As housing affordability continues to be a problem across the province, some Kelowna homeowners are trying something different.
Kelowna’s building and permitting’s manager says the city has had two container homes built in the region in the last two years.
“We have two container houses built to the Canadian Standards Association A-277 standard that are presently occupied as carriage homes,” said building and permitting manager Doug Patan.
Patan said people considering the eco-friendly approach to living must have their chosen container inspected and approved on a federal level before applying for a building permit.
Container homes must meet the same requirements as factory built modular housing, he said, called the CSA A-277 standard.
“Once the unit is completed a placard is placed for the consumers and municipalities indicating compliance as a modular home,” Patan said.
The CSA A-277 standard specifies the procedure for certification of prefabricated buildings, and partially or fully enclosed modules and panels for buildings of any occupancy.
After this procedure is completed, Paton says, the next step is to find a section of land available which suits your chosen home and apply for the mandatory building permits.
“A plumbing and natural gas permit for the site servicing and connections to the A-277 unit are required through Building and Permitting at the City of Kelowna and electrical service inspections through Technical Safety BC,” he said.
Environmental assessments may be needed before putting the shovel to the sand because container homes may have to classify as a carriage home to be built in certain zoning areas.
“A container house may be used as a carriage home within Kelowna once the property has been re-zoned to the “C” designation without an environmental assessment. An assessment would only be required if the unit was being placed within an environmentally sensitive area requiring a development permit through Urban Land Use,” said Patan.
Local realtor Sally Hollingsworth is continuing to research container homes or “earth homes” to see if they are a viable option for future home buyers.
Hollingsworth says the smaller sized houses are often built underground or built into a slope of a hill, which makes for better insulation and saves on heat, making them a more environment friendly option.
“The insulation allows less heating and cooling the house, as the earth homes have average temperatures of 16 C year round.” Said Hollingsworth.
“Earth homes” not only help on your energy bill but also cuts construction costs, as the lot sizes are smaller and it costs around $4,000 per container, which can be stacked and designed to the owners preference.
Building permit applications are available at Kelowna.ca. The City’s policy is to issue within ten workings days if the application is complete with all the required accompanying information.