- New Commercial & Large Scale Residential Construction
A Building Permit is always required for construction of a new building that will be occupied.
For more information, see the new home construction guide.
- Addition to an Existing Building
Any project that increases the floor area, or height of an existing building requires a permit.
For more information, see the addition and renovation guide.
- Renovation to an Existing Building
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.
Projects that don’t require a permit
- Many small residential projects and repairs do not require a building permit. These 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 addition and renovation guide.
- New Accessory Structure – Sheds and Garages
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 building is less than 20 m2 (215 square feet), a Development Permit is required as the requirements of the Land Use By-Law governing location on the property and the height of the building are applicable.
For more information, see the sheds, detached garages & accessory buildings guide.
A General Permit for Blasting is required for the controlled detonation of explosives to alter existing topographical conditions. As per By-Law B-600, a Blasting Permit is required prior to all blasting. Anyone can apply for this permit, but an insured Blasting Contractor is required as the prime contractor on the permit
A General Permit for Deck Construction is required for construction of a new deck or replacement of an existing deck that is more than 0.6 meters (24 inches) above the ground.
For more information, see the decks & railings guide.
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.
- Development Permit
A Development Permit confirms that the Land Use requirements of the applicable plan area are met by a proposal, and are required when there are land use bylaw implications.
In many cases a Development Permit is issued in tandem with a Construction or Occupancy Permit. This generally includes permits for:
- Constructing, altering, or reconstructing a building;
- Constructing, altering, or reconstructing a deck or external staircase greater than 2 feet off of the ground;
- Constructing an accessory building greater than 20m2 (215 square feet) in area;
- Occupying a new use or changing the use of a building (including occupying a secondary or backyard suite);
- Erecting a fascia or projecting sign.
In the following cases, only a Development Permit is required:
- Occupying a home occupation;
- Erecting a ground sign;
- Occupying a new use or changing the use of land (ex. a new commercial parking lot);
- Constructing an accessory building less than 20m2 (215 square feet) in area. Please note, some plan areas within the 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. It is recommended a Development Permit still be applied for to confirm land use bylaw requirements are met;
- Fences in Bedford.
A “Development Permit Only” application can be made as an optional, preliminary application if confirmation that the land use bylaw requirements can be met is requested prior to making a full Construction Permit application.
Please note, there are restrictions on development within wetlands and within proximity to watercourses.
- Grade Alteration
Any alteration to the grade of land including filling, dumping, extracting, or moving soil must be performed in compliance with By-law L-400, and requires a General Permit for Grade Alteration. This By-law was enacted to prevent drainage issues within the Municipality and to protect groundwater and the environment from contamination
- Lot Grading
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 General Permit for Lot Grading is required for the following types of work: New or Addition to Residential or Commercial Building, New Commercial Accessory Structure, Retaining Walls, Change of Grade Contour, Topsoil Removal, Parking Lot Excavation or Regrading
- Mobile Home
A General Permit for a Mobile Home Installed in a Park is required for the installation of a mobile home that resides on a plot of land, among a group of mobile homes (a mobile home park), that is rented or leased to the mobile home resident.
A General Permit for a Mobile Home Installed on a Private Lot is required for the installation of a mobile home that will reside on a private lot, that is not part of a formalized mobile home park.
A General Permit for a Certificate of Occupancy is issued under the Nova Scotia Building Code Act which specifies the authorized use and classification for a building, unit or suite, such as ‘office’ or ‘retail’. The legislation requires that the owner and occupiers of existing buildings (except for single dwellings, sheds or pools etc.) to obtain occupancy permits before building spaces can be occupied and used.
An occupancy permit shall not be issued for any building unless a valid building permit is in effect.
An occupancy permit is required after a change of use or tenant (Except for a change of a residential tenant, like in the selling of a home), including any change in the number of either commercial or residential units.
The permit remains valid for as long as there is no change of operator and the activities practiced on the premises under the same conditions cited in the permit applications. A new permit is required if there is a change of operator, if the floor area of the premises is altered, if the uses are changed, or if new uses are added.
- Permanent Signage
Businesses installing on-site permanent signage are required to first obtain a General Permit for a Sign. Permanent signs can include projecting signs, fascia signs, window signs, and canopy and awning signs. Additional approvals may be required for registered heritage buildings and for signs that project into the street.
For more information, see the permanent signage guide.
- Right of Way
Road right-of-way defines the use of public property designated for traffic and pedestrians. ROW permits are required for work in the right of way. This work is not related to any development projects and is overseen by Transportation and Public Works (TPW), right of way services.
- Right-of-Way - Development
A Right-of-Way-Development permit is a related permit required when work in the right of way occurs as a result of development work (new building, renovation, landscaping etc.). This includes for example: driveway access, street closure, temporary work, and utility work.
- Solar Collector
A General Permit for Solar Panel installation is required when property owners want to install solar collectors on their home or on private property.
Solar energy collector systems can convert sunlight into electricity and/or use the sun's radiation to heat hot water. Solar Permits and inspections will help to ensure the required minimum plumbing and structural standards are met.
For more information, see the solar collector guide, or the Solar City program.
- Swimming Pool
A General Permit for Swimming Pool Installation is required for an inground or above ground swimming pool when these three conditions apply:
- Pools have a surface area of more than 9.3 square meters (100 square feet)
- Designed or intended to be used for swimming purposes
- 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 construction of that fence is covered in this Swimming Pool Permit. A fence for a swimming pool must be at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) in height.
For more information, refer to By-Law S-700 Respecting Swimming Pools.
The Water Permit is considered Halifax Water’s Permit because the primary responsibility for permit approval and completion rests with the HW Engineering Approvals staff. 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.
A Building Permit is required and must be issued prior to the Water Permit being issued