Looking to off-set your mortgage or construct a secondary suite?

Having a secondary suite to help offset a mortgage or as a way of keeping family close is becoming more and more appealing to homeowners. A secondary suite is designed to be a self-contained living unit, whether built into an existing dwelling or as a separate building. As such, suites have unique requirements to ensure the safety of all residents.

Does your zoning permit secondary suites?

Secondary suites are only allowed in the following single-family residential zones:

  • RR-1a: Low Density Resort Residential
  • RR-1b: Low Density Resorty Residential - Optional Modular
  • R-1: Low Density Residential
  • R-1a: Low Density Residential - Optional Modular

Go to our online map to find out what zone you are in.

Safety Compliance

As part of the process to authorize a pre-existing suite, a review for basic safety compliance with the provisions of the Building Bylaw would need to be performed, including (but not limited to): …

  • interconnected heating systems (not preferred); …
  • smoke alarms (additional interconnected ionization & photo-electric smoke alarms required); …
  • ceiling heights (minimum 2.0 m); …
  • minimum window areas and windows in bedrooms that allow for an exit; …
  • means of egress; …
  • fire separations between the suite and principal unit; …
  • exit stairs; …
  • review of electrical system for adequacy and/or proof of Electrical Permit upgrades; and
  • other obvious safety concerns.
Legalized Suites

In order for a suite to be considered a legal suite, all suite construction must comply with the Zoning Bylaw and the BC Building Code. A building permit is required to ensure that the secondary suite is legal.