New Commercial Buildings

 New Commercial Buildings & Large Scale Residential Construction

Getting Started

A Building Permit is always required for construction of a new building that will be occupied. This section deals with construction of New Commercial Buildings, New Large Scale Residential Buildings, and Mixed Use Buildings.

New Commercial Buildings
This category includes Institutional, Commercial, and Industrial structures of any size. 

Large Scale Residential Construction
A Multi-Unit Residential building is also included in this category but must be more than 4 units, more than 3 storeys in building height, or have a building footprint area exceeding 600 square meters. 

Mixed Use Construction
This category includes a combination of Residential and Commercial Occupancy of the building.

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-laws specific to the region you live in. The Halifax Regional Municipality is divided into several zones, please refer to the Interactive Property Information Map to identify which By-law zone governs your property. From the map you can directly access the By-laws for your zone.

Once you're aware of the development limitations of your property, you can begin to plan your project.

Things to Know

Common Required Related Permits include:
Water Permits, Right of Way Permits, Grade Alteration Permits and possibly Sign Permits.

A Grade Alteration Permit is required for Commercial New Buildings and Additions.

A Development - Right of Way Permit is required if:
- The Property is on a municipal road, and Work in the municipal Right of Way is required to install a new driveway, for example. 
- A New connection to Halifax Water (Water, Wastewater, Stormwater) needs to be installed.
- If you are blocking the road to onload material or perform any construction related activities, for example.

A Water Permit is required if:
- The new building is within the Municipal Water Boundary.

For Additional Guides and Information refer to the Building Codes & Regulatory Requirements page.

Building Permits expire after 2 years from date of issue. Anybody can apply for a building permit.

Common Questions

Q. What is the difference between a Residential Building Permit and a Commercial Building Permit?
A.  Residential building permits apply to buildings intended for residences where the size of the building is 600m2 or less, and 3 story’s or less. For any buildings larger than outlined, the Commercial/Mixed-Use Permit is required.

Q. Why is a Grade Alteration permit required for my new build?
A. Grade Alteration Permits typically apply to Commercial Properties
-  Greater than 0.5 hectares
- Greater than 600m2 OR 4 or more Storey's.

For the alteration to the grade of land including filling, dumping, extracting, or moving soil must be performed in compliance with By-law G-200, and requires a Grade Alteration Permit. 
This By-law was enacted to prevent drainage issues within the municipality and to protect groundwater and the environment from contamination. 

Q. There is no civic address yet for the property, can I still apply for the Building Permit?
A. Yes, you can apply using the Parcel Identification Number (PID) for the property and the civic address will be assigned during the application process.

Q: How long will it take for my permit to be issued? 
A: Permit Volume and Processing Times are published every month on

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. 

Commercial Building Permits require designs and documents created and signed by Qualified Professionals.
There are many required documents related to this type of permit. Please refer to the New Commercial Building Permit Application Document Requirements Table. 

Document Naming
Automated workflows have been built to expedite the application process when customers use the document naming convention.  If these Document names are not used during the application phase, the applicant will be required to manually assign the correct document type to each document so the system will know what document has been submitted.

Inspections Required

View the important inspection-related information sheet (PDF).

At the time the permit is issued, the municipality will identify the stages of construction which must be inspected by municipal staff.

During various stages of construction, building and plumbing inspections will be required.

Additional documents may be required at different stages of inspection. For example, an A11 document is required prior to being issued a Certificate of Occupancy.

Most documents will be uploaded as supplemental documents during the inspection phase. For example, geotechnical documents.

The exception is the LOC document, which must follow a special process outlined here: 
- How to Upload and Submit a Location Certificate Guide

Refer to the Permitting System How To Guides section for more information about uploading documents to the system


Building Permit Fees are based on value of construction.

For full details of permit fee calculation and a complete list of fee rates, please see the Permit Fees page.

Payment Options
Full payment for the permit must be made at the time of application submission.

Payment can be made online during the application process online using a credit card.

In Person
If you prefer to pay in person you can visit our Planning & Development Counter at:
5251 Duke St, 3rd Floor, Suite 300, Duke Tower, Halifax
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply Online

To build New Commercial or Large Scale Residential Construction you're going to apply for a BUILDING PERMIT.
Our new online system allows you to apply for permits 24/7 through your personal customer portal account.

To apply for permits online:

1. You need to register for a customer portal account
2. If you are a contractor, you will need to create your contractor profile.
3. Ensure you have all of the information required before you apply for your permit. Refer to the Before You Begin Checklist.
4. Learn how to Navigate the Customer Portal.
5. For additional support, refer to our quick guide on how to Apply for a Permit Online.

Visit the applying for a permit page to view a library of support documents, videos and common questions to help you best use the customer portal. 

Apply Online