Maintaining and Altering Heritage Properties

Heritage staff can provide heritage property owners with free expert advice including technical information and support, as well as on-site consultation. They can help determine if official heritage approvals are required, such as a Substantial Alterations Application or Certificate of Appropriateness.

Maintaining or Altering a Registered Heritage Property:

Maintenance and alterations to registered heritage properties can be categorized into Substantial Alterations and Non-Substantial Alterations. If you are uncertain which category your project falls under, please contact heritage staff at cushine@halifax.ca or 902.478.2586.

Substantial Alterations
As defined by the Heritage Property Act, “Substantial Alteration” means any action that affects or alters the character-defining elements of a property. These alterations require owners to submit an application form and are subject to review and approval by the Heritage Advisory Committee and Regional Council. Typically, this applies to significant exterior changes such as modifications to prominent architectural elements of the heritage property and/or changes to the form or volume of the building.

Non-Substantial Alterations
The heritage value of a registered heritage property is considered whenever a building or development permit application is submitted for modifications to its structure or use. Most maintenance and repair is classified as non-substantial alterations, provided that the materials and design affected remain substantially the same as before. Non-substantial alterations can be readily approved by heritage staff at the permit review stage with little delay and require no additional application process.

Access our Substantial Alterations Application Form:

Maintaining or Altering a Property in a Heritage Conservation District:

For properties located within a Heritage Conservation District, a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be required for certain alterations. To find out whether you require a Certificate of Appropriateness, please select your Heritage Conservation District below. Most basic maintenance and repairs do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness, provided that the materials and design affected remain substantially the same as before. However, it is always preferable to contact heritage staff at cushine@halifax.ca or 902.478.2586 before applying for permits or proceeding with maintenance work, to determine whether a Certificate of Appropriateness is required.

 

Schmidtville HCD

For properties located within the Schmidtville Heritage Conservation District, a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be required for:
(a) a new building or structure;
(b) an addition to an existing building or structure;
(c) demolition or removal of a building or structure that is part of a municipal heritage property or is a contributing heritage resource;
(d) alterations to the exterior of existing buildings or structures, including alterations to balconies, chimneys, cladding, cornices, doors, façades, foundation, lighting, parapets, roof, steps or stairs, storefronts, trim, windows;
(e) signs;
(f) awnings and canopies;
(g) fences that partially or fully obscure a contributing heritage resource from the street;
(h) utility buildings or structures, including fuel tanks, mechanical or electrical equipment, or satellite dishes; and
(i) the subdivision of land within the District.

Old South Suburb HCD

For properties located within the Old South Suburb Heritage Conservation District, a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be required for:

(a) exterior alteration of buildings and structures, including additions, façades, roofs, windows, doors, storefronts, signs, awnings, exterior materials, exterior steps and stairs;
(b) demolition or removal of buildings and structures that are part of a contributing heritage resource;
(c) construction of new buildings;
(d) awnings and canopies;
(e) fences in front yards;
(f) utility structures including fuel tanks, mechanical or electrical equipment, satellite dishes;
(g) improvements to the public right of way and Cornwallis Park; and
(h) subdivision of land within the District.
Barrington Street HCD

For properties located within the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District, a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be required for:

(a) new buildings;
(b) additions to existing buildings;
(c) demolition or removal of any building or structure;
(d) exterior alteration of the facade of existing buildings or structures, including, but not limited to any alteration to storefronts, upper facades, windows, doors, cladding, trim, cornices, parapets, roof, chimneys, foundation, awnings, canopies, balconies, exterior steps or stairs, and exterior paint colour;
(e) signs, except for those listed in section 4(2)(b);
(f) awnings and canopies;
(g) fences;
(h) utility structures including but not limited to fuel tanks, mechanical or electrical equipment, satellite dishes, etc. 

 

Access our Certificate of Appropriateness Application Forms: 

Heritage Development Agreements:

Where major additions to a registered heritage property are proposed, a development agreement may be required in addition to an application for Substantial Alterations. In such cases, these two approval processes run concurrently for efficiency. Learn more about heritage development agreements here.