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Planning & Development


Building permits are issued by the Building & Fire Inspection Department. Before you build download the:
Before_You_Build.doc WORD document.

Provincial Building Code and Municipal Building By-law

The Provincial Building Code establishes the requirements for Building Permits in Nova Scotia. The Municipal Building By-law has specific requirements in effect for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. The following sections include requirements from the Building Code Act and the Municipal Building By-law.

When are building and development permits required?

A building / development permit is required for all types of construction, including:

  • New buildings and structures
  • Additions to existing structures
  • Non-structural repairs exceeding $2500
  • Fences more than six feet high
  • Decks and verandas
  • Relocation of existing building
  • Demolition of existing structure

Exemption:  New buildings containing less than 100 sq. ft. of floor space do not require a building permit but must conform to the National Building Code and Municipal By-laws. However, a Development Permit will be required to ensure compliance with the Municipal Land Use By-law.

Other permits or approvals may be required from other agencies prior to the issuance of a Building/Development Permit. All new building lots must be approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment for on-site sewer and the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation for driveway access unless services are already available on the lot. All industrial, commercial and public building plans require approval by the Fire Marshall’s Office prior to the issuance of a Building Permit.

How to apply

You can obtain an application for a Building/Development Permit at the Municipal Office in Guysborough or by calling 902-533-3705 extension 235. You can also obtain a list of qualified persons for design of an on-site sewer system as well as a Department of Transportation application for driveway access at the Municipal Office.

With all construction projects, it is important to provide as much information as possible on your application form to avoid delays caused by incomplete information. Please make sure your application indicates the exact location of your property (so we can find it) and where on the property your project is going to be placed (so that we are sure it meets municipal requirements). You will be asked to provide a site plan or plot plan.

We also need to see building plans of your proposed building. They do not have to be drawn by a professional, however they have to show a floor plan and have enough detail to make sure the plan complies with the Building Code. Plans prepared by architects or engineers are required for larger projects such as commercial and industrial buildings and residential buildings over three stories in height.

Your application is reviewed by the Building Inspector to ensure that your proposed project complies with the Building Code and by the Development Officer to ensure compliance with the Land Use Bylaw.
Building Permit Application


The permit fees for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough are as follows:

  • Residential buildings, community centres & churches excluding unfinished basements: $20.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.10 per sq. ft;
  • Commercial & Industrial Buildings: $20.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.14 per sq. ft;
  • Sheds, shell warehouses, garages, barns & other farm buildings: $20.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.04 per sq. ft;
  • Alterations and repairs in excess of $2,500: $20.00 (non-refundable) plus $2.00 per $1,000.00 value of alterations & repairs;
  • Alterations & Repairs or all other projects with a non-defined floor space: $20.00 (non-refundable) plus 2% of value;
  • $20.00 administrative fee for Demolition Permits;
  • Renewal of permits – $20.00


During construction periodic inspections will be made to ensure work proceeds in accordance with the permit and the National Building Code.  You are responsible for notifying the Building Inspector at various stages of construction. In new construction, minimum required inspection stages are:

  • Before backfilling your foundation
  • After framing and rough plumbing
  • Before installing the interior wall cladding
  • Before occupancy

Keep in mind that the Building Code is a minimum set of standards. The inspections ensure minimum standards are met and are not a substitute for the normal care required by the owner or contractor. You should work together with your contractor to ensure that you both have a clear understanding of what is to be done.

Occupancy permit

When you are ready to move in, call the Building Inspector for an occupancy permit to ensure that all work completed meets the code and no unsafe condition exists. There is no charge for this permit.


Failure to comply with the Building Code Act or Building By-law may, upon summary conviction, result in a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000 per day for every day which an offence continues.


If a dispute should arise between you and the Building Inspector over a technical requirement of the National Building Code regulations, you or your contractor may make an application to the Nova Scotia Building Advisory Committee for a hearing and ruling. The National Building Code provides for minimum standard to protect you and your family.


Peter Avery
Building & Fire Inspector
33 Pleasant Street, P.O. Box 79
Guysborough, Nova Scotia
B0H 1N0
Phone: 902-533-3705 ext. 235
Cell: 902-870-4605
Fax: 902-533-2749

Deborah Torrey
Development Officer
33 Pleasant Street, P.O. Box 79
Guysborough, Nova Scotia
B0H 1N0
Phone: 902-533-3705 ext. 222
Fax: 902-533-2749

Department of Environment
155 Main Street
Suite 205, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
B2G 2B6
Phone: 902-863-7389

Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 1268
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
B2G 2L6
Phone: 902-863-3420

Planning & Development

The Planning Department is responsible for all aspects of municipal land use planning and subdivision approvals for the Municipality, including amendments of existing planning documents when required. This Department is also responsible for the issuance of development permits to ensure all new development meets the requirements of the applicable Land Use Bylaw for that particular area. The Planning Department manages the Municipality’s land holdings including acquisitions, sales, etc. and provides assistance with economic development initiatives in the Municipality.

Zoning and Land Use Planning


On Wednesday, March 21st @ 4:15 pm the Council of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough will hold a Public Hearing to consider proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw.  The proposed amendments include new provisions for rocket launch and related development as well as general housekeeping amendments.  Draft copies of the amended documents can be found by following the links below:


Beginning at 4:15 pm on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, a public hearing will commence on the proposed changes to the Municipal Planning Strategy & Land Use Bylaw.

MODG residents may choose to send Council a written submission for consideration in advance of the public hearing. The deadline for written comments to be submitted to the Clerk’s Office is 3:00 p.m. on the day of the hearing, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 through the following methods:

By mail: Municipal Clerk, PO Box 79 Guysborough, NS   B0H 1N0

In person: Municipal Clerk’s Office, 33 Pleasant Street, Guysborough, NS 

By fax: (902) 533-2749

By e-mail:

Participants wishing to speak at the public hearing must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. The public hearing is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm. The public hearing will continue until all speakers on the list are heard by Council. Each speaker will have a maximum of five minutes to share their comments with Council. 
  3. All speakers must sign up on the day of the public hearing. The speaker signup sheet will be available at the Municipal Office one hour prior to the start of the public hearing at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. 
  5. You must add your own name to the list on a first come first served basis. No one else can add your name to the list for you.
  7. In order to ensure that you are present when your name is called, you should be in attendance at the public hearing until you have made your comments to Council.
  9. Following the close of the public hearing, Council will begin their deliberations on the Plan and By-law.







A Guide to Subdivision

Whether you and your neighbor are just swapping pieces of your lots or you are creating twenty lots, you are subdividing.  Simply defined, a subdivision is the division of any area of land into two or more lots, and includes a re-subdivision which alters existing lot lines, or a consolidation of two or more parcels of land. Lot boundaries cannot be changed and new lots cannot be created without subdivision approval.
For more information please refer to the guide.





Deborah Torrey 
Development Officer 
Tel: 902-533-3705 ext. 222
Fax: 902-533-2749