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Can You Add Onto Your Existing House?

Updated: Jul 3

If Your House is Cramping Your Lifestyle

caricaturized comical illustration of a family squished into a tiny floating house

Not consulting with an expert to determine the feasibility of building an addition to your house will cost you the most money in the long term. Homeowners in the Metro Vancouver, Lower Mainland, or Sunshine Coast who are considering building an addition to their house will want to read on. After reading this article, you'll have a basic understanding of all the factors that determine whether or not you can add to your house and will know exactly how to find out if you can


Your problem right now is you don't know whether or not you are able to add onto your existing house, so you can't make any real progress on solving your current house not having enough room.


Without consulting the right expert, the time and money you spend on plans for an addition could be a total waste


Considerations for an Addition

simulated sketch of a building expanded in different coloured volumetric boxes

Do you actually need more space?

  • Evaluate what is taking up the space you have

  • Evaluate how the current space is being used

  • What do you intend to use the space for - yourself, extended family in a multigenerational configuration, or rental tenants?

  • One of the pieces of my SAPPHR Strategy™ design process is cost-effectiveness, so is expanding a cost-effective plan?


digital painting of a bust of a 1940s era city inspector grimacing into the camera with a backdrop of downtown city

What do the regulations allow?

  • Do zoning regulations permit the additional floor area?

  • Do zoning regulations permit the additional height or site coverage?

  • Does the building code allow you to make your house any larger?

  • Does the building code allow you to modify your house without upgrading the existing portion to meet current code requirements?

  • Will the city allow you to make the exterior of your addition match the existing portion?

You can learn more about city permits HERE.



digital watercolour of a house being deconstructed

What are the technical considerations for the addition?

  • What are the energy requirements of the addition, and what would that cost?

  • Does the existing house need to be upgraded just because you're altering it - either the structure, insulation, drainage, heating, or other systems?

  • Does the existing ground (either under your current house for an extra floor, or beside your house for an extension) support the new construction?

  • Can the existing house support the addition regardless of whether it's a horizontal or vertical extension - either the extra weight, extra ventilation needs, or something else?

Think about the future.

  • Will you be satisfied with a mishmash of your old house and a new addition?

  • Does it make sense to upgrade the performance of your existing home even if it's not required by the city or by the engineers?

  • Your house is still in pretty decent shape, but it's starting to need more work every year. Could an addition be a way for you to phase an upgrade to your existing house without having to move out and having to spend all the renovation money at once?

  • Failing to upgrade your existing house could drastically reduce the performance, enjoyability, and lifespan of your addition.

  • Another key piece of the SAPPHR Strategy™ design process is Peacefulness. If you find peace and joy in your addition but not in the existing house (not having renovated it), you likely won't be spending much time here and your life will be mostly squeezed into the addition.


photo of Daniel Clarke Architect

How Can I Help You?

I incorporate the experience of dozens of teams who have built Passive House projects of varying building types for about the same cost as typical construction


My RED Report™ will tell you what you are permitted to build on your property based on the city regulations. If you order my RED PRIME Report™ you will also learn what is practical and what is not feasible.


If you take advantage of the insight in my RED PRIME Report™, you will be focusing your energy on a chosen direction, knowing that it is achievable and feasible. You will be able to start mapping out how to to turn your idea into reality. Without this insight, your efforts will be split between multiple options while not knowing which - if any - are achievable. You will continue spinning your wheels not making your progress as the cost of construction continues to increase.


The first step in getting the RED PRIME Report™ is to book a free 30-minute Diagnostic Session with me using the button below.


If you'd like more time to consider this option and want to see what a basic RED Report™ looks like, you can download it for free by clicking on this link:

>>>> DOWNLOAD SAMPLE RED REPORT™ <<<<


You can also learn more about the RED Report™ at this page HERE (link). Whichever of these paths you take at this point, you're at least moving forward.





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