Quick overview

What's the problem?

Construction activities can often cause significant inconvenience and hazardous conditions to those who live,work,and enjoy certain facilities in the immediate vicinity of a construction site. Construction activities can result in:

  • Safety concerns

  • Dirt/dust/debris

  • Noise

  • Closed sidewalks

  • Closed streets

  • Detours

  • Accessibility

  • Site aesthetics

  • Inconvenience

  • Lost customers (for businesses within/around the construction zone)

  • Lost parking

  • Utility disruptions etc.

Why is Halifax considering this issue now?

Halifax is growing with a number of large construction projects being in progress or slated for development in the near future. Adjacent and nearby communities raised the issues of poor site management, inadequate regulations, problematic enforcement, and the lack of project and contact information available to the general public.

Increased urban densification leads to more frequent and more complex development and construction related activities. It is therefore important to provide consistent practices and protocols that guide the physical elements of the construction activities and their impact on surrounding infrastructure and communities during the construction phase of a project. 


What is being done to correct the problem?

The Municipality is developing a guideline of Best Management Practices for construction site management. This guideline document will compel those involved in the construction industry to consider the broad impacts of their work on the surrounding communities. The guidelines, along with targeted amendments to specific by-laws, will require applicants to prepare a comprehensive Construction Management Plan (CMP) that will outline how they intend to address each area of consideration, and what measures will be taken to mitigate the potential negative impacts of their activities on the surrounding community.


What is a Construction Management Plan (CMP)?

A Construction Management Plan (CMP) is a required set of documents outlining the potential construction impacts on the public realm and the proposed mitigation efforts to help reduce and ease impacts on residents, property owners and businesses in the area. A CMP is also meant to ensure safe and convenient passage for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic around a construction site. The CMP must be submitted to the municipality as part of the development application review and approval process and must include the following minimum criteria:

  • Project description;

  • Project contact information (Owner and/or Responsible Contractor);

  • Construction schedule;

  • Hours of operation;

  • Site plan; 

  • Traffic Control Plan(s) (TCP);

  • Haul routes and staging areas;

  • Pedestrian Management Plan(s) (PMP);

  • Site protection and hoarding details;

  • Hoarding aesthetics details, if applicable;

  • Signage details;

  • Safety protocols;

  • Overhead crane lifting operation details and locations;

  • Stormwater management plan;

  • Description of noise, dust, and emissions controls.


What size/type of construction projects will this affect? Who will be impacted?

When the guidelines are adopted CMP shall be submitted for all construction, demolition, or renovation projects in which work is expected to occur within 5m of the street or is expected to create an obstruction within the street. All permit applications will be reviewed for their scale and complexity and some may be exempt from certain requirements, subject to the discretion of the Engineer.


What are the expected benefits of the proposed guidelines?

These guidelines aim to establish Best Management Practices, reinforce existing legislation, improve enforcement, and increase public awareness of construction-related issues in an effort to mitigate potential problems and to ensure positive public experience with development. With well-defined guidelines, stricter regulations, and diligent enforcement, staff can help to ensure safe, clean, and controlled passage for vehicles and pedestrians alike with minimal impact on surrounding areas.

Best Management Practices and possible solutions that will be established within these guidelines include:

  • Hoarding

  • Parking demand management

  • Temporary pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle route provisions

  • Wayfinding signage and project information signage,

  • Impacted area notification mailouts,

  • Pre-construction meetings and discussions,

  • Dust and noise control

  • Overhead load protection and guidelines

  • Street closure and utility disruption planning

  • Construction vehicle and equipment routes and staging areas.


Will these new guidelines hurt/slow down development in the municipality?

No. The guidelines are intended to work with developers and contractors to help ease the effects of their projects on the surrounding communities.

Who will be notified of street closures or utility disruptions? How will they be notified?

Notification of street closures and utility disruptions will distributed by hand to the affected businesses and residents within the immediate impacted area 5 days in advance of the closure or utility disruption.


When will the new guidelines come into effect?

Pending stakeholder and public feedback, staff review, and council approval the Construction Site Management Guidelines with come into effect in time for this year’s summer construction season.


If I have concerns about construction project impacts on my community who should I contact? How can I report an issue or problem?

Until the guidelines have been implemented, construction related issues can be reported to the HRM 311 Call Centre.

Upon implementation of the guidelines, the CMP will require contractor and developer information to be posted at the site with emergency contact numbers.

I want to know more about CMPs

What are other cities doing to address these issues?

A number of cities have similar guidelines in place.  For example, Vancouver has also established Construction Impact Mitigation Strategy Guidelines for Major Developments to ensure that the disruptions to the community and traffic associated with construction activity are minimized.

The City of Calgary reduces fees where developers 'beautify' hoardings or engage citizens to create murals on them. The space could also be used for advertising and way-finding information, if deemed appropriate. This type of program provides an incentive for developers and contractors to maintain a clean and appealing site.


Will the municipal and other public works be subject to the same guidelines?

The standards outlined in this document are related to all elements of an excavation, construction, demolition, renovation, or development process. It is intended that they apply to both public and private work.


Who will ensure compliance with these guidelines and the CMP? Will additional HRM Staff resources be required for enforcement?

Any Owner or Responsible Contractor found to be in violation of these guidelines or failing to implement the approved CMP may be guilty of an offence and subject to the penalties of the respective by-laws. The conditions of the CMP and by-law infractions will be monitored through existing HRM resources.

Where are we now? Project Timeline/Next Steps?

Council requested the development of the guidelines in February 2016.  Staff developed proposed guidelines based on best industry practices and presented them to key stakeholders for feedback.  Following public input the proposed guidelines and any by-law changes will be presented to the Transportation Standing Committee of Council. Regional Council will make a decision on the adoption of the guidelines in time for the 2016 construction season. 

How can I participate in the development of these guidelines?

  • Attend the engagement session

  • Provide feedback on the proposed at the on-line forum

  • Send comments to planhrm@halifax.ca

I am a small business owner - how will the guildelines affect me?

Will the guidelines help small businesses within/around prolonged construction activity?

Construction is a necessary reality and consideration for any business in a growing city such as Halifax. With that in mind, the purpose of the CMP is to reduce interruptions from street and sidewalks closures, and loss of parking availability. These measures are intended to help mitigate, as much as possible, any negative impacts businesses may face during prolonged construction periods.

How will parking be addressed within the CMP?

Congestion from construction activities can often lead to lost parking stalls and illegal parking. Businesses, workers and residents in the impacted area may rely on the street stalls for patron use, and construction workers on the site may need to rely on the stalls for daily use.

Parking is an important consideration in the preparation of a CMP. The CMP must indicate on the number and location of parking stalls that will be removed, the duration the stalls will be unavailable, and must assess the relocation of any closed stalls.


Will the guidelines address construction equipment and vehicles on and off the construction site?

Material delivery, loading and unloading, or handling and storage on site can have an impact on the safety of the overall site and affected areas. The CMP must include details regarding haul routes and staging areas. Site access locations and staging are to be monitored on a continual basis and cleaned with street sweepers, brooms, or by any means necessary to ensure the public right is clean, safe, and accessible. Appropriate vehicle staging (e.g. concrete delivery) areas and queuing strategy must also be identified.

I am an owner or contractor - how will the guidelines affect me?

Will all Construction Management Plans (CMPs) look the same?

The scale and complexity of the site specific CMP will be directly proportional to the scale and complexity of the project, the site, and the surrounding conditions.


Are there any existing municipal by-laws or guidelines that could address these problems?

There are a number of existing Municipal By-Laws that govern construction activities. The proposed guidelines aim to provide clearer clarity and direction that what currently exists. The following by-laws and specifications will be considered and in some cases amended in the development and implementation of the proposed guidelines:

  • S-300; Streets

  • E-200; Encroachments

  • B-201; Building

  • N-200; Noise

  • S-900; Controlled Access Streets

  • T-400; Truck Routes

  • T-600; Trees

  • B-600; Blasting

  • Traffic Control Manual Supplement


What are the relevant federal or provincial standards regulating construction?

The following regulations are being considered in the preparation of a CMP:

  • National Building Code of Canada, as adopted and modified under the Building Code Act and the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations made under that Act.

  • Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Nova Scotia Occupational Safety General Regulations made under that Act.

  • The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC)

  • Nova Scotia Temporary Workplace Traffic Control Manual

  • Aeronautics Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-2) - Transport Canada


What materials will I need to submit to the municipality before beginning construction?

In addition to all building code and building by-law submission requirements, all building permit applications must be accompanied by:

  • Detailed building drawings, including engineering and architectural plans;

  • Applicable Fees;

  • Detailed Construction Management Plan (CMP);

  • Encroachment application, complete with fees and site plan (if applicable).

Will these guidelines apply if I’ve already submitted my application?

No. The guidelines and submission requirements will not come into effect until the guideline document and associated by-law amendments have been adopted by Council.

Are there any exclusion where an applicable project would be exempt from these guidelines?

All permit applications will be reviewed for their scale and complexity and may be exempt from certain requirements, subject to the discretion of the Engineer.