In case you missed it, I write about the various steps before building a coach house in Ottawa here. If you are considering building a coach house in Ottawa, look no further! I have compiled a complete guide to help you build from start to finish.
I wanted to make this quick Coach House Ottawa guide to guide you through the basic steps of building a coach house in Ottawa. I started off with little knowledge or contacts since coach homes had only been legalized for 3 years in my city. I hope my journey and knowledge can be passed onto you so that you can have a smoother, less stressful and more enjoyable process!
What Does A Coach House Mean?
A coach house, also known as a carriage house or tiny house, is a secondary living dwelling typically built on a property in addition to a pre-existing home. Some benefits to building a coach house include:
- Create a secondary dwelling that’s above ground instead of a basement unit
- Increase property value
- Increase rental income
- Provide space for a family member (ie aging parent or older child)
- Provide more space for urban living
- Cost effective way to build a residence
- Good alternative to buying a condo or second home
- Convenient and simplified life. Easy to manage and clean
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Coach House?
The cost to build a coach house in Ottawa can vary greatly. A legal coach house needs to be built according to new home construction standards and typically the electrical and plumbing go through the existing home. After considering building material, labour, permit and survey costs, you could be looking at spending upwards of $60,000-$80,000 for your tiny house in Ottawa. The cost depends on the square footage of your tiny home as well as materials selected. When comparing the cost to build a coach house versus creating a legal secondary basement dwelling or addition, the costs can be quite similar. It is important to look at options and budget accordingly.
How to Build a Coach House in Ottawa
Step 1) The first step is to find the right property.
You want to check with your local municipality rules on coach house requirements. Typically a small home on a large lot is ideal. In Ottawa, a coach house can’t be more than 40% of the size of the existing home. Ideally you want access to park in the back for Tenants or residents as well. Here are other key items to consider:
- What is your purpose for building a coach house? If it’s for a family member you may have a different budget in mind. If it’s for the purpose of renting out, connect with a local Realtor or investor to get an idea of market rent in your area.
- Where is the home located on the property? Ideally the home should be set closer to the street since the coach house needs to be behind the property and be a certain distance from the existing house.
- Does the current home have a secondary dwelling unit? Ie a basement in law suite. This could mean you are prohibited from building a coach house
- Where is the house located and does the neighbourhood allow coach houses. Some neighbourhoods do not (ie Rockliffe Park in Ottawa)
- Does your current home have the potential to build a secondary suite in the basement? This may be a more financially feasible option. Make sure to go through numbers and look at different options.
Step 2) Meet with your local municipality to check if your property qualifies for a coach house.
In Ottawa you can meet with the city and they will quickly analyze your property to determine if it’s in fact possible to fit a coach house on the land. Gather as much information from the municipality to guide you and your architect once drawings are done. See below for sample drawings. Once this has been established, you can get started on next steps!
Coach House Ottawa Plans
Below are sample drawing plans I used when creating my coach house Ottawa build. These are drawings for an approximately 500 square foot coach house with electrical and plumbing being ran through the existing home.
Step 3) Create drawings and plans for your coach house
Step 3 is to make a plan and to get drawings done by an architect and engineer. Budget this cost to be approximately $2000. You may also be required to have a second meeting with the city of Ottawa to formalize your plans for approval. You may have to get a survey and grading plan done on the property. Here are some other items to consider:
- Foundation type
- Square footage
- Height of building
- Window location
- Property line
- Set backs
- Hydro lines
When designing your layout, you may be limited due to size. There are typically things you must include such as a utility room, closet space, specific ceiling height, and window location. Be meticulous in this step of the planning process since you are laying the foundation of bringing your coach house dreams into a reality. When in doubt, refer to the guidance from the city of Ottawa.
Step 4) Apply for a coach house building permit
The next step is to finally apply for permit! There may be a development fee as well with the City of Ottawa. Permit application cost is $250 and you typically must build within 1.5 years. The process can take weeks to get a permit so be patient.
Step 5) Start building your coach house
The final step is to organize the various trades and start building! You want to select the right design/build team from the start. Having the trades organized with a budget in place will assure you of less stress and a smooth process. Make sure that you check reviews, personal references, and previous projects the contractor has experience completing before making your selection. You want to work with someone who you trust to get the job done in a quality and timely, professional manner. Budget approximately 6 months to complete your coach house build from start to finish.
Are you thinking about building a coach house in Ottawa? Let me know in the comments below!