- Getting Started
Grade Alteration Permits typically apply to Commercial Properties (greater than 0.5 hectares) for the alteration to the grade of land including filling, dumping, extracting, or moving soil must be performed in compliance with By-law G-200, and requires a Grade Alteration Permit.
This By-law was enacted to prevent drainage issues within the municipality and to protect groundwater and the environment from contamination.
Grade Alteration Permits are for the development of all lots in the municipality where the work applies to:
(a) grading associated with:
(i) the change in elevation or contour of a parcel of land greater than 0.5 hectares (5,000 square meters) in area;
(ii) the construction or reconstruction of parking lots; or
(iii) the construction of retaining walls over 1 meter in height;
(b) a Multi-Unit Residential, Institutional, Commercial, and Industrial (MICI) project including:
(i) a renovation or addition of an existing MICI use that involves changes to the
building footprint or changes to the grading of the property and drainage patterns; or
(ii) the construction of accessories to MICI uses use that involves changes to the
building footprint or changes to the grading of the property and drainage patterns;
(c) development of land associated with a Subdivision Agreement*
*Refer to By-law G-200 for more information.
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
A Grade Alteration Permit is required for the following work:
New or an Addition to an Institutional, Commercial, Industrial, or Large-Scale Residential Project
New or Addition to Commercial Building is required for any alteration to the grade of land through raising and/or lowering the levels of land for the development of Multi-unit Residential, Institutional, Commercial, and Industrial projects which require a building permit.
New Commercial Accessory Structure
New Commercial Accessory Structure is required for any alteration to the grade of land through raising and/or lowering the levels of land in order to build the commercial accessory structure.
Retaining Walls over 1m in height
Retaining Wall is required for a retaining wall over 1m in height for large-scale construction. A retaining wall is rigid wall that is structurally designed and constructed to support fill materials between areas of land of different elevations
Change of Grade Contour
Change of Grade Contour is required for any alteration to the grade of land through raising and/or lowering the levels of land.
Topsoil Removal is required for any alteration to the grade of land when hauling away soil.
Parking Lot Excavation or Regrading
Parking Lot Excavation or Regrading is required for any alteration to the grade of land through raising and/or lowering the levels of land in order to excavate or regrade a parking lot.
A Grade Alteration permit is typically a required related permit for other permit types.
It is also commonly a standalone permit.
A Grade Alteration 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 usually required:
Stormwater Management Site 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.
Professional Retaining Wall Design
Stamped from a professional engineer showing structural supports and fill materials between areas of land of different elevations, is required when the work involves a retaining wall.
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
There are no physical inspections for this permit, however, you will be required to submit a final grading compliance document by a qualified engineer when the work is complete.
The Grade Alteration permit fee is $200.
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 GRADE ALTERATION 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.