Vancouver is one of Canada’s most densely populated city. Located in the beautiful British Columbia, Vancouver is home to both amazing mountain and ocean views as well as bustling cityscapes. It also contains one of the largest port in the Pacific Northwest, welcoming large amounts of cruises and cargos.
Tall buildings with offices and apartments can be found occupying the downtown area, while low rise houses are spread across the Greater Vancouver area including the lower mainland, Richmond, North Vancouver, Surrey and more. Vancouver is also a city known for its sustainability efforts, highly ranked in green building innovations and urban plannings.
If you are looking to hire an architect for a project in Vancouver, it is highly advised for you to choose a local architect for the specialty knowledge they have on the specific city. With Vancouver having some prominent weather conditions such as frequent rain during fall and winter, local architects will be equipped with the understanding of the weather and influences on building a house. This is crucial in picking out the right materials that are long lasting in different environmental conditions.
They will also have the knowledge in the legislation and restriction involved, as these policies varies greatly according to cities and sometimes even in different areas. An architect from Vancouver will most likely know where to get the best materials and have contacts for other contractors needed to complete the project.
This will not only be convenient but also cost effective. Alternatively, you can also look for them in our homify website. In conclusion, the main benefit of hiring a local Vancouver Architect would be their city-specific knowledge and connections.
Determining cost of building a new house is challenging with many aspects to consider. The cost will also vary greatly due to the different house types, sizes, designs, neighbourhoods and more. However building a house in lower mainland Vancouver is definitely on the high end due to a generally higher cost of living and thus cost of work, as well as building codes.
As mentioned, Vancouver is focused on sustainability and aims to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, which is reflected in building codes that supports energy efficient homes. In addition, the city is located in a seismic zone, which calls for additional strength in structures.
With that, you can expect a cost of $180 to $250 per square foot to build a new house in Vancouver, and quite possibly going up from there. Note that land cost is not included in this price. For Vancouver in specific, building permits, survey and structure engineering fees and architecturals are not included in this calculation as well.
With the wild uprise of the Vancouver housing market in recent years, housing investments are on the trend and it is even more important to fully analyze your neighbourhood and understand the market to appropriately budget for your new house.
Each city has its set of restriction and legislation regarding building houses, property and development. We will now take a look at some of those in the lower mainland Vancouver.
Building Permit - A building permit is required for a building or renovating work, which can be obtained from City of Vancouver.
Green Home Building Policies - The Green Homes Program is designed to help Vancouver move towards its sustainable goals. The policy requires the inclusion of sustainable features for new one and two-family homes in Vancouver, assisting in saving energy, water and money. They must also be adaptable to future energy generation technologies.
Fire Bylaw – The fire bylaw is enforced to regulate fire safety standards in homes. It consists of a number of equipment and procedural regulations, including the requirement of smoke alarms in every dwelling unit, fire and exit door features, carbon monoxide alarms in certain units and more.
Noise Control Bylaw - The highlight of this bylaw that is relevant pertaining to construction of houses is that all construction on private property has to be carried out between 7:30am and 8pm on weekdays excluding holidays, 10am and 8pm on Saturdays and none on Sundays.
Zoning and Development Bylaw - Zoning laws restricts the way land and property can be used in each city areas to maintain living standards and citywide goals. Vancouver consists of many zoning districts, each with their own land use regulations and design considerations. It is important to check up the district your house location is in and review the zoning regulations.
View Protection Guideline - Nature is an important part of Vancouver, and the stunning mountain and ocean views are protected by view corridors. There are several view cones established by the City of Vancouver, which is used to calculate the maximum building height for the areas that falls under each view cone.
Please note that the above restrictions and regulations applies to the lower mainland of Vancouver, and are established by the City of Vancouver. Other areas in Greater Vancouver each have their own set of legislation, such as specific building height requirements in Richmond due to the airport nearby.
Architecture in Vancouver can be evidently seen with high rise buildings crowding in the downtown area, with mostly residential houses surrounded by trees throughout the remaining lower mainland. Surrounded by breathtaking views of coast mountains and flowing waters, tall buildings in downtown have taken on a characteristic of using glass windows to showcase the exceptional view outside, especially on the higher stories.
Sustainable wood buildings are also increasingly popular, with both environmental and aesthetic appeals. Although winters are still met with cold temperatures and occasional snows, Vancouver is one of the warmest city in Canada and thus building materials have less weather concerns comparatively.
Vancouver is many times ranked highly as one of the best cities to live in, and is a great place to settle if you enjoy nature and a more serene atmosphere. If you are considering looking for local architects, make sure to check out our professionals section to find some Vancouver architects!