Building and/or development permits are required in West Hants for most construction projects, regardless of size. Whether you are renovating an existing building, constructing a new house, or just putting up a baby barn, you need to obtain a permit before starting the job (pdf
Building and Development Permit Application
Permits are required for small-scale projects such as signs, awnings, decks, porches, swimming pools, fences, and garden sheds. Permits are also required for repairs, alterations, or additions, or demolition of existing buildings (pdf
Demolition Permit Application
Call or visit the Planning Department ahead of time to find out if the project is permitted in the zone and what requirements must be met for setbacks from lot lines, the street, other buildings, watercourses, etc. Planning Staff can also advise you of approvals and application forms which may be required from other departments and agencies. You can reach us at 798-8391 Ext. 115 or the Building Official at 798-8391 Ext. 122.
If your property is in Falmouth or Three Mile Plains and you require municipal water, you should contact the Public Works Department to discuss pressure requirements. The Water Utility cannot guarantee an uninterrupted supply or a sufficient or uniform pressure.
The following application forms are required for new development and may be picked up a the Planning Department:
If your property is in an area where there is no municipal central sewer, you will require approval from the Nova Scotia Department of Environment for the installation of an on-site sewage disposal system.
Application forms may be picked up from the Planning Department or the nearest Department of Environment Office. You will need to hire a Qualified Person to assess your lot and design a system. The completed application form must be submitted, along with an application fee, to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Once the Department of Environment has approved the system, you must provide a copy of the approval to the Planning Department before your building permit can be issued.
If municipal water services are not available in your area, you should determine whether you will have an adequate well water supply before you construct your new home. You may wish to talk to neighbours or well drillers. Nova Scotia Department of Environment's well drilling records are another possible source of information.
What information do I need?
You will need the following basic information for your building/development permit application:
Property Details: where the property is located, including the street address, if available; the lot number, and size of the lot; and the owner's name if you do not own the land. If you have a location certificate or survey plan, it may be helpful to provide these as well.
Land Use Information: a complete description of the existing use of the land and any buildings already on the property (e.g., farmland, vacant), as well as a description of the proposed use of the land and buildings (e.g., residential - single family dwelling).
Construction Details: full construction information, including estimated value of construction, size and dimensions of the building, and details of foundation and footings, size and spacing of floor joists, roof rafters or trusses, interior and exterior walls, insulation, vapour barrier, and the like. You may wish to have your contractor assist with this part of the application form. Complete building plans or blueprints are required for larger projects and in other circumstances as determined by the Building Official.
Plot Plan: show the size and location of all existing and proposed buildings or additions. The application form includes a blank plot plan or you may wish to sketch the project on a location certificate or survey plan, if available. The plot plan must show the lot dimensions and the distance from the exterior of the building to the front, side, and rear lot lines, as well as the distance to any existing buildings. Driveways should be sketched in and the names of abutting streets should be shown. All necessary measurements should be taken ahead of time as it is important to be as accurate as possible.
Once you have submitted your application and paid the necessary fee, Planning Department staff will review it to ensure the project complies with the Land Use By-law and the Building Code. A building permit cannot be issued, however, until all external approvals have been received. The Planning Department provides Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Department of Transportation, and municipal sewer/water application forms as a service to the public. But it is your responsibility to complete and submit all required forms to the appropriate agencies and, once approved, to supply copies of the approvals to the Planning Department.
The Municipality of West Hants requires location certificates for all new main buildings on lots three (3) acres or less in size, and for other projects at the discretion of the Building Official. A location certificate, prepared by a Nova Scotia Land Surveyor, shows the location of a building or footings on a lot. Location certificates are required to ensure that new buildings confirm to zone requirements. If a project requires a location certificate, a footings permit will be issued and construction may not proceed past the footings stage until the Development Officer has reviewed the location certificate and the Building Official is satisfied with the footings. At that time, the full building permit will be issued.
Please remember that construction may not begin until after building and development permits have been issued.
During construction, periodic inspections are required to ensure construction is being done in accordance with the Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada requirements. You are responsible for notifying the Building Official(798-8391 Ext. 122) at least 48 hours before an inspection is required. For new homes, inspections at the following stages are mandatory:
Prior to pouring footings (when footing forms are in place)
Footings in place
subfloor and foundation insulation
except for manufactured and modular homes,
the framing, roof, plumbing, and mechanical systems
insulation and vapour barrier before wall framing is covered, and
for manufactured and modular homes,
superstructure installation and anchorage systems
foundation insulation and vapour barrier before wall framing is covered, and plumbing connections below the first floor, and
Keep in mind that the Building Code is only a minimum set of standards. Our inspections are not a substitute for the care you would normally take if you were doing the work yourself or relying on a contractor to complete your project.