Buildings on Skids

Did you know? . . . Building permits are required, even for structures on skids or temporary foundations.  Some structures under 100 sq. ft. may not require a permit.

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In Athabasca, tent structures like this portable garage may require a development and a building permit, depending on the size of the structure.

Building permits required for buildings on skids; tent structures, too

Contrary to what some people may think, building permits are definitely required for all structures in Athabasca over 100 sq. ft. – moveable structures on skids or temporary foundations and tent structures, included. Some structures under 100 sq. ft. may also require permits.

The Alberta Building Code governing these categories has not changed for many years, states Gwen Relling, a Level 1 Residential Building Safety Code Officer with The Inspections Group Inc., Edmonton. Inspections Group is an accredited agency that provides inspection services on a contract basis to the Town of Athabasca. Gwen is the officer currently assigned to our community.

“With buildings over 100 sq. ft.,” she notes “a building permit is required whether it is for storage or a cabin and whether it is on a permanent or temporary foundation, and also when it is made of fabric.”

These days, Gwen adds, nearly all buildings are moveable. So, in reference to permits and the building proper, the terms ‘permanent’ and ‘temporary’ are not relative.

“(A) storage building may be on a permanent (concrete slab) foundation or a temporary (skid) foundation,” she says. “It makes no difference whether it is moveable.”

Referring to the Alberta Building Code, the general rule is all structures over 100 sq. ft. require a permit and most structures under 100 sq. ft. do not require a permit, although there are some exceptions. It is always best to check with the Town office before starting any building project.

The 600 sq. ft. rule for garage floors and foundations

The size of your detached garage will determine the type of floor or foundation required.

“Detached garages under 600 sq. ft. (actual maximum accepted, 24 ft. x 26 ft.) may be on skids or a mudsill and can have a dirt or gravel floor,” Gwen explains. “But over 600 sq. ft., a four-foot deep footing is required, or if engineering is provided, a structural slab or piles and grade beam is acceptable.”

Gwen points out that this information is readily available in the Alberta Building Code 1997. Whether you are building a small or large garage, a storage shed or any other type of structure, the Alberta Building Code is the authoritative source to turn to for accurate information.

According to the Alberta Municipal Affairs and Housing website, some new objective-based building, fire and plumbing codes are coming into effect this September. For information about the Alberta Building Code and the changes, go to

Questions regarding building permits in the Town of Athabasca can be directed to the Town office.

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