A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody

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1 A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody Building Division This guide assists you in constructing a new secondary suite. This pamphlet is for general guidance only. It does not replace bylaws or other legal documents.

2 What is a secondary suite? A Secondary Suite is an additional dwelling unit located in part of a residential building that is a single real estate entity. The Suite must not have a floor space greater than 90sq.m (970sq.ft.) and 40% of the total floor space of the building. Only one additional dwelling unit is permitted in each residential home. A Secondary Suite is not permitted in a Duplex or Townhouse building. What are the requirements? A Secondary Suite must conform to the requirements of the British Columbia Building Code Section 9.36 Secondary Suites (see attachment A). The B.C. Building Code (B.C.B.C.) has adopted a number of alternative requirements for Secondary Suites in order to provide minimum health and safety standards for occupants without imposing undue costs to owners. However, there are a number of other requirements in the B.C.B.C. pertaining to Secondary Suites that are not outlined in Section The following guide is provided to assist in clarifying the most critical health and safety requirements in both Section 9.36 and the balance of the B.C.B.C. Fire Safety In order to restrict the spread of fire and smoke, and to ensure the occupants a safe exit from the building in an emergency situation, a Fire Separation must separate the Suite from the balance of the house. A Fire Separation is a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire. Wall and floor systems that are shared by both the suite and the remainder of the house must be separated by a fire separation with a fire resistance rating of 45 minutes. The fire resistance rating can be reduced to 30 minutes when interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms are installed. To achieve a 45 min. fire resistance rating for walls, one layer of 5/8 Type X drywall on each side of the wall is required. To achieve a 45 min. fire resistance rating for ceilings, one layer of 5/8 Type X drywall is required. To achieve a 30 min. fire resistance rating for walls, one layer of 1/2 regular drywall on each side of the wall is required. To achieve a 30 min. fire resistance rating for ceilings, one layer of 1/2 Type X drywall or one layer of 5/8 regular drywall is required. Doors installed in walls that require a fire resistance rating must have labels confirming that they have a fire protection rating of 20 minutes and have rated self closing devices. All other openings in a fire separation are required to be tightly fitted. Safe Exiting Doors: Both the Secondary Suite and the main house must each have at least one exit door that is at least 2 8 wide and 6-6 high. The door must be equipped with an approved deadbolt lock. The door must also have a door viewer unless there is transparent glazing in the door or in a sidelight. Shared Egress Facilities: Exit corridors, stairways or exterior passageways shared by the Suite and the main house, must be at least 2 10 wide. It must be possible to travel from the Suite door in opposite directions to two separate exits. A single exit is acceptable if both the Suite and the main house have either a separate exit or a window with an opening, which is a minimum of 3 3 high, 1 10 wide and less than 3 3 above the floor. Please note that special precautions must be taken if an exit stair or ramp from one unit passes a window from the other unit. 2 A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody

3 Safe Exiting (Con t) Bedroom Windows: Each bedroom must have a window, openable to the outside, to provide a second means of escape in case of fire. The window opening must be a minimum of 3.76 sq.ft. in area with no dimension less than 15 (i.e. 23 x 23 or 15 x 36 ). The window must be openable from the inside without any special tools or knowledge. Security bars are not permitted. Smoke Alarms A smoke alarm is required on each floor level of both the house and the secondary suite and in each bedroom. In order to provide early warning to occupants, hard wired photoelectric type smoke alarms are required in the house and the Suite in addition to any existing smoke alarms. The additional smoke alarms must be interconnected so that the activation of one smoke alarm will cause the other alarms to sound. The additional alarms are not required if the building is sprinklered or if all fire separations separating the Secondary Suite from the rest of the house are rated at 45 minutes or more. Heating Systems Each room in the Secondary Suite must have winter heating. In order to contain smoke and fire, a Secondary Suite and the main house are not permitted to share a common forced air heating system. Existing Secondary Suites that are heated with a common forced air system may apply for an equivalent approach to meet this Building Code requirement as follows: 1. An additional interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm is to be installed in the furnace room, and 2. The furnace is provided with a relay to shut down the furnace fan and gas valve if the alarm is activated, and 3. The heat ducts and cold air return in the Secondary Suite are equipped with fire dampers where they penetrate the wall or ceiling membrane. This approach is not necessary in buildings with hot water or electric baseboard heating. Ventilation The B.C.B.C. requires that each bathroom and kitchen be equipped with an exhaust fan vented to the exterior. Intermittent, for two 4-hour periods daily or continuous operation for the bathroom fan is required. A fresh air intake is required if the Suite contains any fuel fired appliances like a hot water tank or fireplace. Plumbing Each dwelling unit is required to be provided with a kitchen sink, a bathtub or shower, a bathroom sink and a water closet. Each unit must be provided with a potable water system. Additional plumbing fixtures installed to accommodate a Secondary Suite will affect the operation and performance of existing fixtures in other areas of the dwelling. Drainage, venting and water systems must meet Plumbing Code requirements to ensure that an acceptable level of performance is maintained throughout the dwelling. Note: Laundry facilities or space for laundry facilities must be provided for in-suite or a common fire separated shared laundry room is to be provided for in the design. Gas and Electrical Gas and Electric permits are required for any alterations to the respective systems. Permits must be obtained from the B.C. Safety Authority, A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody 3

4 Parking Requirements One extra parking space for the Secondary Suite must be provided in addition to the space(s) required for the main house on the lot. The extra space for the Suite must be contained on the property and not encroach on a public right-of-way or street. The extra space must also be independently accessible. Information at City Hall We advise homeowners to check the approved building plans of their home at City Hall if available. The plans may show construction that was allowed by previous building permits. For more information, please contact Applying for a permit to construct a new secondary suite Site Plan Floor Plans Cross Section All construction must comply with the current edition of the British Columbia Building Code, Zoning Bylaw, Building and Plumbing Bylaw and other City Bylaws and regulations. A letter of authorisation is required from the homeowner if the contractor is applying for the permit. A title search of the property may be required. Two sets of building plans are required to be submitted. The following is a list of the information needed on these plans. If you are unable to provide the following information, you should engage the services of a professional designer or a registered professional familiar with the requirements of the B.C. Building Code. 1. The site plan must be drawn to a minimum scale of 1/8 to 1 0 (or equivalent Metric 2. Show the location of the existing house on the property with setback dimensions to the property lines; 3. Show all other buildings on the property; 4. Show the north arrow, the property lines and label the streets, lane and driveway; 5. Show the required off street parking spaces (minimum of 2); 1. The floor plan must be drawn to a minimum scale of ¼ to 1 0 (or equivalent Metric 2. A separate floor plan is required for each floor level where any work will occur; 3. Clearly indicate the separation of the Suite from the remainder of the building with a bold line; 4. Show all new framing details including beams, joists, lintels, posts, rafters, etc.; 5. Indicate materials being used (i.e. type of drywall board); 6. Identify the use of each room with existing and proposed floor plan; 7. Show and dimension all walls, windows, doors, skylights, stairs, decks, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces, furnaces, laundry equipment and other appliances; 8. Provide floor area calculations for the Suite and the remainder of the building; 9. Identify all smoke alarms, ventilation fans, heating outlets and air intakes. 1. The cross section must be drawn to a minimum scale of ¼ to 1 0 (or equivalent Metric 2. A minimum of one Cross Section is required; 3. List wall, floor and ceiling assemblies including size and type of drywall board. 4 A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody

5 Elevations Note: An Elevation drawing will only be required if there are changes to the exterior of the building. (i.e. new doors or windows). 1. The elevations must be drawn to a minimum scale of ¼ to 1 0 (or equivalent Metric 2. Show all windows, doors, decks, guards, stairs and handrails; 3. Provide spatial separation calculations. For examples of drawings see Applying for Residential Building Permits handout available at the Building counter. Fees We require a deposit fee at time of application. The permit fee is based on calculated construction value and is payable when the permit is issued and ready for pick-up. We may also require a damage bond. For more information please contact the Building Department at Processing Time A residential permit containing all the required documents, and conforming to the Building Code, Zoning Bylaw and other applicable City Bylaws can usually be issued within two weeks. Other Requirements If there is any alteration or addition of any plumbing fixtures, you ll need to apply for a a plumbing permit. Fraser Health Authority approval is required for all septic systems and private water supplies. We suggest you obtain approval prior to building permit application. Fraser Health Authority # Newport Drive Port Moody V3H 5C Further Information Once you complete your secondary suite, it needs to be licenced. Contact the Bylaws and Licencing Division at for details. A Guide to Secondary Suites in Port Moody 5

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