- Getting Started
A new dwelling, such as a detached house, semi-detached house or row house must to be built to meet minimum public health, fire and structural safety, adaptability design and property protection standards. Permits and inspections are required to ensure that these standards are met so that the home will provide a safe and healthy environment.
As outlined in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations, and the municipal By-law B-201 Respecting the Building Code, a Building Permit is always required for construction of a new residential structure, such as a house.
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
The information here applies to new homes that are multiple unit dwellings, seasonal dwellings, semi-detached dwelling, and single unit dwellings.
The municipality has compiled a New Home Construction Guide as a starting point for Building Projects.
If you're a developer looking for information on subdivisions, please check out our website.
Other Common Related Required Permits could include, Lot Grading, Water, Deck, and Development - Right of Way.
Each of these permits will require their own application.
A Lot Grading Permit is required when the Residential New Building is:
- within the Wastewater Service Boundary
- and meets the size criteria for a lot grading permit
A Development - Right of Way Permit is required if:
- The Property is on a HRM road, and Work in the Municipal Right of Way is required to install a new driveway, for example.
- A New connection to Halifax Water (Water, Wastewater, Stormwater) needs to be installed.
- If you are blocking the road to onload material or perform any construction related activities, for example.
A Water Permit is required if:
- The new building is within the Municipal Water Boundary.
For more information, view the home construction guide (PDF).
Building Permits expire after 2 years from date of issue. Anybody can apply for a building permit.
- Common Questions
Q. What is the difference between a Residential Building Permit and a Commercial Building Permit?
A. Residential building permits apply to buildings intended for residences where the dwelling is 4 or less units, the size of the building is 600m2 or less, and 3 story’s or less. For any buildings larger than outlined, the Commercial/Mixed-Use Permit is required.
Q. Why is a lot grading permit required for my new build?
A. 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.
- Documents Required
Supporting documents are always required as part of making a permit application. The following documents are usually required:
- 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.
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
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 - Confirmation from Nova Scotia Environment that a qualified person has designed an On-Site Sewage Disposal System for the property.
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.
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
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. 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.
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. A Surveyor's Location Certificate is required to be submitted before an inspection can be conducted.
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.
Building Permit Fees are based on value of construction.
For full details of permit fee calculation and a complete list of fee rates, please see the Permit Fees page.
Full payment for the permit must be made at the time of application submission.
Payment can be made online during the application process online using a credit card.
If you prefer not to pay online you can visit our Customer Service desk by appointment only at the address below at:
Bayers Road Centre
7071 Bayers Road, 2nd Floor Tower, Halifax, NS B3L 4P3
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday *Currently by appointment only due to Covid-19 protection protocols.
- Apply Online
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.