Construction season is here; do you have your permit?

The sounds of construction are in the air. Saws are buzzing. Hammers are pounding.

But wait!

Do you know if that building project requires a building or development permit from the Town of Amherst?

You can find out by contacting Marc Buske, the town’s building official co-ordinator at 902-694-2318 or by checking out the town’s website at

“It’s important that people get a permit,” said Buske. “It protects them from costly mistakes or fines. We make sure the construction meets codified requirements such as those contained in the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations or the national building codes.”Building permitsB

“If you are building a new one, replacing an existing one or rebuilding one, the regulations say you need a building permit,” he said.

The application for a building permit can be obtained at town hall, located at 98 Victoria St. E., or on the town’s website. When the application is handed in, the appropriate documentation and payment must accompany it.

“In the case of a deck, you should bring drawings that show the size and height of the deck and whether it is being attached to the house or not,” Buske said.

The town will also want to know the value of the construction and the names of the contractors. A site plan that includes distances from buildings to the property line may also be required.

The building permit fee for a deck is $50 plus four cents per square foot. This fee and the fees for other types of projects can be found on the town’s website under the heading building-development permit guide

While some projects require inspections that are carried out during various times of construction, a deck only requires a plan review before being approved.

“We do that in order to make sure the deck will meet the building codes,” Buske said.

Regulations also say building or development permits are required for: sheds, garages, homes, mini-homes, all renovations that cost more than $5,000 including labour, barns, cottages, shops, out building, additions to buildings, footings and foundations, signs, pools and fences that are 2.1 metres or higher in height.

Projects that do not require a building or development permit include:

  • Fences less than 2.1 metres in height;
  • Cosmetic repairs such as painting;
  • Replacing windows and doors in existing openings
  • Replacing roofing, eg. shingles. (If the roof structure is altered a building permit is required)
  • Replacing siding
  • Non-structural worked valued at less than $5,000.