Building Permits

Do I need a permit?

Development and building permits are required in Windsor for most construction projects. 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. 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 (Demolition Permit). Even if no construction occurs, a development permit is needed for a "change-of-use" such as a new business. (Before You Build)

What is the first step?

Call or visit the Windsor Planning Department ahead of time to find out if the project is permitted in the zone what requirements must be met for setbacks from lot lines, the street, other buildings, watercourses, etc. Planning staff can also advise you or approvals and application forms which may be required from other departments and agencies.

Application Forms

The following application forms are required for new development and may also be picked up at the Planning Department.

Building And Development Permit (33 kB)
Nova Scotia Department of Environment Approval for On-site Sewage Disposal System (for properties not serviced by municipal central sewer)


Service Connection And Driveway Access Application (87 kB)
Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Public Works Minister's Consent for Building and Access to Property (driveway access on provincial public roads)


NOTE: For properties in the Town of Windsor, please contact the Town's Public Works Department directly regarding sewer and water connections and driveway access.

Property Owner Identification And Permission (39 kB)  (to accompany permits where the applicant is different from the property owner).

Un-serviced property?

If you 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 suvey plan, it may be helpful to provide these as well.

Land Use Information

a complete description of the existing use of the land any buildings already on the property (i.e. farmland, vacant), as well as a description of the proposed use of the land and buildings (i.e. residential - single family dwelling).

Construction Details

full construction information, including estimated construction 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, 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.

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 teh 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.

Getting approval

Once you have submitted your application and paid the necessary fee, Planning Department staff will review it to make sure 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.

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 National Building Code. You are responsible for notifying the Building Official at least 48 hours before an inspection is required. For new homes, inspections at the following stages are mandatory:

  • After footings have been placed.
  • The site before commencing backfilling of the laterally supported foundation, before a superstructure is placed on the foundation.
  • The framing, roof, plumbing and mechanical.
  • Insulation and vapour barrier before wall framing is covered.
  • Before occupancy. Final Checklist - Single Family Residential Dwellings (86 kB) .

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 when hiring a contractor to complete your project.