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Development and Building Permits

From sheds and decks to large structures, any development within the Town of Yarmouth requires a development permit and/or building permit.

What are the different types of Permits, and how do I apply?

Development Permit

This permit is concerned with where structures are placed on a lot, as well as the uses on the lot. A Development Permit is required for:

  • New construction of main or accessory buildings (over 15 ft2)
  • Additions
  • Renovations and change of use
  • Signage
  • Swimming pools, whether above or in-ground with a depth of more than 24 inches. You will need to provide details of where and how the pool and enclosure (i.e. fence) will be constructed
  • Food truck/trailer

The application must be signed by the owner of the lot, or the agent of the owner of the lot (with written authorization from the owner) and be accompanied by a plan showing where structures will be located.

Further information may be necessary to determine whether the proposed development conforms to the Land Use By-law. There is no fee for a Development Permit.

Development Permits expire after six months if not initiated.

If the Development Officer declines to issue a permit, you have the right to appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Variance Applications

If you’ve applied for a Development Permit for an addition or new building, but aren’t able to meet the setback requirements as specified in the Land Use By-law, you may qualify for a variance.

If the variance is approved, letters are sent to adjacent property owners within 30 meters of the subject property to notify them of the variance. Property owners who receive notice have 14 days, from the day of receiving the notice, to appeal to Town Council. If refused, the variance applicant has 7 days from the day of receiving the refusal to appeal to Town Council.

Building Permit

This permit is concerned with how structures are built. A Building Permit can be issued after a Development Permit has been issued (or deemed unnecessary). A Building Permit is required for:

  • Construction of single and multi-family dwellings
  • Commercial and industrial buildings
  • Locating mini and modular homes
  • Reconstruction
  • Interior/exterior renovations
  • Decks
  • Carports
  • Additions
  • Accessory buildings over 215 ft2
  • Construction or replacement of a veranda, steps, canopy/awning and deck regardless of size or location

Please contact the Building Official if you are unsure of whether you require a Building Permit.

The Building Official will need to see as a minimum, the following stages of construction (according to project and Permit):

  • Excavation
  • Footing in place
  • Foundation with damp-proofing, drain tile, crushed rock, etc.
  • Underground plumbing
  • Sub-slab underground insulation
  • Rough-in plumbing
  • Framing and roof tight (windows, doors, sheathing papers installed)
  • Insulation and vapour barrier prior to interior finish being installed (electrical, plumbing, heating, and mechanical ventilation must be in place)
  • Final building inspection

You are legally required to notify the Building Official at the required inspection stages. Failure to comply could produce delays in obtaining necessary approvals.

If a Building Permit is not issued within six months of an application, it is considered abandoned. Building Permits, unless otherwise stated, are valid for one year and are renewable.

Demolition Permit

A Demolition Permit is required for:

  • Removal of any building or major part thereof

For details concerning demolition waste management, contact the Yarmouth County Solid Waste Park at 902-742-5852.

Occupancy Permit

This is the final step in the Building Permit process. Before any part of the building may be occupied, the Building Official must inspect the work that was done. If the work meets code requirements and no unsafe conditions exist, an Occupancy Permit can be issued. You cannot move in until this Occupancy Permit is issued.

Depending on the class of occupancy, drawings may be required to be provided to the Office of the Fire Marshall.

Additional information may be required to accompany an application. Building Permit applications must be accompanied by building details and a location plan before they will be reviewed by a Building Inspector. Development Permit applications must be accompanied by a detailed site plan.

Please Note: You are required to submit the construction details of your project to this office for review.

These details are best provided through drawings or plans of proposed construction. Drawings are necessary to aid both contractor and Building Inspector in determining what the project will look like prior to construction. The Building Inspector needs to know these details in order to ensure compliance with the minimum requirements set out in the National Building Code of Canada.

When is a Building Permit not required?

Note that even if a Building Permit is not required, a Development Permit may be necessary, so it is important to always check with the Planning and Economic Development Department before commencing any work. Building Permits are not required for:

  • Sewage, water, electrical, telephone, rail, or similar systems
  • Accessory building under 215 ft2. (A Development Permit is still required over 15 ft2)
  • Interior and exterior non-structural material alterations and repairs less than $5,000
  • Free standing signs, utility poles, and radio communication towers or aerials

Guidelines and Checklists

Below you will find some guidelines and checklists related to Development and Building Permits:

Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations Forms:

Go to Applications and Fees for Application Forms and Fees related to Development and Building Permits.

Applications for Development, Building, Demolition, and Occupancy Permits all use the same application form.

Applications should provide, at a minimum, the following information:

  • The name of the property owner(s)
  • Mailing address and telephone number of the applicant
  • Location of the property
  • Brief description of the purpose of the application 
  • Other information as identified in the application form

When the application is made, the applicant can submit the application to the Planning Administrative Assistant, Third Floor Planning Department, 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, or online.

Town of Yarmouth

 This is an exciting time for the Town of Yarmouth. By working together, we can meet today’s challenges and build a better future.”

Pam Mood


Town of Yarmouth
400 Main Street
Yarmouth, B5A 1G2

  (902) 742-2521
  (902) 742-6244

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