Do I need a permit?

Development and/or building permits are required in West Hants for most construction projects. If you are renovating an existing building, constructing a new house, or putting up a storage shed, you need to obtain a permit before starting the job. Builing Permits can be found pdf here (89 KB) .

Permits are also needed for small projects such as signs, awnings, decks, porches, swimming pools, fences, and garden sheds and for repairs, alterations, additions, or demolition of existing buildings (Demolition Permit Application)

Even if no construction occurs, a development permit is needed for a "change of use" such as a new business (see Before You Build and the Building Code Act By-law).

What is the first step?

Call or visit the Planning and Development Department staff ahead of time to find out if your project is permitted in the zone and what the requirements are. Staff can also advise you of approvals and application forms which may be required from other departments and agencies.

You can reach the Planning and Development Department at 798-8391 Ext. 115 or the Building Official at 798-8391 Ext. 122.

What information do I need?

You will need the following basic information for your development/building permit application:

• Property Details: location including the street address, Property Identification Number (PID) (if available), size of the lot, and the owner's name. Please provide a copy of a location certificate or survey plan if available.

• Land Use Information: a complete description of the existing use of the land and any buildings already on the property (e.g. farmland, vacant), and a description of the proposed use of the land and buildings (e.g. residential - single unit dwelling).

• Construction Details: full construction information, including estimated value, 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, etc. 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.

• Sketch: showing 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 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.

• Approvals: Your project may require approval from the Public Works Department and other agencies such as the Nova Scotia Environment and Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. If your property is three (3) acres or less in size, you may require a location certificate.

• Fee: Fees are determined based on the following fee structure.

Application Forms

The following application forms are required for new development and may be picked up at the Planning and Development Department:
Development and Building Permit Application

• Nova Scotia Environment Approval for On-site Sewage Disposal System for properties not serviced by municipal central sewer or West Hants Service Connection Application Permit for properties serviced with water and/or sewer

• Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal Minister's Consent for Building and Access to Property for driveway access on provincial public roads or
Permit for Breaking Soil on Municipal Public Street driveway access on municipal streets

Authorization Statement to accompany permits where the applicant is not the property owner

Please note: The Planning and Development Department provides these application forms as a service to the public. However, 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 and Development Department. The Planning and Development Department cannot issue a permit until all external approvals have been received.

What to consider?

On-site Sewage Disposal

If your property is in an area where there is no municipal central sewer, you will require approval from the Nova Scotia Environment for the installation of an on-site sewage disposal system.

Application forms may be picked up from the Planning and Development 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 Nova Scotia Environment. Once Nova Scotia Environment has approved the system, you must provide a copy of the approval to the Planning and Development Department before your development or building permit can be issued.

Water Supply

If your property is in Falmouth or Three Mile Plains and you require municipal water, you should contact the Public Works Department at 798-8391 Ext. 125 to discuss pressure requirements. The Water Utility cannot guarantee an uninterrupted supply or a sufficient or uniform pressure.

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.

Location Certificates

The Municipality 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 Development Officer or 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 conform 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/or development permits have been issued.

When do I need an inspection?

During construction, periodic inspections are required to ensure construction is being done in accordance with the National Building Code of Canada. 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 required

• Before pouring footings (when footing forms are in place)
• Footings in place
• Subfloor plumbing
• Subfloor and foundation insulation
• Before backfill
• Except for manufactured and modular homes,
   o the framing, roof, plumbing, and mechanical systems
   o insulation and vapour barrier before wall framing is covered, and
• For manufactured and modular homes,
   o superstructure installation and anchorage systems
   o foundation insulation and vapour barrier before wall framing is covered, and plumbing connections below the first floor, and
• Before occupancy

Keep in mind that the National Building Code of Canada 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.