Planning & Building Inspection


Building permits are issued by the Building & Fire Inspection Department.  The Provincial Building Code establishes the requirements for Building Permits in Nova Scotia and the Municipal Building By-law has specific requirements in effect for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.

Before you build download the following guide to building/development: 
Before You Build

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 accessory 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 Building/Development Permit is required for power connection to any size building.

Permits are also required for shipping containers placed on commercial/industrial lots to ensure compliance with the Land Use Bylaw.  More specifically, this is to ensure that placement of the container meets the requirements of the Bylaw and are not placed in the font or glancing yard of a lot or between the main building and the street.

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. An approval is also required from the Public Works Department for all connections to the Municipal Sewer and/or Water Systems.  In addition, 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. 

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 also be asked to provide a site plan or plot plan for all new construction or addition projects.

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 
Plot Plan - New Construction 
Plot Plan - Accessory Structure or Addition


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

  • Residential buildings, community centres & churches excluding unfinished basements: $25.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.15 per sq. ft;
  • Commercial & Industrial Buildings: $25.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.20 per sq. ft;
  • Sheds, shell warehouses, garages, barns & other farm buildings: $25.00 (non-refundable) plus $0.05 per sq. ft;
  • Renovations and repairs: $25.00 (non-refundable) plus $2.00 per $1,000.00;
  • Permit renewal fee: $25.00;
  • $25.00 administrative fee for Demolition Permits;
  • Occupancy permit: no charge


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.


Building Inspector

Glenn Stirling 
Phone: 902-533-3705 ext. 235 
Cell: 902-870-4605 

Development Officer

Deborah Torrey 
Phone: 902-533-3705 ext. 222 

Additional Contacts:

Public Sewer

Glen Avery, Director of Public Works 
Phone: (902) 533-3705, Ext. 233  

On-Site Sewer (Septic Systems)

Department of Environment 
Phone: 902-863-7389

Public Street Access

Department of Transportation 
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

Municipality of the District of Guysborough

MODG Municipal Planning Strategy 

MODG Land Use Bylaw

MODG Zoning Maps

MODG Generalized Future Land Use Maps

MODG Wetlands Map

Municipality of the District of St. Mary's

MODS Municipal Planning Strategy 

MODS Land Use Bylaw

MODS Zoning Map


Applying for a Rezoning

If your development proposal does not fit into the designation or zoning that applies to your land, you  may be able to apply for an amendment (rezoning).  All applicants applying for a rezoning are responsible to pay all advertising costs associated with the application.  In addition, all applications for rezoning must be accompanied by a $500 deposit which will be applied towards advertising costs.  If advertising costs exceed $500, the balance due will be invoiced and must be paid prior to the issuance of any permits. 
Application Form for Rezoning

Applying for a Variance

A variance is permission to adjust requirements (such as lot coverage, size of yards or setbacks) beyond what the Land Use Bylaw allows.  If you are unable to meet a specific requirement of the Land Use Bylaw, you may apply for a variance.  All applications for variances must be accompanied by a $100 application fee which is intended to cover costs such as registered mail to adjoining property owners, etc. 
Application Form for Variance


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.

Subdivision Fees

Administration Fee:

Municipality of the District of Guysborough - $100 payable to "MODG" 
Municipality of the District of St. Mary's & Town of Mulgrave - $350 payable to "MODG"

Recording Fee:

Migrated Property - $100 payable to "Land Registration" 
Un-migrated Property - $200 payable to "Land Registration"

Provincial Subdivision Regulations 
Subdivision Application Form 


Deborah Torrey

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