The “Red Book” is the set of municipal design guidelines that HRM uses when building streets, sidewalks, and more.

This book specifies the rules for how something should be built, and not why it should be built. It will talk about the dimensions of a sign, but not the justification for a sign to be placed or removed. The rules about why fall within the traffic division and in a lot of cases is left to the experts in that field.

The Red Book helps us issue tenders so that everyone knows what to expect; vendors can bid on a level playing field; and we can evaluate and confirm their work more easily.

Every few years the red book is updated to incorporate the latest improvements in technology and the street structure. The Red Book was last released in 2013, and is nearing the end of another review cycle.

The Red Book page on the HRM web site is here:

The report that we recently saw at Council is here:

Each of these three large documents has been broken down to the documents are in this table:

Part A - Design GuidelinesPart A - Design Guidelines
Part B - Standard DetailsPart B - Standard Details
Part C - Drawing StandardsPart C - Drawing Standards

I’ve been keeping an eye out for issues for the past while, related to the challenges with the 2013 Red Book, but I’m only one person. I need your help. What’s missing in the 2021 version? What do you like? What could be improved?

The list of things that I’ve seen or have heard about is below, and mostly comes from the first of these three books.

If you have questions or would like to see anything added to this list then please let me know. We will be reviewing this book, as Council, in the coming months.

It takes a lot of effort to widen a road or move a house, let alone a whole block of houses, so either an alternative is found or we simply accept the state of the road.

Planning is one of the most significant activities that Council does. This is another one. If we don’t get the rules of road building right then it could affect things decades in to the future.

Please help us get this one right.