Vancouver home builders say changes to building code ramp up prices

WATCH: Strict new regulations in Vancouver will probably cost you more to keep things up to code – and you might also be paying for things you never imagined. Ted Chernecki explains.

The CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association says newly implemented changes to Vancouver’s building code isn’t the helping the city’s affordability problem.

“These changes make homebuilding in Vancouver much more expensive,” says Bob de Wit.

“Even though we want to have progress, we want to see adoption of new technologies, we have to add some reasonability to this.”

READ MORE: Vancouver has 2nd least affordable housing market in the world

Changes to the city’s building code went into effect three weeks ago, over a year after they were approved by city council. They include things like a ban on new door knobs, wider hallways, a disabled-adaptable washroom on the main floor – all items designed to make Vancouver homes more livable and sustainable.

WATCH: The new rules were approved in 2013

De Wit says it means there’s a difference of between $25,000 and $40,000 to build the same house in Vancouver that you would in Burnaby.

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“It’s mainly due to the adaptability requirements and the higher environmental standards in Vancouver compared to the rest of the province,” he says.

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“The levers and the doorknobs get all the attention, but the big cost hit gets from those changes is the width of hallways and the height of railings and that kind of thing.”

Vancouver is the only city in the province with its own building code, and often becomes a testing ground for ideas that are later implemented province-wide. But de Wit says the pace of changes are too much.

“It’s a lot. We’re expecting another change in two years. In order to have affordable housing we need predictable changes.”

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