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Building Garden Suites in Victoria, Langford and Other BC Municipalities

Building a Garden Suite in Victoria or elsewhere in BC can be a great way to create additional living space and potentially revenue on your property. It’s important to do your homework before you start construction on a Garden Suite (also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), Laneway Houses or Carriage Home.

From land surveying for an ADU to building permits, there are several important steps you need to take to ensure a successful project. In this article, we’ll outline the key considerations for anyone building a Garden Suites / Carriage Home in BC.

Garden Suites Victoria

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  1. Determine your zoning and building regulations

The first step in building a garden suite / carriage home in BC is to determine your local zoning and building regulations. This will help you understand what type of structure is allowed on your property, as well as any setback requirements or other limitations. In some cases, you may need to apply for a variance or a special permit to build a carriage home.

Regulations for Garden Suites / Carriage Homes in  BC communities can be found at the links below:

Municipality Name Allows Them or Current Status Municipal Website
Central Saanich Cottage and Carriage House Yes. A cottage is one-storey and a carriage house is two-storey. Click Here
Colwood Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) Yes. Suites that are located within an accessory building, detached from the main residence (ie. such as a “carriage home” or “garden suite”). Click Here
Esquimalt Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) Yes Click Here
Highlands NA Final approval Q1 2023. Click Here
Langford Garden Suite and Carriage House Yes. A Garden Suite is an accessory dwelling unit located on the ground floor of a detached accessory building. A Carriage Suite is an accessory dwelling unit located on the second floor of a detached accessory building. Click Here
Metchosin Detached Secondary Suite Yes Click Here
North Saanich Guest Cottage and Carriage House Yes. Carriage house if built over garage. Click Here
Saanich Garden Suite Yes Click Here
Sidney Detached Secondary Dwelling Yes Click Here
Sooke Small Suite Yes Click Here
Victoria Garden Suite Yes. Eligible locations for a garden suite in Victoria include all properties that contain only a single-family detached dwelling and are appropriately zoned. Click Here
View Royal NA In Official Community Plan: Special consideration will be given to the provision of ground-oriented units in order to accommodate continued demand for family housing.  Click Here

*  Table courtesy of  Backyard Bungalows

  1. Accurately budgeting your garden suite
    Once you have a good understanding of the regulatory landscape, it’s important to consider your budget. Building a carriage home can be expensive, so you’ll want to have a clear idea of what you can afford before you start designing or hiring contractors. Be sure to factor in costs like permits, surveying, excavation, and construction materials.

    In 2019 the average cost of a new garden suite sits at $90,964, with some ranging as high as $180,000. Construction costs in Canada have increased considerably since 2019.

  2. Choose a location for your garden suite / carriage home
    Next, you’ll need to choose a location for your carriage home. This will depend on factors like the size of your property, the availability of utilities, and any local regulations. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a location that is convenient for you and your family, but also meets any zoning or building requirements.

  3. Get land surveying for your garden suite / carriage home
    Before you start construction on your garden suite, it’s important to survey your land. This will help you understand the topography of your property, as well as any potential drainage or other issues. A professional land surveyor can help you create an accurate map of your property, which can be used to design your carriage home and ensure that you’re complying with any regulations.

  4. Design your carriage home / garden suite
    Once you have a good understanding of your property and regulatory requirements, it’s time to start designing your carriage home. You may want to work with an architect or a contractor to create a design that meets your needs and fits within your budget. Be sure to consider factors like the size and layout of your carriage home, as well as any zoning or building restrictions.

  5. Apply for permits for carriage home / garden suite
    Before you can start construction, you’ll need to apply for any necessary permits. This may include building permits, zoning permits, or special permits, depending on your location and the type of carriage home you’re building. Be sure to submit all required documentation and pay any associated fees to ensure a smooth permitting process.

  6. Prepare your site for garden suite construction
    Before construction can begin, you’ll need to prepare your site. This may involve clearing trees or other vegetation, leveling the land, and installing any necessary utilities. Be sure to work with a licensed contractor who can help you navigate any potential issues, like buried utility lines or drainage problems.

  7. Build your carriage home
    Finally, it’s time to start construction on your carriage home. This may involve framing, roofing, installing windows and doors, and finishing the interior. Be sure to work with a licensed contractor who can ensure that your carriage home is built to code and meets any regulatory requirements. Depending on the size of your project, construction may take several months or even years to complete.

    Building a carriage home can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure a successful project. By following these key considerations, you can create a beautiful and functional carriage home that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

    Professional land surveying is essential for a building a garden suite on time and on budget.

    Bennett can help give you peace of mind for your piece of property.

Bennett Land Surveying has surveyors nearby

As we continue to grow in the region we are excited to form more professional relationships with the people that are building garden suites in Victoria, Langford, Saanich and more. Are you a builder, developer or planner? Give Danu our Managing Partner on Vancouver Island a call at 250-754-5518.

Start a project with us.