Exploring the Possibilities of New Multiplex Housing in Vancouver

Multiplex Vancouver

Exploring the Possibilities of New Multiplex Housing in Vancouver


Vancouver, historically a hub of multi-family housing, is now exploring new approaches to multiplex housing. Multiplex housing has long been a crucial part of Vancouver’s housing landscape, particularly due to their efficacy in providing housing at an affordable rate. The recent focus on multiplex housing in Vancouver is of great importance due to the need for more affordable housing options in the city. It is the city’s hope that these new multiplex housing options can help to provide much needed housing for people on all ends of the economic spectrum without sacrificing livability. In this article, we will explore the possibilities of new multiplex housing in Vancouver, taking a look at new techniques, materials, and ideas. We’ll cover the benefits, challenges, and implications of this type of housing, as well as what this could mean for the future of Vancouver’s housing market. Join us as we dive into exploring the possibilities of new multiplex housing in Vancouver.

The Growing Need for New Multiplex Housing in Vancouver

The urbanization of cities across the world has led to an increase in the housing needs of people who move to them for work. One of the most promising solutions for this is multiplex housing, which is defined as residential structures that have separate roofs and/or foundations but have multiple dwellings attached to them. The city of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada, has seen a steady increase in the need for new, affordable multiplex housing. Vancouver can be seen as an example of the benefits that come with multiplex housing. In recent years, more and more people have been moving to the city, especially college and university students, in order to seek employment and education opportunities. For these people, traditional housing options may be too expensive or difficult to find due to the region’s booming population; however, multiplex housing allows them to save money while still living in a desirable location. Multiplex housing can also be beneficial to the environment, as it is much more efficient than many other housing options. Multi-family dwellings typically require fewer resources to maintain, including heat, electricity, and water, on a per-residence basis. Given Vancouver’s vulnerability to a changing climate, the city is looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint, and multiplex housing may be one way to do that. When it comes to development, multiplex housing can be attractive to both homeowners and developers alike. Because these dwellings take up less land than individual residences, developers can use the same amount of land for more numerous housing projects, leading to greater monetary returns. Homeowners, too, can benefit from multiplex housing, as they can purchase a unit at a comparatively lower cost. The ongoing need for affordable, efficient housing options in Vancouver is undeniable, and multiplex housing offers a unique solution. In addition to the potential cost savings and environmental benefits, multiplex housing offers an attractive solution to those looking for a home in the city. As more people move to the city, demand for this type of housing can only be expected to increase.

What are Multiplex Homes?

Multiplex homes are residences that are portioned into four or more units, with each unit typically having their own entrance. These homes usually have a shared living space such as a common courtyard, while static features such as rooftop infrastructure tend to be found throughout multiplexes, since they are collectively used. As multiplex homes are designed to accommodate multiple households, these residences are typically smaller, but more affordable than single-family homes. In urban areas, multiplex dwellings are an increasingly popular option for people looking for a communal living situation with a lower price tag than that of conventional homes. Multiplexes can also be an innovative solution to expanding housing stock in cities with housing shortages, such as Vancouver. Multiplexes are often easier and more cost-effective to build than single-family homes, and can have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional housing units. Moreover, multiplexes can increase density in urban environments, which can make for flexible, walkable cities. Despite their benefits, multiplex homes can offer numerous challenges as well – such as noise and privacy concerns. To counterbalance these potential issues, it is important that multiplex building regulations be updated to ensure proper design and planning. No matter the outcome, multiplex homes are undoubtedly an interesting option when it comes to housing in Vancouver – and they deserve a deeper exploration.

Types Of New Multiplex Housing in Vancouver

Stand-alone Buildings

Stand-alone buildings are a type of new multiplex housing that is becoming increasingly popular in Vancouver. These buildings feature individual living units that are constructed and managed independently, giving residents the autonomy and privacy that traditional apartment complexes do not provide.Stand-alone buildings are a great option for people looking for the convenience of apartment living without sacrificing the independence of a single-family home. Each apartment contains a private entrance, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, ensuring complete privacy while still having access to shared amenities like courtyards, gyms, and other recreational areas.In addition to the privacy and convenience, stand-alone buildings often have great views as they are typically located on hillsides or waterfronts. Since these buildings are constructed independently, developers are able to design unique and aesthetically pleasing structures to make living in them even more enjoyable. Well-equipped stand-alone buildings offer a high-quality living experience, often at a lower price point than traditional apartment complexes. Plus, having a private entrance means that residents can be sure that their belongings are safe and secure. If you’re looking for a modern, independent living solution in Vancouver, considering moving to a stand-alone building could be the best decision for you.

Converted to Duplexes

In Vancouver, duplexes are a great way to invest in real estate, as they allow for two separate residences in a single building. There are many different types of duplexes available throughout Vancouver. The first type of duplex is an existing home that has been converted into a duplex. These conversions can either be in the form of a side by side duplex or a main floor up duplex. In either version, the home is typically cut into two separate units. Depending on the size and quality of the building, these conversions can provide excellent investment options. The second type of duplex is a new multiplex housing property. These properties are designed as multi-unit residential buildings, with two or more dwellings per building. These duplexes are often built with quality materials and design to make them attractive investments for those looking for rental income. With the option to build up to four stories, these properties can provide excellent rental income, as well as great building security.The third type of duplex is a townhome duplex. These units are two stories and usually have a separate entrance and access to common spaces, such as a shared courtyard or playground. Townhome duplexes can provide great rental income, as well as the appeal of living in an attractive, modern building.No matter which type of duplex property you choose, you will be able to leverage the benefits of having two homes in a single location. With great rental income potential and the option to choose between different types of properties, duplexes in Vancouver provide a great investment opportunity.

Advantages Of Building multiplex Housing

Engaging in multiplex housing construction in Vancouver can provide a number of advantages. Multiplex houses increase the number of housing options available to renters and buyers, while opening up other beneficial capabilities, such as increased density and better access to quality services and amenities. They can also help reduce housing costs as they are generally cheaper than individual houses, as well as supporting greater use of sustainable materials and building practices.Multiplex dwellings offer tenants and buyers greater choice when it comes to the size, type and location of housing. The larger, multiple-story buildings offer more housing flexibility than stand-alone houses, since each floor of the building can have its own separate entrance, layout and design. Multiplexes also utilize space more efficiently, creating higher-density neighborhoods where more people can live in close proximity to one another. This naturally results in higher levels of community involvement, as well as access to greater public services and amenities, such as schools, shops, parks and transport. In addition, building multiplexes is generally cheaper than constructing individual houses, since more housing can be constructed on the same amount of land, reducing material and labour costs. This cost-efficiency has resulted in multiplexes often being cheaper than lone dwellings, allowing families and prospective owners to access higher quality housing options at a lower price.Finally, multiplexes are built with a sustainable mindset. The construction of multiplexes is often associated with a greater use of eco-friendly materials and sustainable building practices, such as utilizing natural ventilation techniques and including energy-saving appliances in the units. This helps reduce the environmental toll of any housing project and can save money for the residents in the long term.By building multiplexes, Vancouver can take advantage of these numerous benefits and can open up quality housing options to a greater number of people. As a city, it is important to be aware of these advantages when determining the best approach to solving the current housing crisis.

Criticisms Of Multiplex Housing

Multiplex housing has come under fire from some in Vancouver for a variety of reasons. One of the primary criticisms is the lack of privacy and space that these dwellings can provide. With multiplexes, owners and renters must share common areas like hallways and trash areas, and this can be a major downside for those living there. Furthermore, multiplexes are often narrower than traditional detached homes, so amenities like a garden or a patio can be limited or non-existent.Another criticism comes from those who oppose the increased density of neighborhoods. Multiplexes are most often built in areas with higher populations, and this has led to concerns about overcrowding and reduced quality of life. The congested streets and a higher number of cars in parking lots are also a source of contention.Some also consider multiplexes to be aesthetically displeasing. Opponents of multiplexes label them as “low-cost” housing since they are usually smaller and have fewer amenities than traditional detached homes. As such, some view them as oppressive and bleak, or as a “devaluing” of the neighborhood in which they are built. Finally, multiplexes may be subject to more regulation than traditional homes. Depending on the city, they may be subject to more stringent noise and sanitation rules, and this could make the tenant experience less desirable.Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether multiplex housing is right for them. For some, it provides a desirable lifestyle, but for others, the lack of privacy, limited amenities, and increased rules could outweigh the benefits.


The housing crisis in Vancouver is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. With skyrocketing rents and many families unable to find affordable homes, the need for creative solutions is becoming more urgent. One strategy that has gained traction in recent years is the concept of multiplex housing. This type of housing involves converting large buildings into two or more separate dwellings, with each dwelling renting as an individual unit. This makes it possible to provide more affordable housing without a direct increase in density. Multi-faceted solutions for multi-faceted problems are needed to address the housing crisis. Multiplex housing gives tenants more control over their housing, which allows for more flexibility and a more specific selection of occupants for each dwelling unit. The cost of building new units is also significantly lower than constructing single family homes. Additionally, because multiplex housing facilities can provide a variety of services and amenities, it could be an ideal solution for people looking for more options than just single-family homes.In order to make multiplex housing even more accessible to low-income populations, several steps must be taken. First and foremost, governments need to reduce unnecessary regulations and restrictions that prevent these projects from breaking ground. Next, owners should be allowed to rent their units out to people making lower incomes, or those earning Social Assistance. Finally, additional funding should be made available to offset the increased cost of construction and conversion.Multi-family housing has the potential to provide many benefits to the citizens of Vancouver. By increasing the availability of affordable housing, it can help to reduce the disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” that have become increasingly apparent in Vancouver. Additionally, multiplex housing can also bring much-needed stability to the ever-changing rental market. The possibilities for multiplex housing in Vancouver are truly limitless. We must act now to embrace this cost-efficient, efficient way of providing affordable housing for everyone in need.


Vancouver is set to explore the potential of introducing a new form of housing, known as multiplex housing, to the city. The City of Vancouver has released a new report discussing the potential benefits and challenges of introducing this new housing format. Multiplex houses are dwellings which are divided into more than one unit, typically allowing for more dwellings in one space than traditional housing. This can create an effective way to use space and increase the number of dwellings available in the city. Each unit within the multiplex is typically not connected in any way, meaning that each unit will be able to function independently from any other unit.The report from the city looks into the different possibilities associated with multiplex housing, such as the ability to increase housing stock and its potential to reduce the cost of home ownership. It also assesses how the introduction of this new format could affect the current housing market in Vancouver. The report also acknowledges that multiplex housing does present difficulties in terms of the architectural design, which could create challenges for architects, builders, and developers.The potential advantages are clear. The focus on multiplex housing in Vancouver means that the city can increase its housing stock and make ownership more affordable. It also has the potential to offer increased density in housing, which could open up more opportunities for taller buildings to be built in the city.The City of Vancouver is now exploring the potential to introduce new multiplex housing into the city. It remains to be seen if this new format of housing will be adopted by the city.



Laneway House Guide

laneway house plan guide

Laneway House Guide, Vancouver, BC.

If you’re thinking about building a laneway house in the City of Vancouver this laneway house guide will help you understand:

    • What you need to know when looking to build a laneway house for your home in Vancouver
    • An overview of the technical terms you need to know while building a laneway house
    • Rules and regulations that you need to know
    • Permissible developments within your laneway house
    • Insights into the application process

    How big can your laneway house be?

    Laneway House-

    For more Vancouverites, a laneway house can mean access to more money or space. The second house or secondary suite built on an existing lot – often in the backyard – mostly overlooks the back lane of the existing house.


    Know the extreme outer limits of the laneway house. For the footprint, include within its purview any buildings, carports, or covered porches except eaves. Take into account steps, or any other projections allowed through the by-laws.


    To calculate the height of the laneway house, take the help of a bit of geometry. Look at the horizontal datum plane, which is the reference point on which the surface elevations are based and measure it in terms of the average of the surface elevations at the intersections of the setback lines. Do this for the front, rear, and side of the property.

    Guidelines For Building Laneway House

    Where is a laneway house permissible?

    This laneway house guide highlights the fact that Laneway house permissible with a new or existing one-family dwelling or one-family dwelling with a secondary suite. Additionally, the following conditions must be met:

    • It is located on a site served by an open lane.
    • The site is located on a corner served by an open or dedicated lane
    • A double-fronting site, meaning it is served at the front and the rear by a street.

    What should be the width of the site for the construction of a laneway house?

    Generally, the width should not be less than 9.8 m or 32.15 feet. However, under special circumstances, you may be approved for a laneway house if it has a width of at least 7.3 m or 23.95 feet on the discretion of the Director of Planning, who will consider massing and the impact on neighbourhood privacy as well as the application Council policies and guidelines before granting the exception.

    Can a laneway house have a basement?

    Yes, if the construction of the house has been approved, it can also have a basement.

    What if the site has a width of more than 9.8m?

    This laneway house guide helps us understand that for a site in the RS-3 and RS-3A Districts and the RS-6 District and the sites of more than 16.8m in the RS-5 District, the width of a laneway house and its accessory should be within the guidelines of provided by the District schedule. Simply stated, read the district guidelines.

    Which side should the laneway house be facing, and how many stories can it have?

    The laneway house if located on east-west oriented sites needs to be located on the south side. Additionally, laneway houses can only have one storey – or at the most – a partial second storey.

    What other accessory restrictions should you keep in mind?

    If looking for open balconies, know the restrictions. You also cannot build sun decks or roof decks, be it in a one storey house or on the partial second storey of your house.

    What should be the height of a single storey laneway house?

    For a flat roof, the height is measured to the highest point of the roof and cannot exceed 4.3m. For a gable or hip roof, we include the mean height level between the eaves and the ridge, and it cannot exceed a height of 5.2 m. Leave that tower for Rapunzel; a quaint house that does justice to the budget (and the Council guidelines).

    What should the location of the single storey laneway house be?

    The laneway house guide highlights that a laneway house has to be within 10.7 m of the ultimate rear property line. Plus, it has to have with a width of at least 4.9 m from the family dwelling and 0.9 m from the rear property line. Additionally, you also need to have a distance from each property line, which is equal to at least 10% of the lot width.

    In case of a smaller area, consult the Director of Planning who can offer some relaxation with respect to specific restrictions. The Director of Planning can relax the location by 0.6 m from one side property line for interior lots, or 0.6 m from the inside property line for corner lots.

    What about the height of a single storey laneway house with a partial second storey?

    Looking to build one storey with a partial second storey? Ensure that its height does not exceed 6.7 m to the ridge of a gable or hip roof with a minimum pitch of 7:12 (this is the slope of the roof in ratio to the horizontal run of the roof-). Or, for a pitch less than 7:12, it should be 5.8 m to the highest point of the roof.

    While we are hovering on the topic of height, let us also put it out there that while one may be interested in a modern Tower of Pisa, stick to the guidelines. It says that if the roof pitch is 7:12, one cannot stray from a 4m intersection of the surface of the roof and the exterior wall surface, measured from the horizontal datum plane. Or, if the pitch is less than 7:12, the walls of the partial second storey must be set back at least 0.6 m from the exterior walls of the floor below.

    By regularly referring to this laneway house guide you are able to keep these key factors mind when building the laneway house.

    Footprint of Laneway house

    The footprint of your home is very important, and if you haven’t already guessed or are in the middle of tearing your hair out, there are more guidelines in store.

    But don’t stress, we are here to make your task easier. The footprint of your house is the perimeter, which generally houses your parking or other accessory arrangements that do not have a residential utility. Your partial second storey should not exceed 60% of the footprint of the house if your minimum roof pitch is 3:12 or 50% of the footprint if it is less than 3:12. Try not to get confused. There is more ahead.

    What about the dormers?

    Yes, how can we miss the most important part of the house? What is a laneway house without those quaint little dormers? The rule says that it should be inset at least 0.6 m from the exterior wall of the floor below.

    What is the location of a laneway house with a partial single storey?

    The first thing you need to know is that this is a bigger house, so there are more rules. The laneway house has to be located within 7.9 m of the ultimate rear property line. Plus, it has to be 4.9 m away from the actual dwelling and at least 0.9 m from the ultimate rear property line, which can also be relaxed if the Director of Planning sees appropriate conditions.

    Again, don’t bank upon it. The house also has to be built in conformation with the guidelines of the district schedule.

    What should be the floor area of the laneway house?

    This is straightforward. It should not exceed the lesser of 0.16 multiplied by the site area, or if you are not willing to calculate, then it should just be 83.6 m2. But it is mandatory that a laneway house must have a minimum area of 26 m2 unless guess who steps in? No brownie points if you guessed it. When the Director of Planning considers the design of the laneway house, they may lessen the minimum floor area to 19 m2.

    What about the size of the rooms in the house?

    If you have no separate bedrooms, then skip this. But if you are planning to have a bedroom, then the house should have another habitable room that has an area of 16.7 m2 and a minimum dimension of 2.1 m measured between the wall surfaces. The same applies to the bedroom. The dimension remains the same but ensures that the size is a minimum of 8.4 m2.  Rooms are where you live out your rainy, sunny, and wintery days. Invest well.

    What should the computation of floor area for a laneway house include?

    This laneway house guide will help you understand the computation of floor are for a laneway house. This is an exhaustive list, so you’ll need to sit down for it because it is a long list.

    • It must include all floors. You have to take into account any earthen floors, for instance, and then measure it to the building’s extreme outer limits.
    • Stairways, fire escapes, and other features such as an elevator shaft which is considered to be a part of the measurements for each floor by You-Know-Who (Director of Planning).
    • The floor area of the basement, which has been graciously allowed by the Council; remember?
    • The floor area enclosed by the covered parking.
    • This one is important- if the distance from the floor to the floor above, or in the absence of the floor above, to the top of the roof rafters or deck exceeds 3.7 m, an additional amount equal to the area of the floor area below the excess must also be included. To simplify, if the partial second storey or roof has to cover more area, there is a need add that much in terms of the ground floor.

    What must the calculation of floor area exclude?

    We apologise, the previous list was just a sneak peek into what is to come. This is the real deal.

    First, let us tackle what we “must” exclude while measuring the floor area:

    • Areas of floors that are above the upper storey in such a way that cannot be accessed except for with a hatch, or they are adjacent to the upper or only storey but with a height less than 1.2 m.
    • Floors located at or below the finished grade with a height of less than 1.2 m. Finished grade refers to the final elevation after the grading of it. If it is only slightly raised, forget about it.
    • Covered porches- if their location is at or below the first storey, if they are open on at least one side that is protected by railings, the total excluded floor area does not exceed 3 m2 and where the ceiling height of the total excluded area does not exceed 2.75 m measured from the porch floor and 3% of the total area.

    Now that we have got the “musts” out of the way let’s discuss what we “may” exclude from the measurement-

    • The open balconies, sundecks, roof decks, or other accessories such as the like face the lane.
    • Patios and green roofs but only if You-Know-Who approves of the design of sunroofs, walls, and railings.
    • Exclude spaces under sloping roofs with a pitch of at least 3:12 if the vertical distance from floor level to ceiling does not exceed 4.5m, the ceiling attaches directly to the sloping roof rafter, the maximum excluded area does not exceed 25% of the maximum floor space mentioned before and the excluded area, in total, does not exceed 25% of the maximum allowable floor area.
    • Can also exclude a staircase area that does not exceed 2.75m2, only if this added with the previously excluded area does not exceed 25% of the maximum allowable floor area.
    • Shopaholics can rejoice. Get a little respite on storage spaces such as the linen closet, clothes closet, and the like, provided, it does not exceed 3.7m2.

    What to do for a private outdoor space?

    The private outdoor space can only have an open balcony, sundeck, or roof deck. Or, have a patio located at grade with a minimum size of 3.7 mand a minimum dimension of 1.5 m.

    Are there any setback regulations?

    If not using a particular end of the property for anything like parking or fire access, ensure that it is permeable and landscaped.

    Nobody likes a decrepit house, and it blemishes the entire row of neat houses.

    Any other “must-includes”?

    The first thing is to include is a 75 mm wide trim around all doors and windows. What is trim? It’s installed along those beautiful those door and window frames – to add in decoration. It also hides the messy lines that meet the ceilings from the doors and windows.

    A laneway house must also include a canopy over the main entry door.

    Any other do’s with regard to the lane-facing construction?

    Yes, there are quite a few.

    • A main-entry door that faces the lane must be at least 1.5 m away from the ultimate rear property line because one can’t just open onto the street.
    • At least 10% of the building elevation facing the lane must have windows no smaller than 1.1 m2.
    • Wall cladding materials on a building elevation facing the lane must be continued in equal proportions, no less than 2.0 m along adjacent sidewalls or 1.2 m where the discontinuation of material occurs at a change in the building wall plane such as a bay or a chimney. Don’t make it ugly; just make it symmetrical because that is what people love.
    • However, do note that one or all of the above rules can be done away with if the Director of Planning feels that the design is in sync with the housing regulations, and there is no question to the lack of quality of durability.

    At what other points can the Director of Planning use their discretion?

    The Director of Planning will supervise every move, and they can see if a certain exemption to a rule or a relaxation is better suited to the house. They can permit certain freedoms if

    • The topography of the house is such that literal enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship,
    • If the relaxation is necessary to retain a tree,
    • If it is necessary to allow a green roof that does not have railings or stair access.

    It is all up to the condition of the place, its individual qualities, and peculiarities, and how things would shape up there. This is not a free pass to ask the Director to give a little leeway. It just means that when the rule cannot be applied to a specific situation, the Director has the liberty to give the go-ahead.

    Final thoughts

    Building a laneway house can seem tricky. It’s important to read through the provisions to not run afoul. Our laneway house guide is intended to help you navigate the complexities of your laneway house project. We’re sure you wish to make an amazing little house, so do your homework, read this not-so-little rulebook and get all your construction knowledge on point.

    Your laneway house is something that is not just going to affect you. It will affect your neighbours, your pets, your children, and the community in which you live. If it seems like a daunting task, the team at Silvercrest can help. We are well-equipped to guide you through the process.

    Call or email us for your free consultation today!