Develop your property

Deck

Getting Started

A deck must be built to meet minimum public health, fire and structural safety and property protection standards. Permits and inspections are required to review for compliance with these standards which aim to provide a safe environment.

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-laws specific to the region you live in. Halifax 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.

A Deck Permit is required for the construction of a new deck or the replacement of an existing deck. 

 

Things to Know

Although your land use is dependent on the zone in which you live, there are some common things you might encounter:

  • different restrictions based on whether your deck is attached to your house or freestanding based on the height of your deck.

For more information, see the decks & railings guide (PDF).

A Deck Permit expires 2 years from date of issue.
 

Common Questions

Coming Soon

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. The following documents are usually required:

Construction Plan - A site-specific completed construction plan is required including site plan, elevation, and framing. It has fillable fields that are to be added to the application wizard. Items are:
-Height of deck above finished ground level
-Height of deck guard
-Footings depth below grade for frost protection – 1.2m (4ft) minimum
-Openings in the guard maximum 100mm (4in) opening
-Distance between posts – maximum 2.4m (8ft) apart
-Span of floor joist 
-Cantilever (if applicable)
-Column footing size 
-Beam size 
-Wood column supporting wood beam – minimum column size is 140mm x 140mm (6 x 6 in)
-Joist Size and spacing
-Deck width
-Deck length
-Distance between columns

For assistance with beam, joist or column sizing, refer to the Deck and Railings Guide for size tables.

Site Plan - A site plan must include lot dimensions and the footprint of all existing buildings on site. It must show the proposed deck, indicate the distance from all property boundaries, and include any watercourse buffers. For more information, see the decks & railings guide

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).

Footing Inspection: conducted when the footings are placed and the forms have been removed. Depending on the size and connection to the main structure, not all decks will require dug footings.

Final Inspection: review of the deck structure as a whole. Depending of the size of the structure, a final inspection may be all that is required. 

Fees

Deck Permit fees are based on construction value.

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a Deck,  you are going to apply for a DECK 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

 

Swimming Pool

Getting Started

A swimming pool is an artificial body of water outside of a building, that excludes ponds. Within Halifax Regional Municipality, swimming pools are governed by By-law S-700, Respecting Swimming Pools.  A permit aims to ensure site safety by preventing unauthorized access to the pool and protect public safety.

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-laws specific to the region you live in. Halifax 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

A Pool Permit for Swimming Pool Installation is required for an inground or above ground swimming pool when these three conditions apply:

1. Pools have a surface area of more than 9.3 square meters (100 square feet) 
2. Designed or intended to be used for swimming purposes 
3. Contains or is capable of containing a water depth of more than 0.6 meters (24 inches)

A fenced enclosure is required when installing a swimming pool. The fence must be at least 1.5m (5ft) high. The fence permit is covered in the pool permit for most zones if the fence is less than 1.98m (6.5ft). For more information, refer to By-law S-700 Respecting Swimming Pools. 
Bedford residents require a separate permit (development permit) for fences up to 1.98m and a fence permit is required for fences over 1.98 m. Please check out the By-law for your zone. 

If the pool enclosure is entirely or partially comprised of a deck, a separate Deck Permit is required. 

Other potential related permits include:
Lot Grading and Right of Way - Development

For more information, see the swimming pool guide (PDF)

A Swimming Pool Permit expires six (6) months from date of issue.
 

Common Questions

Although your land use is dependent on the zone in which you live, there are some common things you might encounter:

Q: Where can the pool be located on my property?
A: No portion of a swimming pool, pumps, filters or pool water disinfection equipment installations shall be located closer than 1.22m (4ft) from any side or rear property line. For more information, refer to By-law S-700 Respecting Swimming Pools.

Documents Required

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

Fence and Enclosure Design
Material type and spacing
Height
Support
Latches and/or self-closing device design


Site Plan
Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the proposed pool and any projections such as decks. It must also indicate the proposed distance from all property lines to the pool, pool equipment and deck if applicable.
 

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).

Discretionary Inspection
This initial inspection occurs before work begins to ensure the site conditions are safe, and any in-ground excavation has the appropriate fencing.  This inspection occurs within 3 days of the application being received and does not require the applicant schedule it. 

Final Inspection 
Required once the work is completed and before the pool contains water. This inspection is required to be scheduled by the applicant and is performed to ensure that the pool meets the requirements outlined in By-law S-700.
 

Fees

Swimming Pool Permit fees are based on the construction value.

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

 

Apply online

To install a Swimming Pool,  you are going to apply for a SWIMMING POOL 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

 

 

Fence

Getting Started

A fence is a structure that encloses an area or creates a visual separation. Disputes related to the location or appearance of the fence must be settled between the property owners.

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

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

A Fence Permit is required for fences greater than 1.98m (6.5ft).

Things to Know 

A Fence permit is required for the following situations:

1. Fences greater than 1.98 meters (6.5 feet) in height.
2. A fence of any height that is located within the area of Bedford. Refer to the Bedford Land Use By-Law.

Note: Fences that separate two residential properties, greater than 1.98 meters (6.5ft) height, require local Community Council approval as part of the permitting process. Refer to By-Law B-201 Section 10 - Fences.

A fenced enclosure is required when installing a swimming pool. The fence must be at least 1.5m (5.5ft) high. The fence permit is covered in the pool permit for most zones if the fence is less than 1.98m (6.5ft). For more information, refer to By-law S-700 Respecting Swimming Pools. 

Other potential related permits include:
1. Grade Alteration Permit
2. Right of Way - Development Permit
3. Deck Permit

If you are unsure if other related permits are required for your project and your fence is less than 1.98m, please fill out a fence permit application online, and at the end of the application the related permits will be identified for you. You do not need to submit the application.

A Fence Permit expires 2 years from the date of issue.

Common Questions

Coming Soon

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. The following documents are usually required:

Construction Plans 
Must be prepared by a registered Architect or Structural Engineer and must include; 
Post dimensions, depth, support, spacing and height
Fence panel material, spacing and height

Site plan - Fence
Must include property line locations and lot dimensions. It must also indicate all properties adjacent to the subject property, and should include;

  • The location of all buildings
  • The location of the proposed fence including the height.
  • The location and condition of vegetation such as trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. 

Additional Information
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide enough information for Community Council to make a determination as to the appropriateness of the proposed fence.
When applicable watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable land use by law) is required.

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).

Final Inspection 
Required once the work is completed. This inspection is required to be scheduled by the applicant and is performed to ensure the fence meets the requirements in the applicable Land Use By-law.

Fees

Fence Permit fees are based on construction value.

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a Fence,  you are going to apply for a FENCE 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

New Accessory Structure Detached Garage & Shed 

Getting Started

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.

A Building Permit is required to construct an accessory building (ie: shed or garage) that is 20 m2 (215 square feet) or larger, or more than one story.

If the building is less than 20 m2 (215 square feet), a Development Permit is needed as the requirements of the Land Use By-Law governing location on the property and the height of the building are applicable.

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

Things to Know 

A new accessory structure, such as a detached shed or garage, must be built to meet minimum public health, fire and structural safety and property protection standards. Permits and inspections are required to review for compliance with these standards which provide a safe and healthy environment. 

A shed is typically a simple, single-story roofed structure in a side or rear yard or on an allotment that is used for storage, hobbies, or as a workshop. A residential garage is a walled, roofed structure for storing a vehicle(s). 

Before beginning a project, its important to become familiar with current codes and regulations. Energy Code requirements may apply if the building is equipped to be heated. The size of the structure, location on the property, and height of an accessory building are also governed by the Land Use By-Law for your area. 

Other potential related permits include:
1. Depending on the complexity of your project a Development Permit may be required.
2. A lot grading permit may be required. 

For more information, see the sheds, detached garages & accessory buildings guide.

A Building Permit expires 2 years from date of issue.

Common Questions

Do I need footings for a garage?
Footings or a slab designed by an engineer are required for an accessory building if it is larger than 600 square feet or more than one storey. An accessory building may be built on a slab if it is one storey and less than 600 square feet.

Documents Required

Construction Plan

  • A Floor Plan shall show the interior layout of each floor including:
    footing, foundation and wall locations
    label with proposed uses with full dimensions
    location of plumbing and electrical fixtures, drains, heating and ventilation appliances all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
    size, space and span of all framing members, including decks, steps and stairs
    total area by floor, and the total area of the proposed building
  • A Roof Plan shall include:
    layout showing of roof structure, roof slopes, hips/valleys/peaks and ventilation outlets
    detailed information about beams and columns supporting loads
  • A Cross Section shall be through an exterior wall from the footing to the roof and show:
    footing and foundation wall size, and exterior grade above basement floor
    all floor, roof, and wall assemblies
  • Construction Details and Notes such as all sources of heating, ventilation or other mechanical systems shall be included.

Elevations

  • Dimensions of all sides of the structure and include finished grade, overall height to the highest point of the roof and the slope of the roof.
  • Exterior finishes, window and door type, sizes and locations, including the height of window sills above floor level.
  • Total area of each exposed building face, the area of window, door and hood openings, and required limiting distance if known.
  • Location and dimension of exterior decks, stairs, guards and handrails.

Site Plan

  • Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the building and any projections such as decks, roof overhangs and doorsteps.
  • It must also indicate the proposed building’s distance from all property boundaries, the location and dimensions of the driveway, existing buildings and setbacks to existing buildings.
  • Include watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable land use by law), when required.


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).

Building Code Inspections
Every permit holder is responsible for requesting inspections at specific stages of construction. Required building inspections are included in the permit cost. Once a permit has been issued, required inspections for the project can be viewed by signing into their Customer Portal account.  

These inspections review construction for compliance with requirements set out in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations, Halifax Regional Municipality By-law B-201 Respecting the Building Code and other relevant Codes and Standards. Although required inspections may vary by the size and scope of the project, Building Code inspections may include:

Footing Inspection: conducted when the footings are placed and the forms have been removed. Depending on the size of the structure, not all accessory buildings will require footings.*

Prior to Backfill Inspection: conducted after foundation is installed. 

Framing Inspection: conducted when all of the mechanical, and electrical is installed. The building must be weather tight.

Final Building Inspection: review of the  structure as a whole. Depending of the size of the structure, a final inspection may be all that is required. 

*Foundation Design Considerations:
Accessory structures up to 55m² (592ft²) may be supported by a mud sill or floating slab on grade.
Structures over 55m2 (592 ft2) are required to have a strip footing and minimum 4ft foundation wall below the frost line or an acceptable independently engineered foundation.
 

Fees

Attached and detached garages $1.08 per square meter ($0.10 a square foot)
Sheds & Accessory Buildings - $1.08 per square meter ($0.10 a square foot) - $50 Development Permit fee Depending on the complexity of your project, additional fees may be required. If the property is located in Bedford, a Grade Alteration Permit is required. A $200 Engineering Review fee may also apply.

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a New Accessory Structure Detached Garage & Shed,  you need 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

Secondary Suite

Getting Started

Secondary Suites - are separate dwelling units that are completely contained within a home. They are often referred to as in-law suites or basement apartments.

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

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

Things to Know 

On September 1, 2020 Halifax Regional Council approved all land use By-laws to allow secondary suites.

The new rules mean you or your neighbor can get permission to install a secondary suite by obtaining the correct permits.  The following information outlines the new rules for Secondary  Suites:

Maximum Floor Area: 80m2
Designated Secondary Suite Parking Required: No
Size, Setbacks, Height: The same zoning requirements as for main dwellings

For additional support applying for a building permit for a secondary suite, refer to the Secondary Suite How-to Guide.

Common related permits:
You will need a building permit for the suite and even if there is existing water and sewer connection, you will also need a water permit.  
Depending on the scope of project you may also need a lot grading permit and possibly a ROWD permit.

A Secondary Suite Building Permit expires 2 years from date of issue.

Common Questions

1. Am I permitted to have more than one secondary suite?
No – You may have either one secondary suite or one backyard suite.

2. Who can live in a Secondary Suite?
Anyone. Secondary suites can be used as accommodation for aging parents, adult children or can be used as a rental unit for the general public.

3. Can I have a secondary  suite accessory to an apartment building?
No.  A secondary suite is only considered accessory to low density residential uses - single unit dwellings, two unit dwellings or townhouse dwellings.

4. Does the Building Code have specific requirements for a secondary suite vs a two unit dwelling?
Yes.  View the Building Code requirements for a secondary suite.

5.  Can the secondary suite share the same civic number as the main dwelling?
No – A secondary suite will be assigned a new civic number separate from the main dwelling at the building permit application stage.

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. We consider a secondary suite a residential addition or renovation, requiring the following documents:

Construction Plan

Consists of a Floor Plan that shall show the interior layout of each floor including:
footing, foundation and wall locations
rooms labelled with proposed uses with full dimensions
location of plumbing and electrical fixtures, drains, heating and ventilation appliances all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
size, space and span of all framing members, including decks, steps and stairs
total area by floor, and the total area of the proposed building A Roof Plan that shall include:
Layout showing of roof structure, roof slopes, hips/valleys/peaks and ventilation outlets
detailed information about beams and columns supporting loads A Cross Section that shall be through an exterior wall from the footing to the roof and show:
footing and foundation wall size, and exterior grade above basement floor
all floor, roof, and wall assemblies Construction Details and Notes such as all sources of heating, ventilation or other mechanical systems shall be included.


Site Plan
Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the building, and any projections such as decks, roof overhangs and doorsteps. Also indicate the proposed building’s distance from all property boundaries, the location and dimensions of the driveway, existing buildings and setbacks to existing buildings.
Include watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable land use by law), when required.

When the building is within the municipal service boundary include:
Wastewater, Storm-water and Water Service Laterals Fire Department connection locations Hydrant locations

Elevations

Dimensions of all sides of the structure and include finished grade, overall height to the highest point of the roof and the slope of the roof.
Exterior finishes, window and door type, sizes and locations, including the height of window sills above floor level.
Total area of each exposed building face, the area of window, door and hood openings, and required limiting distance if known.
Location and dimension of exterior decks, stairs, guards and handrails.


Documents usually required outside of Municipal Services:

On-Site Sewage Disposal System Notification Letter/Certification of Installation - Confirmation from Nova Scotia Environment that a qualified person has designed an On-Site Sewage Disposal System for the property. [NEW BUILD ONLY]
NS Transportation Infrastructure (NSTI) Renewal Approval - For Provincially-owned roads, approval from Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is required prior to work on the roadway or within the highway right-of-way, including installing a driveway or erecting a structure within 100 metres of any highway. 

 

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).

We consider a secondary suite a residential addition or renovation, requiring the following inspections:

Building Code Inspections
Every permit holder is responsible for requesting inspections at specific stages of construction. Required building inspections are included in the permit cost. Once a permit has been issued, required inspections for the project can be viewed by signing into their Customer Portal account. 

These inspections review construction for compliance with requirements set out in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations, Halifax Regional Municipality By-law B-201 Respecting the Building Code and other relevant Codes and Standards. 

Although required inspections may vary by the scope of work of the Addition project, Building Code inspections may include:

Footing Inspection: conducted when the footings are placed and the forms have been removed.

Prior to Backfill Inspection: conducted after foundation is installed and dampproofed with drain tile in place and with min 6” of stone.

Underground Plumbing Inspection: conducted to review plumbing under the concrete slab and any exterior storm or sewer services.

Below Grade Insulation Inspection: conducted to review that insulation is installed beneath the concrete slab as per the Code.

Rough-in Plumbing Inspection: conducted when plumbing has been installed, but before insulation is placed in the walls. This is often conducted during the same site visit as the Framing Inspection.

Framing Inspection: conducted when all of the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical is installed. The building must be weather tight.

Prior to Drywall Inspection: conducted when all insulation and vapor barrier is completed.

Final Plumbing Inspection:  review of completed plumbing system. Required plumbing fixtures are to be installed and the building's hot water and heating system must be operational. This inspection is often conducted at the same site visit as the Final Building Inspection

Final Building Inspection: review of the structure and systems as a whole. A house must not be occupied prior requesting this inspection and issuance of an Occupancy Permit to ensure all health and life safety issues have been addressed.

Fees

Secondary Suite fees are based on construction value.

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.
 

Online
Payment can be made online during the application process. Online permit applications must be paid for online using either Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit or Amex. Only one method of payment type is accepted via our online payment system.
 

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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a Secondary Suite, you are going to apply for a BUILDING PERMIT.
For additional support in applying for a building permit for a secondary suite, refer to the Secondary Suite How-to Guide

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

 

 

Backyard Suite

Getting Started

Backyard Suites are separate free-standing buildings, either built overtop an accessory structure like a garage, or simply on their own. They are often referred to as granny suites, carriage flats and could be in the form of a tiny house.

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

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

Things to Know

On September 1, 2020 Halifax Regional Council approved all land use By-laws to allow backyard suites.

The new rules mean you or your neighbor can get permission to install a backyard suite by obtaining the correct permits.  The following information outlines the new rules for Backyard  Suites:

Maximum Floor Area: 90m2 * or the maximum size permitted for an accessory building (garage) for your zone; whichever is smaller
Designated Backyard Suite Parking Required: No
Size, Setbacks, Height: The same zoning requirements as for accessory buildings (garages)

For additional support applying for a building permit for a secondary suite, refer to the Backyard Suite How-to Guide.

Common related permits:
You will need a building permit for the suite and even if there is existing water and sewer connection, you will also need a water permit.  
Depending on the scope of project you may also need a lot grading permit and possibly a ROWD permit.

A Backyard Suite Building Permit expires 2 years from date of issue.

Common Questions

1. Am I permitted to have more than one secondary suite or backyard suite?
No – You may have either one secondary suite or one backyard suite.

2. Who can live in a Backyard Suite?
Anyone. Backyard Suites can be used as accommodation for aging parents, adult children or can be used as a rental unit for the general public.

3. Can I have a backyard suite accessory to an apartment building?
No.  A backyard suite is only considered accessory to low density residential uses - single unit dwellings, two unit dwellings or townhouse dwellings.

4. Do I need a separate water lateral or power meter to develop a backyard suite?
Halifax Water will allow you to connect to the lateral of the main dwelling. However, depending on the property, should it be too difficult to connect to the lateral of the main dwelling Halifax Water may consider having a separate lateral for a backyard suite that connects directly to the street.  
In regard to power meters, the backyard suite may share the same meter or a second meter can be installed depending on the preference of the property owner.

5. Can I develop a Tiny Home as a backyard suite?
A tiny home is a house that is generally smaller than 30 square metres (400 square feet). A tiny home, can be developed as a backyard suite provided it meets the requirements of the National Building code. 

6. Can the backyard suite share the same civic number as the main dwelling?
No – A backyard suite will be assigned a new civic number separate from the main dwelling at the building permit application stage.

7. Am I able to have a Backyard Suite and a garage on my property?
The rules regarding the total number of accessory buildings are different depending on the community plan area and applicable land use By-law. Refer to the Interactive Property Information map to identify which bylaw zone governs your property. From the map you can directly access the bylaws for your zone.

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application.  We consider backyard suites under residential building permits, requiring the following documents:

Construction Plan

  • Consists of a Floor Plan that shall show the interior layout of each floor including:
    footing, foundation and wall locations
    rooms labelled with proposed uses with full dimensions
    location of plumbing and electrical fixtures, drains, heating and ventilation appliances all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
    size, space and span of all framing members, including decks, steps and stairs
    total area by floor, and the total area of the proposed building
  • A Roof Plan that shall include:
    Layout showing of roof structure, roof slopes, hips/valleys/peaks and ventilation outlets
    detailed information about beams and columns supporting loads
  • A Cross Section that shall be through an exterior wall from the footing to the roof and show:
    footing and foundation wall size, and exterior grade above basement floor
    all floor, roof, and wall assemblies
  • Construction Details and Notes such as all sources of heating, ventilation or other mechanical systems shall be included.


Site Plan

  • Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the building, and any projections such as decks, roof overhangs and doorsteps. Also indicate the proposed building’s distance from all property boundaries, the location and dimensions of the driveway, existing buildings and setbacks to existing buildings.
  • Include watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable land use by law), when required.


When the building is within the municipal service boundary include:

  • Wastewater, Storm-water and Water Service Laterals, Fire Department connection locations and Hydrant locations


Elevations

  • Dimensions of all sides of the structure and include finished grade, overall height to the highest point of the roof and the slope of the roof.
  • Exterior finishes, window and door type, sizes and locations, including the height of window sills above floor level.
  • Total area of each exposed building face, the area of window, door and hood openings, and required limiting distance if known.
  • Location and dimension of exterior decks, stairs, guards and handrails.


Documents usually required outside of municipal  service boundary:

  • On-Site Sewage Disposal System Notification Letter/Certification of Installation - Confirmation from Nova Scotia Environment that a qualified person has designed an On-Site Sewage Disposal System for the property. [NEW BUILD ONLY]
  • NS Transportation Infrastructure (NSTI) Renewal Approval - For Provincially-owned roads, approval from Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is required prior to work on the roadway or within the highway right-of-way, including installing a driveway or erecting a structure within 100 metres of any highway. 


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).

We consider a backyard suite a residential building permit, requiring the following inspections:

Building Code Inspections
Every permit holder is responsible for requesting inspections at specific stages of construction. Required building inspections are included in the permit cost. Once a permit has been issued, required inspections for the project can be viewed by signing into their Customer Portal account. 

These inspections review construction for compliance with requirements set out in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations, Halifax Regional Municipality By-law B-201 Respecting the Building Code and other relevant Codes and Standards. 

Although required inspections may vary by the scope of work of the Addition project, Building Code inspections may include:

Footing Inspection: conducted when the footings are placed and the forms have been removed.

Prior to Backfill Inspection: conducted after foundation is installed and dampproofed with drain tile in place and with min 6” of stone.

Underground Plumbing Inspection: conducted to review plumbing under the concrete slab and any exterior storm or sewer services.

Below Grade Insulation Inspection: conducted to review that insulation is installed beneath the concrete slab as per the Code.

Rough-in Plumbing Inspection: conducted when plumbing has been installed, but before insulation is placed in the walls. This is often conducted during the same site visit as the Framing Inspection.
Framing Inspection: conducted when all of the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical is installed. The building must be weather tight.

Prior to Drywall Inspection: conducted when all insulation and vapor barrier is completed.

Final Plumbing Inspection:  review of completed plumbing system. Required plumbing fixtures are to be installed and the building's hot water and heating system must be operational. This inspection is often conducted at the same site visit as the Final Building Inspection

Final Building Inspection: review of the structure and systems as a whole. A house must not be occupied prior requesting this inspection and issuance of an Occupancy Permit to ensure all health and life safety issues have been addressed.
 

Fees

Backyard Suite fees are based on construction value.

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.
 

Online
Payment can be made online during the application process. Online permit applications must be paid for online using either Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit or Amex. Only one method of payment type is accepted via our online payment system.

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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a Backyard Suite, you are going to apply for a BUILDING PERMIT.
For additional support applying for a building permit for a Backyard suite, refer to the Backyard Suite How-to Guide.

 

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

 

Solar Collector

Getting Started

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-aws specific to the region you live in. 
Halifax 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.

A Solar Collector Permit is required when property owners plan to install solar collectors on their home or on private property.
Solar Permits and inspections help to ensure the required minimum plumbing and structural standards are met.

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

Things to Know

Solar Collectors are becoming increasing popular with Halifax Regional Municipality. The two most common types of solar energy systems:

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
This is a system that converts sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic solar panels are mounted on a framing system or flush with the surface of the building (either the roof or an exterior wall surface as allowed under the Land Use Bylaw) to capture sunlight. The panels are wired to the home's electrical panel or battery array to supply useful electricity to the building or to feed excess power back into the grid.

Solar Thermal (Hot water)/Evacuated Tube
This is a system that uses the sun's radiation to heat water. Solar thermal flat plates are mounted on a roof, and a heat transfer fluid is pumped through tubes in the plates and circulated to a heat exchanger. This transfers usable heat to the home's hot water system; either a hot water tank or space heating appliances.

The Solar City program offers property owners in the municipality access to innovative solar energy options, which can be financed through a solar collector account with the Halifax Regional Municipality. The Solar City program involves a voluntary financing application where the property owner enters into an agreement with the municipality to access funds that offset the capital costs of installing solar energy systems on their property. The municipality places a voluntary Local Improvement Charge (LIC) on the property after the solar contractor is paid at the end of the project. The LIC is an additional annual charge and is separate from the property owner’s annual property tax bill. This LIC mechanism is described in detail in Solar City Bylaw S-500 [PDF].

For more information refer to the  solar collector guide, and review the Solar City program. offered through the municipality.

Common Questions

How does the Solar City Program work?
To see how the program works view the Solar Projects Property Owner Guide.

What kind of approval requirements do I need?
1. Confirmation that the system is designed to accepted industry standards for your type of system:
   • Solar Hot Water
   • Solar Air
   • Photovoltaic

2. Confirmation that the installation is in compliance with the applicable industry standards for your type of system. Alternative designs may be considered but must demonstrate equivalent or superior performance to systems certified to the most recent edition of the applicable standard.

3. Two inspections are required upon installation. However, a rough in and final inspection may be undertaken during one site visit. Your Municipal Inspector may require additional site visits depending on the system complexities.

Do I need an Electrical Inspection?
For solar photovoltaic installations, proof of a completed Nova Scotia Power site inspection and completed Electrical Permit is required at final inspection.

Documents Required

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

System Design and Construction Plans

The system design and construction plans must include:

  • A site-specific letter of engineering to confirm structural load capabilities
  • An engineered design including mechanical connection details of the solar collectors to the roof
  • Any manufacturers specifications of the proposed system components
  • Plans indicating required structural alterations to the existing roof structure
     

Site Plan -Solar (Required for Ground Mount Installation)

  • Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the building, and any projections such as decks, roof overhangs and doorsteps. Also indicate the proposed building’s solar panel from all property boundaries, the location and dimensions of the driveway, existing buildings and setbacks to existing buildings.
  • Include watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable Land Use By-law), when required.
  • When the building is within the municipal service boundary include:
    Wastewater, Storm-water and Water Service Laterals. Fire Department connection locations and Hydrant locations


Plumbing Design-Solar (Required for Glazed Flat panel and Evacuated Tubes)

  • A plumbing schematic may be required, including backflow prevention devices if applicable, for solar hot water applications.


Alternative Solar Collective Design (Optional)
 

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).

Two inspections are required upon installation. However, a rough-in and final inspection may be undertaken during one site visit. Your municipal Inspector may require additional site visits depending on the system complexities.

A Final Solar Inspection occurs on site after the panels have been installed. 

Note: For solar photovoltaic installations, proof of a completed Nova Scotia Power site inspection and completed Electrical Permit is required at final inspection.
 

Fees

Solar (Roof & Ground Mounted Collectors) -  $150.00 (engineering related fees may apply)

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.

Online
Payment can be made online during the application process. Online permit applications must be paid for online using either Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit or Amex. Only one method of payment type is accepted via our online payment system.

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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

To install a Solar Collector, you are going to apply for a SOLAR 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

 

Development Permit

Getting Started

A Development Permit specifies how development is to occur on a given parcel of land. Development permits address the development's impact on surrounding properties.

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-laws specific to the region you live in. Halifax 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

A Development Permit tells you whether or not a proposed project is allowed on a property based on applicable land use By-laws. A Development Permit does not mean construction / work can begin it simply means the Land Use By-laws permit it.

There are 3 categories of Development Permits:

1. Basic and Land-Use Only
Only required to review plans for and confirm that the applicable land use by-law requirements are met before any work takes place. A change of use may be required if a business changes over to a different business and the proposed use is different than the current land use approval. For example: Am i permitted to have a garage in my neighbourhood?

2. Residential
Required to confirm that the applicable land use by-law requirements are met before any work takes place for new Residential-up to 2 units, additions, lease hold improvements and residential or MICI (Multi-Unit Residential, Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Projects) renovations. A Development Permit is not a building permit and a building permit must be obtained prior to construction. For example: Is this type of house permitted in this part of the City?

3. Commercial
Required to review plans for and confirm that the applicable land use by-law requirements are met before any work takes place for on a new Multi-use, Industrial, Commercial &/or Institutional buildings. A Development Permit is not a building permit and a building permit must be obtained prior to construction. For example: Is this type of business permitted on this property?

Please note: there are restrictions on development within wetlands and within proximity to watercourses.

Development Permits expire after 1 year from date of issue.

Common Questions

Q. Once I apply for a development permit can I begin working on my project?
A. A Development Permit is not a building permit and a building permit must be obtained prior to construction. A Development Permit does not mean construction / work can begin it simply means the Land Use By-laws permit it.

Q: I've applied for a building permit, do I also need to apply for a development permit?
A. In many cases a Development Permit is issued as part of the Building Permit or Occupancy Permit and no separate development permit is required. 

Q. What types of work would require a stand-alone Development Permit?
A. There are several situations where a Development Permit only is required; here are some common situations:
- Erecting a ground sign
- Constructing an accessory building less than 20m2 (215 square feet) in area. Note, some areas within HRM exempt a shed of a certain size from obtaining a Development Permit, but the requirements of the land use bylaw must still be met 
- Fences within Bedford
- Prior to submitting a Building Permit application, a larger project may want the option to submit an application can be made as an optional, preliminary application if confirmation that the land use By-law requirements can be met is requested.
- Prior to making a full Construction Permit application.

Documents Required

Site Plan - Development
A site plan must include lot dimensions and the footprint of all existing buildings on site. It must show any proposed work, indicate the distance from all property boundaries, and include any watercourse buffers.

Floor Plan - Residential/Commercial
Floor plans must include;
-Interior floor layouts of each level
-Rooms showing dimensions and labelled as to use

Elevations - Development
Building elevations must include north, south, east and west views with height dimensions from finished grade to the highest point of the roof, wall dimensions with window and door sizes and locations.

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

Development Permits are informational in nature and therefore do not require inspections.

Fees

Basic Development Permit Fee is $50 (includes: Home Occupation, Occupancy Only and Accessory Structures such as Decks, Pools, Sheds, and Fence)
Residential Development Permit Fee is $200: New Res-up to 2 units, enclosed adds, Res or Multi-use, Ind, Comm or Institutional (MICI) renovations, and leasehold improvements)
Commercial Development Permit Fee is $500 (includes: Multi-use, Industrial, Commercial or Institutional (MICI)

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

Apply for a DEVELOPMENT 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

 

Lot Grading Permit

Getting Started

Lot Grading is typically associated with residential work and includes any alteration to the grade of land including filling, dumping, extracting, or moving soil must be performed in compliance with By-law L-400. This By-law was enacted to prevent drainage issues within the municipality and to protect groundwater and the environment from contamination. 

A Lot Grading Permit is required for the development of all lots located within an area where a sanitary sewage system is provided (HRM Wastewater Boundary) or is to be provided in the municipality where the structure is:
(a) a residential building;
(i) 600 square meters or less in building area; and
(ii) three (3) or fewer story’s in building height;
(b) a swimming pool;
(c) an accessory building associated with a residential use;
(d) a retaining wall over 1 meter in height.

Your ability to develop your property is dependent on the Land Use By-laws specific to the region you live in. 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

There are 3 categories of Lot Grading Permits:

1. Residential Accessory Structure is required if lot grading is necessary to level the land to build the structure. Lot grading includes shaping and grading the land to direct surface runoff away from buildings and towards a Municipal right-of-way (lane or street). This permit is for a residential accessory structure; common examples include: detached garages, garden sheds, gazebos, carports, playhouses, and greenhouses.

2. Retaining Wall is required for construction of a retaining wall over 1m in height on a residential serviced lot. Lot grading includes shaping and grading the land to direct surface runoff away from buildings and towards a Municipal right-of-way (lane or street).

3. Swimming Pool is required if lot grading is necessary to level the land to install the swimming pool. Lot grading includes shaping and grading the land to direct surface runoff away from buildings and towards a Municipal right-of-way (lane or street).

A lot grading permit is typically a required related permit for other permit types. 
It is a standalone permit for a retaining wall installation.

A Lot Grading Permit expiry date is set by the reviewing Engineering Technologist at Review Stage.

Common Questions

Q. What is the difference between a Lot Grading Permit and a Grade Alteration Permit?

A. The biggest difference is the scale of work being done. Lot grading permits typically apply to residential properties (less than 0.5 hectares, less than 600m2, and 3 or less story’s), while Grade Alteration Permits (greater than 0.5 hectares, greater than 600m2, and greater than 3 or more story’s) typically apply to larger scale Commercial Projects.

Documents Required

Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. The following documents are required when making the initial permit application:

Site Plan
Must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the existing building, and any projections such as decks, roof overhangs and doorsteps.

Lot Grading Plan
Is the design from a professional engineer or a registered surveyor.

Letter of Undertaking
A letter of undertaking is required for completion. 
 
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).

A Lot Grading Inspection is performed by a Development Engineer when ALL work is complete. Do not request the inspection until the work is complete.

Final lot grading document from a qualified engineer is required when the work is complete.

Fees

The Lot Grading fee is $200. 

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.

Online
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. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed between 12-1 p.m.)
Monday to Friday, excluding Holidays

Apply online

Apply for a LOT GRADING 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