Building code and regulatory information

Nova Scotia Building Code

Building code and regulatory information

As legislated in the Nova Scotia Building Code Act, construction projects in the Halifax region are subject to building codes and regulations at the provincial level (in addition to municipal regulations). For full details, refer to both the National Building Code (NBC) of Canada and to the  Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations.
What follows is a basic overview of the most pertinent points of those pieces of legislation.  Read more about the Nova Scotia Building Code Act.

Barrier-free requirements

Barrier-free requirements for Nova Scotia can be found in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations

Objective-based solutions

The National Building Code of Canada offers both prescriptive and objective based approaches to compliance with the Code.  The Code permits unique designs and conditions in which compliance can be achieved by demonstrating the minimum level of performance required by the Code is met. The impact of OBS (Objective Based Solution) is design is no longer required to follow the prescriptive requirements. Alternate design can be considered and demonstrated to the Authority that the objectives of the Code are maintained. 

An Alternative Solution pursuant to 1.2.1.1.1)b) Division A of the 2015 NBC should be submitted for the proposed design and include a completed Alternate Solution application form  including all applicable Objectives, Functional Statements, and Intent Statements. NBC reference A-1.2.1.1.1)b).

Refer to the  attached sample form [PDF] for an acceptable Alternative Solution submission. An Alternative Solution is site specific so any approval must be specific to a particular project and Building Permit application.

Energy Code

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2017 (NECB) provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of energy-efficient buildings. These specifications cover the building envelope, systems and equipment for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, service water heating, lighting, provision of electrical power systems, and motors. Energy-efficiency regulations only apply to new buildings and additions. These rules don’t apply to farm buildings or housing and smaller buildings covered in Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC).

Egress windows

In all new construction or renovations where bedrooms are being created, egress requirements must comply with the Nova Scotia Building Code. Bedrooms must meet at least one of the following conditions:

•serviced by an approved sprinkler system 
•door leading directly to the exterior 
•window equal to or exceeding 0.35m2 (542 square inches) – see full specifications and examples [PDF]

Combined sewer

In cases where construction is taking place in an area with a combined sewer system, you must install sanitary and storm drains in accordance with provincial guidelines. 

Provincial Fire Safety Act

The municipality conducts inspections of residential buildings with more than three units in accordance with the Nova Scotia Fire Safety Act. Inspections include confirmation of:

•fire prevention systems
•egress 
•general conditions of service rooms and common areas

Read more about provincial fire safety regulations.

Building Demolition

A permit is required for demolition of buildings. Important information about demolitions, such as contacting Heritage Gas, requesting inspections, and asbestos information can be found here.

M200 Bylaw

The M200 Bylaw [PDF] is the minimum standard to which residential buildings must be maintained. This includes: 

•houses
•apartment buildings 
•rooming houses 

You should report any buildings in the municipality you suspect don't meet the requirements of the bylaw by calling 3-1-1 or visiting a customer service centre. 

If you require mediation for a tenant-landlord dispute or for more information of early lease termination, please contact the Tenancy Board of Nova Scotia.