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Alternative housing

Accessory Dwelling Units

Tiny homes have slowly gained momentum as alternatives to buying and renting traditional houses, as BC housing crisis worsens. Despite the need for for more housing at affordable rates, creative and viable solutions, such as, camper and RV living are largely restricted by red tape. This page offers as a guide to navigating the rules and regulations of non-traditional units.


It should be noted that of the requirements for all permanent tiny homes pertain to the three main components of the BC building code: fire, plumbing, and building.

This page intends to provide resources for those interested in increasing Revelstoke's housing supply in the form of alternative housing. Below you will find basic guidelines and links that will help you navigate the BC standards of Tiny homes, and other forms of ADU's. Why invest in ADU's? ADU development can help fill the gap for middle housinf, as well as provide extra income for home owners. 

"A tiny home defined by the BCBC is a housing unit 3 stories, or less with a floor space no greater than 600m squared"

Tiny house regulations (permanent dwelling)


-meet ceiling height minimums (2.1 meters)

-foundation must be one of the following: concrete, wood, or floor-on grade

-Building assessments still need to be carried out for pre-built modules to ensure compliance with BCBC

-should contain all kitchen and bathroom elements of a traditional house

 -required to meet the energy efficiency standards of ENERGUIDE

-There are no restrictions on bedroom size


-must have permanent electricity and plumbing hookups

-must contain hot and potable water

- needs to be connected to public septic, or have its own holding tank

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-sleeping lofts accessible by ladder are prohibited in Canada 

-must consider fire escapes, ensuring accessible exits 

-must also consider the power source of appliance (gas, electric), as this will affect design/layout 


ADU's/mobile units

What is an ADU?

  • Carriage houses- often found in the backyards of detached houses

  • garage suite (unit above a garage)

  • Basement suite

  • Secondary suite (another unit connected to a duplex, or townhome)


Frost free servicing must be provided to all detached ADU’s. Since Accessory Dwelling units are considered new builds, the homeowner's protection act still applies. As a result, they must be developed by a licensed residential builder, and be insured. In addition, most detached homes are only permitted to ahve one ADU on the lot Infrastructure capacity should also be considered, specifically when building in rural areas. There must also be at least one separate parking space for the ADU.  According to the BCBC, any new permanent dwelling must meet the new energy standard of being 20% more efficient. 

Pros and cons of living in an ADU/Tiny Home 


  • Additional source of income

  • Increases housing supply (middle housing)

  • Tend to be more affordable

  •  easy for tenants to maintain

  • Turns unused space into an asset

  • a push for ADU development may lead to upzoning


  • An ADU cannot be built or sold separately from the lot it resides

  • Loss of storage

  • laws and regulations for ADUs are not uniform and can be difficult to navigate

  • small units do not suit the needs of some prospective tenants (large families)

Co-operative housing

As of now, Co-operative housing is not an option in Revelstoke, however, it is popular in other parts of BC, primarily the coast. So what is co-operative housing, and what is its appeal? 

Co-operative housing is a collective buying model. This means when you buy a into a cooperative, you are purchasing a share,  not the unit itself. This buy-in comes with perks, such as below market rent, but also comes with governing responsibilities. Once you buy-in, you become a member of the governing board of the co-operative which is responsible for maintaining mandates and running the building. In other words, rather than having a landlord, you would collaborate with fellow tenants to determine your own terms and conditions in a democratic manner. Buy in amounts and monthly fees vary depending on the Co-op model and board, however, in some cases members receive their buy-in plus interest once they cease occupation of the residence. Essentially, a co-op is a business model, not a physical asset. 

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