The following has important information regarding the considerations you should make before purchasing a homeplan, or a building lot.
If you are a builder with lots of experience, or a homeowner that has several home builds under your belt, and feel that you understand the issues you must consider before deciding on a home plan, then please continue on to place your order.
Aside from your dreamhome wish list, and the budget you have attached to your building program, your houseplans or your home design will need to meet certain requirements based on where you are building. There are maximum widths, depths and heights allowable on most building sites that are defined either by your local planning and building department, and/or by your development or subdivision architectural guidelines. Please familiarize yourself with these requirements before purchasing a plan. WE have also included some information on what you should pay attention to when purchasing a lot for your building site.
So, how do you know if the home you wish to build suits the lot you are selecting? If you are building on an acreage there will be applicable setbacks, but likely not of the variety you will bump into in a municipality, city or town as your home will probably not be built so close to the property lines. Such things as environmental issues due to setbacks from creeks or other features may impact the location of your home on the site. Setbacks from steep slopes also have an impact on your homes placement.
The careful selection of your building site is very important to the vision you have for your home becoming a reality. It is not always possible to get EVERYTHING you are looking for in a lot. Most lots have both advantages and disadvantages. We will try to set out the most important criteria below.
Where to find your lot information
If you are building in a developed subdivision:
You will likely be able to get all the information you need from the subdivision developers office. They will know the Zoning Bylaws applicable to their lots, utilities locations, and are the authors of the guidelines on their lots. They can inform you of important items that you should pay attention to.
If you have a building contractor:
If you have a building contractor constructing your home, they can also be an excellent source of this information. Building Contractors can also help you to assess your home building budget vs. the size and cost of the home you are wishing to build.
If you are starting your project by yourself:
In this case, lets start from Scratch………..
We will assume here that there are no other sources of information, and that you need to do all your running around yourself to obtain the information on your Building Site and Restrictions. Of course, it is best to understand these criteria yourself in any case, as you will have more control of the outcome.
Generally, there are three sources of information you need to make your decisions.
1.) Local Government Building or Zoning Bylaws – available in your local government Building or Zoning Office
The maximum allowable dimensions and height of your home will be limited by the local gov’t regulations. (We have detailed information sheets that we can make available which you can utilize as checklists. Please contact us for further information.)
Your home size is controlled by several regulations in your local Zoning or Building Bylaw.
- The width and depth of your house is controlled by the building setbacks stipulated in your lots zoning type (R1, R2 etc.).
- The height of your home is controlled by a height calculation. Usually it will be measured vertically from the curb height at the street. Checking this is very important if you are building a home with steep roof pitches, or if you are building on slopes where other home owners need to see over your home. Each local gov’t has their own calculation, so it is important that you obtain this information from them.
- There often are other requirements on city lots, and meeting briefly with your local building inspector to get a list of these requirements can save trouble later.
2.) Land Titles search showing Right of Ways or Easements set Municipal or Utility companies
- Your lawyer may do this for you in the purchase process, but then it might be too late to back out if there are issues. There are several reasons why you need to do a land titles search early on in the process. A Title Search shows all legal documents affecting your lot, and many smaller companies can do this for a nominal fee. It can pick up on easements, right of ways, mutual agreements between properties, and save you from unfortunate surprises later on.
- If there are utilities crossing your property like sewer lines or power lines, they will have an easement wide enough to be able to access their lines. In a lot of cases, the eaves of your house are not allowed to encroach into these easements or right of ways, whereas building setbacks USUALLY are measured to your foundation walls. As you can see, this alone can change the maximum size of home you can build on your lot.
3.) Land Developers building guidelines
The allowable size, height, and character of your home likely will be limited by the developer of the land. The guidelines which developers create can be very extensive, and each developer has a vision of what they want their development to look like when it is completed. These guidelines accomplish two things; they limit you in what you can build on your site, and they protect you by limiting what your neighbours can build as well.