Building Safety

Construction is a billion-dollar industry in Nova Scotia. The safety of you and your property is ensured, in part, by plans approval and reviews conducted during construction, and by municipal building officials who administer and enforce the building and plumbing code. Please contact your local municipal building inspector for more information.

The Building and Plumbing Code has been adopted into law by the Nova Scotia Building Code Act. Nova Scotia Building Code Act, amended 2005, effective July 1, 2006. Regulations updating the Code requirements are made on a regular bases.

Enforcement of the Code is carried out by municipal building officials. You should check with your municipal building official to determine if a permit is required.

Proposed changes to Building Code Regulations

Every five years, the National Building Code, National Plumbing Code, and National Energy Code for Buildings are reviewed and updated. Nova Scotia plans to adopt the 2015 changes to align our regulations with the national codes.

The Department of Municipal Affairs is seeking public input from Nova Scotians around these proposed replacement regulations.

This consultation is open to all Nova Scotians.

Comments will be accepted between November 21, 2016 and January 20, 2017.

Written comments can be sent to:
Joe Rogers,
Building Code Coordinator,
P.O. Box 231
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3M4

Comments can also be emailed:

Current Issues

  • Home Based Business Exemptions Proposed Regulations (PDF: 70k)
  • Summary of Changes Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations November 2014 (PDF: 141k)
  • Summary of Changes Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations July 2013 (PDF: 172k)

Changes in Nova Scotia’s Building Code Act Regulations affecting home-based businesses take effect August 1, 2016.


Home-based businesses no larger than 25 per cent of the total floor area (50 m2) of a home that the business owner occupies will be exempt from certain parts of the Building Code Act Regulations intended for commercial spaces.

These exemptions include:

  • Requirements including wider doors and a barrier-free entrance;
  • Fire separations, loading, fire-rated doors with self-closures; and
  • Additional washroom facilities.

What is not covered by the Building Code Regulations:

There are some rules that fall under municipal by-laws and not the provincial Building Code Act. These can vary from community to community, so it’s important to check with your municipality about:

  • Number of employees allowed
  • Parking requirements
  • Signage
  • Type of home business allowed in an area
  • Number of businesses permitted within a home
  • Use of additional buildings on your property
  • On-site storage of materials
  • Number of clients allowed per day/week
  • Number and type of business vehicles allowed

For more information contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at or call 902-424-5721 or toll-free 1-800-559-3473.