To avoid this, please add as an allowable sender. 

Step 4: Site Inspections

What inspections will I need?

If a Building Permit is generated as part of your review, the required inspections will be determined when the Safety Codes Officer reviews your application, and will be listed on the Safety Codes Building Permit when it is approved and issued. Typically, only a final inspection will be required.

When can I schedule an inspection?

Once your Safety Codes Building Permit has been approved and issued, you will receive an email with instructions of how to schedule an inspection. 

How do I know the outcome of my inspection(s)?

You will receive an email notification informing you of the outcome. Once all required inspections have passed, a Completion Report will be issued, signifying the closure of the Building Permit.

Step 5: Apply for a Business Licence

A Business Licence is required by anyone providing a service or goods within the City. Obtaining a Business Licence will provide a one-stop location for customers to search for licensed businesses through the online directory, as well as provide the data for economic development within our City.

How do I apply?

You can apply online through MyLicence. Please be prepared to upload your registration documentation from Corporate Registries. 

Visit our Business Licence page to learn more about licensing your business.

What if I already have a City of Red Deer Business Licence?

If you are moving to a new location, we can update your existing licence account with the information from the Change of Use application you've submitted.

Step 6: Opening Your Business

Prior to opening your business, ensure:

  • The Development Permit has been issued
  • If a Building Permit was required, all inspections have passed, and a Completion Report has been issued
  • You have a valid City of Red Deer Business Licence

If you have all three items completed, CONGRATULATIONS! You are now set to open your doors and welcome your customers.