Container homes are gaining in popularity around the world. There are a lot of reasons for the rise in popularity. They tend to be cheaper, faster and more customizable than conventional homes. You can design them to look just the way you want.
But since they are new idea, building codes and inspectors aren’t always willing to approve a project that includes a container home. So how can we navigate this issue and what are the rules for container homes BC.
Permits for Container Homes
Permitting for a modular or container housing model is done by your local municipality. There are no overall rules for container homes in BC. You have to contact your local bylaw office to find out what the specific rules are where you live, and they are all different.
But here are some common issues you’ll find you come across.
Floor Plan Square Footage
Most municipalities in BC today have an allowance for structures under 108 sq feet. Meaning that if your build will be smaller than that you can usually avoid any kind of permit requirement.
Generally anything over that size will be considered just like any other building and will need a permit
Storage Vs. Living Space
If the unit you are planning to put on your lot is going to be used for storage instead of a living space, most bylaw offices will have more relaxed rules. The requirements for a container home that is just a storage shed will be a lot easier to get approval for.
Make sure you discuss this with the bylaw department and that you are clear on what the container will be used for.
Getting a permit for a shipping container homes BC
If you are going to be building a home or office that will be considered a “new build” by the city, then you will typically need to get a permit for this.
If you are buying a prefabricated container house that will be shipped directly to your lot then you can check with the manufacture of the home to see what approvals they have. Often they will have CSA approval for the modular home already worked out. This information can be provided to the city and can assist in the approval process.
Your home will generally need an inspection that you may be required to pay. Some area will require engineering drawings for the permit process for your home as well and this can take time. Again, this can usually be provided by the manufacturer. But these should be factored into the cost of a home before you begin.
Getting Approval for a Container Home in BC
As more and more of these homes are put into use then it will become easier and easier to get them approved. Cities and bylaw offices can be very slow to adapt to change. But with the advantages provided by container homes we hope that these problems can be overcome and approval will be easier and more shipping container homes can be built.
Please contact us if you have any more questions about this process for a prefab home or shipping container.