The Electrical Laneway House

Here’s a handy tip when building your laneway house: consider ‘going green’ and building a laneway home without any electricity.. That one simple move could save you the $20,000 that BC Hydro might charge for new electric hookups on these homes.

Bryn Davidson, who runs Lanefab Custom Homes, said he was originally told by city staff it would cost just a few hundred dollars to hook up power to the new backyard rental units.

“We were told from the city and other people that we would be able to just run off of an upgrade to the main house for about $500,” said Davidson.

But now that his clients are going ahead with their projects, BC Hydro has revealed the price for hook-ups will be up to $20,000 for some homeowners.

“Through the process of dealing with these first ones, we were originally told [by BC Hydro] it would be between $20,000 and $30,000, and now they’re saying between $8,000 and $20,000,” said Davidson.

BC Hydro was not available for comment early Monday morning, but Davidson said the power company said the overhead power lines are at capacity, so the new lines will have to be run underground.

One of Davidson’s clients, Agnus Mendoza, said she can’t believe staff at BC Hydro appeared to be so unprepared for the new homes and were not more upfront about the potential costs.  Mendoza says she’s already spent more than $4,000 on development fees and was hoping to break ground on her unit this week before learning of expensive hook-up fee.

Or take part in the latest Vancouver eco-density fad: extension cables hanging from tree branches going from the main house to the garage.

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I think that there needs to be a more comprehensive post on this design. It's not unusual for the media to jump on the worst case scenario and run with it. I just had BC Hydro hook up my laneway house power and it cost me $430. This cost is nothing new. Developers that have torn down a single family dwelling and put up townhouses have been hit with the fees if the property is already maxxed. I think where we are all sobering up is that the city of Vancouver is treating a laneway house with similar guidelines as a primary residence. I would have loved to have taken a $20,000 garage and added an extra window and toilet, but that isn't their intention. I would like BC Hydro to mention their profit on a $20,000 project. I think… Read more »


On the laneway house hook-up charges.

The city want $11,000 for a double piped sewer connection and another $4,000 for the water connection. If you're already double piped and have the water supply to handle the required fire sprinklers you can avoid these costs, otherwise, there's $15,000 PLUS the city permit fees, PLUS design, engineering etc.

I called hydro and they tell me their charges will vary from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on where the power pole is, the location of any transformers etc.

All in, you're looking at $25,000 to $40,000 before you even drive a nail.

The ones that are going to do these are people building new or doing extensive renos.



Patrioz points to official figures and ignores reality.

The reality is that money (any currency) is worth what you can buy with it, no more and no less, and as of right now one CAD buys USD .93763 on the interbank market. Your local bank or currency exchange will give a bit less as they have to take a profit of course.

read on

"Then try and tell yourself our dollar is worth US$0.92. "

Well, the currency exchange guy says it is. You are forgetting taxes, and yes we pay more of that, but hey – it's nice to live in a country where few people go bankrupt due to medical costs.


Oh, dear. Realpaul, you must have had to actually pay for child care during that insufferable two-week teacher's strike. Or, (gasp!) look after your own children. That must have been really stressful while stepping over dead bodies and avoiding random bullets from renegade police. Tsk, tsk…

No Longer Looking

Apparently some people in Vancouver think they are like aristocracy. They'll compare Vancouver to the great European cities where only "old money" owns land. I've heard this from multiple sources, personally and on the internet. Some kind of retarded group-think going on. Please let the crash start before I lose my sanity. 😛


{21:]Currency? As patriotz posted in the last thread, the CAN$ is very similar currency to currency as it was 50 years ago.

Patrioz points to official figures and ignores reality. Look at the prices of general items in your local Safeway, Gap, Home Depot, baby store, you name it.

Find the prices for comparable items just across the border in Bellingham.

Then try and tell yourself our dollar is worth US$0.92.

read on

"I told him of the many more murdered by police every week in Vancshitstain. "

Excuse me, what now? Ill-founded rant much?

Currency? As patriotz posted in the last thread, the CAN$ is very similar currency to currency as it was 50 years ago.

As for tourism, the lucrative trade of caretaker often allows people to take extended holidays half-way around the world…


I went to the site of the 1952 Helsinki Olympic games yesterday. It was built for sport and not commerce obviously. Speaking to the caretaker ( its basically a big empty soccer field complex now) about the billions we are wasting on the 2010 games he said in the very Finnish way "Thats insane". I couldn't agree more. I told him about our having to cancel the surgery for old folks, the school books being decades old, the vicious nature of the teachers unions closing schools and taking the kids and parents hostage, the onerous taxes, the homeless and systematic police harrassment of mentally ill, drug addicted and homeless on the streets. His eyes got wider as I told him of the rape of the enviornment by pouring raw sewage into the water and how the decadent deniers would lay… Read more »


This is pure sensationalism. The particular case cited is when the upstream branch is close to maxed out and Hydro needs to upgrade the mains to accommodate the increased load. This person either needs to wait for someone else to pay to upgrade the lines or eat the cost.

Most neighbourhoods have spare capacity on the load side of the pigs so the hookup charges will be much less. Always best to check with the utilities first before embarking on a project like this.


@skiff: No, I assume that is not an option. However, if the laneway house was built to very low energy standards, and the main house retrofitted to the same standards, then BC Hydro ain't getting their 20K.

Remember, we live in a relatively mild climate. No air-conditioning needed if the houses are properly shaded with deciduous trees. No heating needed if properly insulated and fitted with low-e windows and some passive solar design elements. For people with a life, no big screen tv's needed. It ain't hard to live the good life using a fraction of the energy as the status quo.


REBGV & FVREB Court Ordered Sales (No. of Solds)

Year detached attached total

2004 11 30 41

2005 72 104 176

2006 59 80 139

2007 99 61 160

2008 84 178 262

2009 247 177 424

REBGV & FVREB Court Ordered ACTIVE Listings

Year detached attached total

**2009 135 108 243

**Sept 15, 2009


"Here’s a handy tip when building your laneway house: consider ‘going green’ and building a laneway home without any electricity."

Is having electricity a requirement for getting an occupancy permit from the inspectors? If not, the extension cord solution will probably be very popular.


11 X Anonymous

That's my point…

Didn't banks require pre-sales ?

I recall The Jameson had a court case whereby people wanted their deposit back, but the judge allowed the developers to keep them for the time being.

IMHO, the developers of THESE projects are keeping their pre-sale purchasers on the hook.


Re: The Ritz.

I have a friend in the homebuilding industry. He tells me "everybody" in the biz is scrambling to restart previously mothballed projects.

This dead cat is sure going to make a giant big splat when it comes back down to earth.


Interesting read.

The underground drug industry directly employs 90,000-150,000 people in BC. Wow. Now what kind of immeasurable impact does THAT have on real estate prices?

Freddy the Freeloade

"Bryn Davidson …was originally told by city staff it would cost just a few hundred dollars to hook up power to the new backyard rental units."

Mistake #1 – Why did he trust the city; they are not the utility.

"now that his clients are going ahead with their projects, BC Hydro has revealed the price for hook-ups will be up to $20,000 for some homeowners."

Mistake #2 – Assuming that the other BC Hydro rate payers (you and me) are going to subsidize his densification.

Next whiner please…


@NO – LYMPICS: Developers are developers…if they're not building, they're not in business. As long as a bank is willing to line up financing, builders will build, even if it means that they (i.e., the bank) will go broke.


A sign of the times — Ritz-Carlton back on track

The story notes other projects being resurrected….

I wonder if the developers foresee this as their last chance before we get into a major "correction".


Reversals of fortune The next financial fiasco? It could be reverse mortgages.… QUOTE: Ernest Minor is packing up his Marysville, Calif., home. After his wife, Norma, died in 2007, a reverse mortgage came due—a whopping bill of more than $200,000. (The home's current value is $130,000.) Now Minor, who says he was misled into thinking the loan was a good way to pay for Norma's mounting medical bills, is likely to be evicted. Reverse mortgages can be valuable as a last resort for seniors who want to stay in their homes and have significant equity but need money to supplement income or banish an existing mortgage payment. With a reverse mortgage, they can trade some of that equity for a lump sum and monthly payouts. But those loans can be terrible for customers who don't understand the complicated rules… Read more »

No Longer Looking

Just another day in THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH


Investigating Sesame Street's role in the financial collapse… Don Pittis Sesame Street got the jump on the "good vampire" trend — heck, maybe they started it — prepping a generation for the Twilight novels by selling the idea that the Street's numerically obsessed Transylvanian vampire, The Count ("one batty-batty, two batty-batty"), though slightly odd, was basically loveable. But The Count and his friends also have to answer for helping precipitate last year's financial earthquake, the epicentre of which occurred in New York about one year ago today. Yes, those Sesame creatures promoted a dangerous misapprehension drummed into future Wall Street wide boys sucking their thumbs and staring into their TV sets: that to count is to understand. Counting is a powerful tool. Since those first heady days, however, when we learned to keep track of more sheep than we… Read more »


Laneway housing?

Park a mobile home.

When they sell these places, will they call them mortgage helpers ?

I can see too many people rolling the dice and trying to make fast buck that may never come.


The Greatest Sucker's Rally in History?

I love when an article supports my secret inner desires


Unprepared? For what, a mere doubling of peak power consumption? By asking $20,000 it sounds to me like they are prepared 🙂