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Garden Suites in The City of Victoria


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#41 Bob Fugger

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:12 PM

Does the homeowner lose the capital gain exemption for that part of the property as they are using it to generate revenue? ie the primary residence status exemption upon a sale would now be reduced to the actual principal residence portion of the property and the rest would be subject to taxable gains?

 

I would suspect not, provided that the homeowner does not claim CCA on real property (chattels are OK), does not make any structural changes to the property to make it more suitable for rental and the rental portion of the property is relatively small in relation to personal use.

 

So although it sounds like a garden suite would fail on the second prong, any accountant worth his salt would be able to argue around this.  And even if they were unsuccessful, meticulous records would allow you to claim the CCA on that portion in retrospect, as well as all of the build costs.

 

This is one of those things that practically speaking, no one should ever be burned on.


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#42 MarkoJ

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:16 PM

I've helped over a 1000 people in BC with the owner-builder exam and lately people have been sending me back new questions from the exam which keep getting trickier and trickier. BC Housing has an agenda out to eliminate the owner-builder, I don't know why but that is the agenda.

 

On a side note this summer for fun I had a builder friend (has built 11 houses in last 3 years) write a mock exam and he got 48%. 

 

He builds excellent homes, but the exam is all about non-sense questions that have nothing to do with actually building a house.

 

I highly doubt more than 10% of the builders in Victoria would pass the exam if it was placed infront of them right now.


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#43 Jackerbie

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:39 PM

Another nail in the coffin of garden suites

 

Doesn't seem to have hurt Vancouver. They've approved 3,500 laneway houses since 2009, and they also permit a secondary suite in the principal dwelling.



#44 Mike K.

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:58 PM

What is also left out of the narrative is how housing prices will be affected should Helps initiate a plan to situate “family-sized” garden suites on 5,600 eligible properties. That will increase the value of those 5,600 properties which would suddenly be able to be sold with either a large garden suite permitted or redeveloped with not only a new home, but a secondary smaller home hassle free. That’s gold to a builder.

It is very, very interesting that we have a totally lacklustre policy (the small garden suites) being held up/praised as something spectacular and therefore eligible to be expanded. I mean, where would Helps get the notion that the 22 approved suites indicate intense demand for even larger units if not for the appeal they will generate for builders?

I’m all for this, 100%, but stating the garden suites are perfect “citizen-led” examples of development while pitching a new course of direction that would appeal to builders is ...odd.

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#45 tjv

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 02:32 PM

I've helped over a 1000 people in BC with the owner-builder exam and lately people have been sending me back new questions from the exam which keep getting trickier and trickier. BC Housing has an agenda out to eliminate the owner-builder, I don't know why but that is the agenda.

I think part of the reason is the building inspectors are getting fed up with owner builders who don't have a clue about construction or the code.  I've spoken to many builder inspectors and I just get that feeling

 

I also think there is a push to make sure its done by licensed builders for simple tax purposes.  A corporation builder can't pay cash to the drywallers or floor layers to get that done, but an owner builder would gladly pay cash in an envelope to save tax and get a discount.  For those who don't know on a corporate tax return there is a specific question every corporation must answer "if the corporation's major business activity is construction, did you have any subcontractors during the tax year?"

 

just my opinion.  Not saying I agree with the owner builders exam



#46 MarkoJ

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 03:00 PM

I think part of the reason is the building inspectors are getting fed up with owner builders who don't have a clue about construction or the code.  I've spoken to many builder inspectors and I just get that feeling

 

I owner built my personal house and there is so many consultants that I really had nothing to do with the building inspector. I am not going to get into a discussion with the framer, structural engineer, and inspector about nailing patterns. If the inspector doesn't pass the framing inspection I just call the engineer/framer to address the deficiencies. 

 

Same with plumbing inspection...you let the plumber sort it out with the plumbing inspector. 

 

and if it is such a huge problem there is a simple solution. Offer a free inspection at each stage and one re-inspection for deficiencies. Second re-inspection muncipality starts charging for inspectors time. Also, the exam does NOTHING to solve this problem. It is completely useless. I've seen over 300 questions from the exam and not one would have helped me build my home. If the exam doesn't help solve the problem and the intention is to eliminate the owner builder why just not eliminate the owner build straight up versus trying to hide the agena through an exam.

 

Having been through 1000s of homes in Victoria I can without a doubt say the on average owner-build homes in Victoria are a step above an average builder home. 


Edited by MarkoJ, 17 September 2018 - 03:07 PM.

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#47 tjv

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:30 PM

fair enough, you don't have to listen to my opinion, you asked why BC Housing might be trying to eliminate owner builders and I responded.  I am just repeating what I hear when I talk to building inspectors who might be the driving force behind your exam.  They have extreme amounts of power if you haven't figure it out.

 

also who are these "many consultants"?  About 99% of houses require a structural engineer and that's it



#48 MarkoJ

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 05:34 PM

fair enough, you don't have to listen to my opinion, you asked why BC Housing might be trying to eliminate owner builders and I responded.  I am just repeating what I hear when I talk to building inspectors who might be the driving force behind your exam.  They have extreme amounts of power if you haven't figure it out.

 

also who are these "many consultants"?  About 99% of houses require a structural engineer and that's it

 

From everything I've dug up on the matter I don't believe municipalities lobbied BC Housing for the exam. I also obtained internal letters BC Housing sent to all the munciaplities after they introduced the exam and way they were written it seemed that it would be a surprise to most building permit departments.

 

My personal house....

 

i/ Designer 

ii/ Geotech (Colwood made this mandatory 4-5 yrs ago even if building on rock and it is spreading to other municaplities)

iii/ Structural engineer

iv/ Envelope engineer (I had a type of material on my envelope that wasn't listed in the code, so an engineer had to inspect and sign off)

v/ Third engineer for handrails/glass 

 

Now you will have mandatory energy consultants and other crap.

 

For electrical doesn't fall under municipal inspector so there is a consultant involved in almost all the inspections (excavation/footings you have the Geotech and structural. Framing you have the structural. Plumbing rough in you have the plumber. Insulation is pretty simple. Exterior envelope if there is an issue they make you get an engineer to sign off and after that is what, final occupancy?)

 

Sometimes I don't even know what the point of the city inspector is.......half the crap is "get an engineer," and then you give them a stamped engineer letter and the inspector doesn't even read it.


Edited by MarkoJ, 17 September 2018 - 05:41 PM.

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#49 MarkoJ

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 05:40 PM

At one point BC Housing went after me by filing a complaint with the BC Real Estate Council that I was carrying out acts "unbecoming of a REALTOR®.

 

I think they got annoyed at all my FOI requests I kept sending in.

 

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#50 mbjj

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 06:38 PM

My brother had a laneway house built next to him in Vancouver by the neighbours. They lost all privacy in their back yard and the damn thing is so close to their kitchen the other people can peer right in.



#51 Mike K.

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 07:19 PM

Oh yeah, it can be very invasive. These homes sometimes end up where it’s most convenient for the homeowner, but not so much for the neighbour(s).

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#52 tjv

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 07:50 PM

From everything I've dug up on the matter I don't believe municipalities lobbied BC Housing for the exam. I also obtained internal letters BC Housing sent to all the munciaplities after they introduced the exam and way they were written it seemed that it would be a surprise to most building permit departments.

 

My personal house....

 

i/ Designer 

ii/ Geotech (Colwood made this mandatory 4-5 yrs ago even if building on rock and it is spreading to other municaplities)

iii/ Structural engineer

iv/ Envelope engineer (I had a type of material on my envelope that wasn't listed in the code, so an engineer had to inspect and sign off)

v/ Third engineer for handrails/glass 

 

Now you will have mandatory energy consultants and other crap.

 

For electrical doesn't fall under municipal inspector so there is a consultant involved in almost all the inspections (excavation/footings you have the Geotech and structural. Framing you have the structural. Plumbing rough in you have the plumber. Insulation is pretty simple. Exterior envelope if there is an issue they make you get an engineer to sign off and after that is what, final occupancy?)

 

Sometimes I don't even know what the point of the city inspector is.......half the crap is "get an engineer," and then you give them a stamped engineer letter and the inspector doesn't even read it.

Designer - you don't need one and are allowed to design your own house for anything under 600 m2.  You can if you want to, but its not a requirement

 

Geotech - no requirements under the BC Building Code as long as you are on native undisturbed materials as per Part 9.  If you are building a structure over backfill then it must be inspected by a geotechnical engineer, but there are ways around that.  Never take what a building inspector says as gospel.  I did a quick check under Colwood bylaws about geotechnical engineers and solid rock and found nothing, but I also didn't look very hard

 

Structural engineer - yes pretty much required unless you are building a house with no beams and just dimensional lumber, that those are extremely rare

 

Building envelope - huh?  I've built everything you can possibly imagine from office buildings to high rises to tunnels to shopping centres and I've never heard of that requirement.  I've seen videos of your house, its hardiplank with a little bit of stone and cedar siding.  Makes zero sense to me

 

handrails/glass - yes if your railings don't have a toprail and your handrails are super custom you need a structural engineer, but just get the guy who did the house structure.

 

Central Saanich doesn't have an electrical inspection department so the BC Provincial Government (BC Safety Authority) does the inspections not a "consultant".  Some municipalities like the CoV have their own electrical inspection departments.

 

Inspectors just need to look for the stamp on the letter, the P. Eng stamp relieves the municipality of responsibility.

 

There are no requirements for energy consultants in any way under the current code.  The only thing you have to do is calculate your effective R value of your wall, floor and roof assemblies.  Its simple to do once you figure it out

 

In some municipalities like Saanich if you have full consultants review everything, including licensed Architects, you might might see the building inspector once on the entire job.  Residential and Commercial construction are completely different worlds however


Edited by tjv, 17 September 2018 - 07:54 PM.


#53 MarkoJ

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 01:01 PM

Designer - you don't need one and are allowed to design your own house for anything under 600 m2.  You can if you want to, but its not a requirement

 

Geotech - no requirements under the BC Building Code as long as you are on native undisturbed materials as per Part 9.  If you are building a structure over backfill then it must be inspected by a geotechnical engineer, but there are ways around that.  Never take what a building inspector says as gospel.  I did a quick check under Colwood bylaws about geotechnical engineers and solid rock and found nothing, but I also didn't look very hard

 

Structural engineer - yes pretty much required unless you are building a house with no beams and just dimensional lumber, that those are extremely rare

 

Building envelope - huh?  I've built everything you can possibly imagine from office buildings to high rises to tunnels to shopping centres and I've never heard of that requirement.  I've seen videos of your house, its hardiplank with a little bit of stone and cedar siding.  Makes zero sense to me

 

handrails/glass - yes if your railings don't have a toprail and your handrails are super custom you need a structural engineer, but just get the guy who did the house structure.

 

Central Saanich doesn't have an electrical inspection department so the BC Provincial Government (BC Safety Authority) does the inspections not a "consultant".  Some municipalities like the CoV have their own electrical inspection departments.

 

Inspectors just need to look for the stamp on the letter, the P. Eng stamp relieves the municipality of responsibility.

 

There are no requirements for energy consultants in any way under the current code.  The only thing you have to do is calculate your effective R value of your wall, floor and roof assemblies.  Its simple to do once you figure it out

 

In some municipalities like Saanich if you have full consultants review everything, including licensed Architects, you might might see the building inspector once on the entire job.  Residential and Commercial construction are completely different worlds however

 

Designer - Designing your own home is realistically not feasible unless you have experience/software. The last house I had designed in the City of Victoria the City refused to take hand-written structural engineering notes on the plans. It had to go back to the designer and then he had to insert all these bubbles and crap in his system and re-print, etc. It also helps if you are using a designer that the muncipalities knows. There are a lot of builders that use a designer that also happens to be an inspector in Saanich.

 

Geotech - No requirements in building code for rock walls to be under 4' but you can't build taller than 4' in Colwood. BC Code and what municipalities want is two different things -> https://www.colwood....all-regulations

 

On a side note there is so much messed up crap in Colwood that it is almost as bad as building in Victoria.

 

Structural - Exaclty my point....if the structural engineer is engineering the garden suite there isn't much left for the City Inspector.

 

Building Envelope - I ended up doing a small feature in porcelian tile (not in residential building code, but in commercial) which required envelope engineer to sign off on. My point is if anything is out of the ordinary crap the inspector orders a consultant anyway.

 

Handrails/Glass - Once again my point is if anything out of the ordinary engineer takes care of it. 

 

Energy Consultants - Already being implemented via convenants at rezoning. For example, Southpoint on Bear Mountain. All homes in there require the energy consult and blower test. 

 

My point is that inspectors complaining they spend more time on owner-builders doesn't hold much weight and if does hold weight just charge for it. Inspections on my house consumed less than 2 hrs on site and my building permit was $8,000.


Edited by MarkoJ, 19 September 2018 - 01:07 PM.

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#54 tjv

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 01:42 PM

I designed and built my own home including all the details, calculation sheets, etc.  I think the software I bought was $700, no issues getting it approved.  Granted I am a civil engineer and have taken courses in drafting, but that was also 20+ years ago.  I'll admit I am not your average home builder and wasn't prepared to pay 10k for someone else to design my house when I knew what I wanted

 

The link you provided is talking about landscape retaining walls, not foundation walls.  Engineering has always typically been required for those above a certain height as they could potentially fail and cause death if improperly designed and build

 

I think having a building envelope engineer is a little overkill for porcelain tile, but hey a lot of building inspectors get scared and just don't want to take responsibility.  It is only a 6 week course to become a building inspector last time I checked.  I'll remain silent on what I think of most building inspectors

 

Handrail/glass - the reason the building inspectors pass the buck on that one is there is nothing in the code book that allows them to verify that it is structurally safe, and as it is a life safety item....

 

Energy consultants - I wasn't aware of that, but I know there are new changes coming in the new code in less than 3 months.  I've done lots of blower tests in commercial, its pretty simple and more scary that what you might imagine.

 

They only spent 2 hours on site for the entire house?  I am shocked, I think mine was at least 6-10 hours plus probably a bunch of hours in telephone consults, submittals, etc, etc.  My permit was well over $10k

 

Of course I also know a few licensed home builders that will let me use their license for a $5k fee.

 

The reality is that unless you make it a real political/election issue, the owner builder thing is here to stay

 

So why do you feel the owner builder exam was brought in?  Its such a teeny tiny percentage of the home builder market, I doubt its even 1%.  I only came up with 2 suggestions, but I am all ears to your theories



#55 jasmineshinga

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 02:08 PM

New code comes into effect December 10, 2018 - and there are a LOT of energy efficiency additions to Part 9 (typical residential homes). You think it's pricey to build now, wait until you don't have the option to opt out of the Step Code. So many consultants are going to be flooded with extra work to jump through these hoops, it'll slow down the developer end of things massively - even more than the labour shortage already is. Too bad all those tent-city miscreants can't be trusted to swing a hammer for a day's pay...


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#56 Nparker

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 03:23 PM

New code comes into effect December 10, 2018 - and there are a LOT of energy efficiency additions to Part 9...it'll slow down the developer end of things massively...

Meaning it will take even longer for homeowners to recover the costs of their "tiny portable backyard homes" with Lisa's monthly rental cap of $500.



#57 Freedom57

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 04:01 PM

How does/would it work for someone who wants to turn their existing garage into a large "garden suite"?  Garage not attached to the house and already has plumbing (2-piece bathroom).  Sounds like that might work in the Large Garden Suite proposal.  Would just need some additional permits & inspection perhaps?



#58 LJ

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 07:36 PM

 

I think having a building envelope engineer is a little overkill for porcelain tile, but hey a lot of building inspectors get scared and just don't want to take responsibility.

 

They never take responsibility anyways, why would this put them off?


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#59 Mike K.

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 08:43 PM

How does/would it work for someone who wants to turn their existing garage into a large "garden suite"?  Garage not attached to the house and already has plumbing (2-piece bathroom).  Sounds like that might work in the Large Garden Suite proposal.  Would just need some additional permits & inspection perhaps?

 

You can convert the garage into a residence now but you'll have to go through the proper permitting process and possibly a rezoning. It's not clear how large 'family-sized' garden suites will be, and if their construction or placement will fall under the same rules as the smaller ones.


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#60 Bob Fugger

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 08:58 PM

Rezoning is a stretch I think: they amended the Zoning Bylaw to add garden suites an accepted use.  Therefore, only a Development Permit is required.  For an existing structure, it may be too large or not setback far enough.  That will trigger a variance application, rather than a full-blown rezoning application.  And even those don't go in front of council, unless they're tied to a rezoning, subdivision and/or development permit application.


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