Home Improvement Permits

 Home Renovations & Basements

Getting Started

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.

A building permit is required when:

  • A renovation includes changes to interior or exterior walls and/or existing plumbing system
  • Structural repairs or changes
  • Drywall repairs to required fire separations
  • Altering a garage, or shed over 20 m2 (215 square feet) or over one story
  • Renovating or tenant improvements to a new or existing space
  • Adding a secondary suite
  • Adding a backyard suite


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

 

Things to Know

Small residential projects and repairs that do not require a building permit include:

  • Replacing cabinets, shelving or flooring
  • Carry out non-structural maintenance and minor repairs of your home
  • Installation of additional insulation
  • Replacing a furnace, boiler, air-conditioning unit or heat pump
  • Replacing roofing or cladding with similar materials
  • Replacement of windows or doors when there is no change to the size and location.(note: changes to existing bedroom windows should consider egress requirements)
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures

For more information, see the renovation guide (PDF)

A Building Permit expires 2 years from date of issue.
 

Common Questions

New accordion content

Documents Required

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

Construction Plan 

  • Consists of a  Floor Plan that shall show the interior layout both existing and proposed 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 existing 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:

  • NS Transportation Infrastructure 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 meters 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).

It is the responsibility of the owner to request the required inspections at specific stages of construction. 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 renovation 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 vapour 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 during 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

Building 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 renovate your home,  you are 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

 

 

 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 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 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

 

 

 Demolition

Getting Started

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.

A General Permit for Demolition is required for the removal of a structure from a site. Permits are required for demolition projects such as demolition of a house, accessory structure, and commercial or industrial buildings.

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

Things to Know

Other potential related permits include:
If the proposed work interferes with the municipal right of way, a Right of Way Permit will be required.

Note: All required related permit applications must be submitted before your Demolition Permit can be issued.

A Demolition Permit Expiry Date is variable and determined by Building Standards staff on a case-by-case basis.

Common Questions

Q. Why do I need a waste management plan?
A. HRM  wants to track the amount and types of materials from a demolition for waste diversion purposes and to have contact information for owner and contractor should anyone need to be contacted before or during the demolition.

Q. Where do I find the waste management plan?
A. The waste management plan is a fillable PDF you can download here. Alternatively, it is available within the online application wizard on the Upload Documents page as sample document.  

Documents Required

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

Heritage Gas Confirmation Letter - Written confirmation from Heritage Gas that either the gas has been disconnected or that there is no gas connected to the building.  Applicants can contact Heritage Gas via email

Photographs - Photographs of all four elevations of the existing building.

Waste Management Plan - A plan that shows the location of debris containers and the area where haulers will access the site. Download the Waste Management Plan fillable PDF here and submit it with your online application.

Certificate of Insurance (Always required for Commercial Buildings) - Required for Residential Buildings - Multiple Unit Dwelling or Townhouse. Optional for all other types of applications. Certificate of Insurance must include general liability for bodily injury and property damage in the amount of $2,000,000.00 per occurrence which includes the Halifax Regional Municipality as an additional insured.

Solid Waste Notification Letter - Letter notifying Solid Waste of the debris hauling schedule.

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 Inspections may occur.

Fees

Demolition fees are $50.00 per application and 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 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 do any demolition work, you are going to apply for a DEMOLITION 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. 

 

 

 

Home Addition

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.

Any project that increases the floor area, or height of an existing building requires a permit.

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

Things to Know

Home addition scope of work is covered under a Building Permit.
This type of work could include things such as a covered deck, sun room, second story, adding square footage to a home.

Common related permits:
Depending on the scope of project you may also need a lot grading permit and possibly a ROWD permit.

For more information, see the addition and renovation guide (PDF).

A Building 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. 

Construction Plan

Consists of a Floor Plan that shall show the  existing and proposed 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 existing building, proposed addition, 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
NS Transportation Infrastructure 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).

It is the responsibility of the owner to request the required inspections at specific stages of construction. 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 renovation 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 vapour 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 during 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

Building 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 build an Addition on an existing building 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

 

 

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 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 Secondary Suite, you are going to apply for a BUILDING PERMIT.
For additional support 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 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

 

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.
Hydrant locations

 

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 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

Water & Sewer

Getting Started

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.

Halifax Water can advise if water, wastewater, and stormwater service is available to your property using your civic address.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to install Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Service Connections from the mains in the right-of-way to the building. The Water Permit is largely the responsibility of Halifax Water as the primary review and approval for the permit rests with the Halifax Water Engineering Approvals staff.

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

Things to Know

A Water Permit is required when installing, altering or relocating sewer and water equipment such as: Sewer Lines, Water Lines, Storm or sanitary sewers, or Water Connections.

Other potential related permits include:
1. Prior to any work in the public right-of-way, A Right of Way - Development Permit is required from our Development Engineering Division. 
2. A Building Permit must be issued prior to the Water Permit being issued.

For more information see Halifax Water

The Water Permit expires 2 years from the date of issuance. The permit can be renewed, and it can be amended
 

Common Questions

Q. Who do I speak with if I have questions about my water permit?
A. Engineering approvals at Halifax Water will be happy to answer any questions you have about the status of your application. Email Customer Service

Documents Required

When submitting a Water Permit application, you may be required to upload multiple supporting documents. These required Halifax Water documents and forms can be found on the Halifax Water website. Refer to Section 8 (Building Permit Applications) of the Halifax Water Design Specification [PDF] for Halifax Water specific submission requirements.

The following is a list of potential documents you may be asked to submit with your application:

Site Servicing Plan 
Site servicing plan must include lot dimensions and the footprint of the proposed or existing building, any additions, 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. In addition, watercourse buffer and coastal area information (calculated in accordance with the applicable land use by law), when required.

When the property is located within the Municipal Water, Wastewater or Stormwater Boundaries include the following information:
•            Water service connections
•            Wastewater service connections
•            Stormwater service connections

Water Meter Sizing Calculation
Calculation sheet to be completed when property requires a larger water meter size

Domestic Water, Meter & BFP Application 
Water Service Connection Water Meter & Backflow Prevention Device Application

Sprinkler & BFP Application (Required when installing a new sprinkler)
Application for Sprinkler Service Connection & Backflow Prevention Device

Pollution Prevention Discharge Report
Pollution Prevention Program Abbreviated Discharger Information Report Form 1

Site Servicing Plan & Profile
a. The template for this single plan can be found in the HW Water Meter & BP Device Design & Installation Manual
b. Servicing Plan Quadrant. Detail the proposed Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Service Connections to be installed, show:
- Street right-of-way containing the mains, sizes and material.
- natural gas, power, electrical conduits, transformers.
- communications, fuel tanks, and other structures. all surface classifications (undisturbed natural areas, building foot print, landscaped, graveled, concrete paved and asphalt paved areas) measured areas (m2) that are applicable to the proposed project. This information is to be provided for in tabular form and indicated on the plan
- indicate the square footage of industrial, commercial and institutional building space and the number of residential multi-units.
- Irrigation systems
c. Profile Quadrant: A profile perspective drawing of the water meter and backflow prevention device arrangement.

Fire Flow Design Calculation
Design Calculations for Fire Flow Requirements

Wastewater Connection Size Calculation
Design Calculations for the sizing of Wastewater service connection. Commercial Related.

Downstream Wastewater Calculation
Wastewater System hydraulic analysis of the receiving mains and the downstream system for capacity may be necessary. If it is determined that capacity does not exist in the local Combined/Wastewater System, it is the responsibility of the Applicant to complete the required upgrades to ensure capacity exists in the System.

Stormwater Management Site Plan - Water
A plan showing the final grading of land for a property subject to a Grade Alteration Permit, prepared in accordance with the Halifax Stormwater Management Standards, and includes stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control features.

 

Inspections Required

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

Water Meter Installation - Final Inspection

Depending on the scope of work, other Inspections might include:
Halifax Water Connection - Residential Wastewater Service
Halifax Water Connection - Residential Water Service
Halifax Water Connection - Residential Stormwater Service
Halifax Water Connection - Commercial Wastewater Service
Halifax Water Connection - Commercial Water Service
Halifax Water Connection - Commercial Stormwater Service
Halifax Water Connection - Service Abandonment
Halifax Water - Backflow Prevention

Fees

Water 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

Apply for a WATER 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

Home Based Business

Getting Started

A home-based business means an accessory use of a dwelling for gainful employment involving the provision of services, or both goods and services. A home-based business must be owner occupied, meaning this is your primary residence, and operation of your own personal business.

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.

A Development Permit – basic and land use is required to operate a home-based business if no there are no associated renovations. The Application will be reviewed for compliance with the applicable Land Use By-Law.  Assuming it is in compliance, a Development Permit will be issued confirming the acceptability of the Home-Based Business within the residential use. No inspections will be required.

Things to Know

The development permit for a home-based business ONLY applies if the business space is already configured, does not require any alteration, and is under 20m2. The home-based business rules also apply to an accessory building used for this purpose. 

NOTE: If you are renovating or modifying the space in any way to add a home-based business, you will require a Building Permit - Renovation or Addition and any resulting required related permits. Building Permits are also required to legalize a secondary or backyard suite. The building permit includes development approval, so no separate development permit is required. The building permit process also provides an occupancy certificate confirming the acceptability of the Home Business within the residential use.

As part of your application you will be asked to provide a description of the home-based business that includes:
a.    Name of the Business
b.    Number of employees/clients
c.    Nature of the business
If the Home Occupation is in an apartment rental unit, a letter of permission from the landlord or owner of the property must accompany the application.
If you are installing a sign you will require a sign permit. 

Unique Application Requirements 

Home Occupation Daycare:
a.    Must indicate the number of children and age range of children
b.    Additional safety standards may apply depending on the age of the children and Provincial Daycare Licensing may also apply, depending on the number of children
c.    A separate Zoning Confirmation letter may also be required.

Home Occupation Bed & Breakfast:
a.    If property is on an on-site septic system, and the number of bedrooms is being increased, a Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) approval must accompany the application.

Common Questions

Coming soon

Documents Required
  • An accurate site plan (plot plan, survey plan or hand sketched drawing) of the property, which shows the dwelling, lot dimensions, driveway, parking and other amenity spaces. 
  • A sketch or drawing of a floor plan layout, indicating exterior measurements of the floor, or unit. Identify all rooms (bedroom, living room, den, office, bathroom, etc.) on each floor level, and label each floor (basement, main, upper). Indicating the specific area for the Home Business (with room dimensions).

 
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

No inspections will be required.

Fees

Development Permit fees are based a flat fee structure.

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

For permission to operate a home-based business you are going to apply for a  DEVELOPMENT PERMIT  - Basic and land use. 

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