Thank you to everyone who showed up at our recent follow up passive house tour! We hope everyone found it to be informative! Can't wait to continue sharing progress of this new build with Nick Bray Architecture & Project Mint Developments.
Below is an article published online by The Vancouver Sun on September 27th, 2019 written by Claudia Kwan. This article is about Multi-generational Living in Vancouver which features an interview of our very own, Doug Langford!
Eight years ago, JDL Homes worked on a Kitsilano project where the clients asked for an infill structure to be built on the same property as their character house. (Infills can also be known as coach houses; they are different than laneways because they can have their own legal title, and thus can be sold separately from the main homes.)
The clients wanted a space to be available for their adult children to live at various transition points in life, whether it be finishing post-secondary or saving up to buy homes of their own.
JDL Homes president Doug Langford says the bulk of their business now revolves around plans for multi-generational living.
“In many cases, the parents have paid off their property or built up a tremendous amount of equity, and are wondering how to help the next generation,” he explains. “We can design something that gives them a range of options.”
The first step is to check into the applicable zoning for the property in question. Some areas might allow as many as four legal entities on one site, while in other neighbourhoods, the limit might be a single-family home with a basement suite and a laneway. There’s room to think outside the box and to plan ahead for the future.
For instance, JDL built a duplex with walkout suites on both halves, to provide rental income for two sisters living on either side of each other. Down the road, the suites could work for parents to age in place, or for grown children of their own to live. In another duplex – for two brothers – a common corridor had doors that could be opened up to function as a large central space for holiday gatherings. When it wasn’t needed, the doors could be closed off to provide privacy.
While going through the design process, Langford says it’s important to plan and document how all of the infrastructure components — plumbing, heating, wiring, fire stops, etc. — are mapped through the house. The preference is to try and isolate mechanical systems to each individual unit to limit ripple effects if an issue should arise. That means designated water systems, as well as a water shut-off for each unit. Electric baseboard heaters are seeing a resurgence in popularity, while small heat pumps and mini-ductless HVAC units that do both heating and cooling are options as well.
If there is some groundwork being laid for future renovations, try to avoid routing important stuff through walls that might later be taken down. You can also route sanitary, water and sewer services through one side of the property to keep an area clear for a secondary structure to be built later.
Planning for common spaces isn’t just about interiors; consider the outside as well.
“With one project for a multi-generational family, we built a courtyard between the house and infill with a fire pit and some lighting,” he says. “You can also add in some clever gardening and hedging to have some separation, especially if at some point one of the units might be sold off.”
Beyond the basics, there are some ‘nice-to-haves’ that work well for homes containing more than one family. Additional soundproofing would likely be appreciated by all, if one can afford the cost for sound-rated drywall, mineral wool insulation, and ‘res bar’ vibration-absorbing steel channels on joists. A little skim coat of concrete would also do wonders. A double layer of Tyvek could help limit transfer of smells between different spaces.
Bigger kitchens in the main home are also nice to have as a gathering spot for the entire family to get together, or to act as a common kitchen. That could mean extra storage for dry goods, a wok/spice kitchen add-on, and full-size appliances. Double dishwashers would probably also go over well.
The one thing his clients don’t seem to worry about in a multi-generational living situation? Parking.
“This doesn’t come up as a priority in planning, especially since they tend to have properties in areas that are well served by transit and car co-ops,” says Langford. “So I wouldn’t even be worried about it from a resale perspective. That mindset of car dominance is diminishing.”
As summer is nearing an end and many kids are back to school, it's time to think about preparing your home for fall! Here are some tips on things you should do now to help make your home more comfortable during fall (and winter). If you’re not comfortable handling any of these tasks yourself, hire a professional to ensure you don’t get hurt or cause unnecessary damage to your home.
1. Clean or replace your gutters & downspouts
As leaves begin to fall they will undoubtedly fill your gutters and downspouts, blocking water from making it off your roof and away from your house. While time-consuming, cleaning them out regularly until all the trees in your area are leaf-free is a good idea to help stop water from finding a way inside. Full gutters and downspouts are also an invitation for critters, who will nest in them before eventually attempting to get into your attic and potentially causing a lot of damage. Inspect your gutters and assess if it's better to replace them completely with leaf guards.
2. Caulk around windows & doors
Caulking around windows and doors prevents cold air from getting in and your conditioned inside air from getting out. Even if you did this in the spring, it’s a good idea to do a perimeter check to see if you need to add more caulking in spots. Having a good seal around these openings will not only make your home more comfortable, but will also help you waste less energy and save you money. Besides windows and doors, caulking around vents (such as your dryer and bathroom exhaust fan) and cables and pipes that run outside of your house is also a good idea.
3. Check or replace weatherstripping
Weather stripping loses its effectiveness with age and needs to be replaced eventually. Do a visual check of the stripping around exterior doors and windows (including your garage door) and replace if it appears worn or cracked. If the stripping appears fine but you can feel air moving when your doors and windows are closed, check that the stripping has been installed properly or that you’re using the correct stripping (there is a difference between door and window stripping, and a difference between foam and rubber stripping).
4. Inspect your roof & chimney
You’ll be very thankful if you catch a problem with your roof now before water starts dripping on your head in the middle of a November downpour. The average lifespan of an asphalt shingled roof (the most common in North America) is between 15 and 20 years if installed properly. Factors such as critters, severe weather and whether you’re in a highly populated tree area will speed up the deterioration process.
From the outside look for signs of worn, loose or missing shingles and shingles with mold or rot on them. Check gutters for granules from the shingles (a sign of heavy wear) and ensure that your gutters and flashing (the metal lip between your shingles and gutters) are securely attached. If you have a metal, tiled or roof with solar panels it’s best to have a professional do an inspection.
You should also inspect around vents for missing caulking and broken seals and do a visual check of your chimney to ensure there are no crumbling bricks or bird or squirrel nests inside.
From inside your attic check the underside of your roof for water damage and holes. Also make sure there are no nests in your attic insulation and that vents in your soffits are not blocked. (Soffits connect the overhang of your roof to the top of your exterior walls and help vent unconditioned attics. Keeping these vents clear is important in having a healthy home).
If you are not comfortable going onto your roof or into your attic you should hire a professional to inspect it. If you do find signs of an infestation call animal control or an exterminator immediately.
5. Put your air conditioning unit to rest.
Removable A/C window units should be removed and properly stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions before winter in order to protect the unit and help keep cooler outside air from getting inside. Whole home A/C units should be powered down from the breaker in your main electrical panel. If you have a safety shut-off switch located outside by the A/C unit that should be turned off as well.
6. Shut off & drain outside faucets
The faucets you use outside in the summer to wash your car, soak your garden and hose down your kids are susceptible to freezing. If proper care is not taken to shut-off and drain these lines before winter, it can lead to pipes and faucets bursting or cracking and can create a huge, potentially expensive, disaster. All faucets that exit your home should have a shut-off valve located inside. These shut-offs are usually located close to where the faucet exits the basement to the outside, but can also be located further back in the home closer to where the pipe for the faucet branches off from the main water source. If you don’t have shut-off valves or can’t find them, contact a licensed plumber to have them installed. Once the water is turned off inside, open the outside faucet to let it completely drain. If the inside shut-off valve has a drain plug — a small cap on the side of the shut-off — open it while the outside faucet is still turned to the on position (make sure to have a bucket under it when you open it as water will come out). Once all the water has completely drained from the line, close the drain plug on the shut-off valve and turn the outside faucet back to the off position. If you have access to the run of pipe that goes outside, adding pipe insulation around it is bonus protection and will also help keep condensation down in the summer months as well.
Some homes have frost free hose bibs but it's still important to disconnect any hoses.
7. Clean & inspect your furnaces
Even if it was pumping out air conditioning to keep you cool, most people neglect their furnace during the summer months. Now that you’re about to turn the heat back on and spend most of your time breathing the air it pushes around, it’s recommended you do some general maintenance to keep it running in top form. The first thing you should do before kicking on the heat is to clean or replace your furnace filter. This not only helps the quality of your inside air, but also keeps your furnace running more efficient (and the more efficient your furnace runs the less money you waste heating your home). If you have a permanent filter, follow the directions on how to clean it and only use the recommended cleaning solutions (you breathe the air that passes through the filter so cleaning it with harsh chemicals will only contaminate the air and could be potentially dangerous, especially if the cleaning solution is flammable). Replaceable filters come in all different sizes and ratings. Ensure you’re getting one that is the correct size to fit your furnace and then choose the level of filter protection you want. Filters are rated using the MERV system, or “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. The higher the MERV rating the more particles the filter will remove from the air. If you have allergies or pets, a filter with a higher MERV rating will help keep your air cleaner. Of course, it’s not that simple as a higher MERV rating also means less airflow, which in turn could end up doing more harm to your furnace than good. Check with your furnace manufacturer to see what the highest level of filter you can use is before going for maximum protection. Filters should also be replaced every 90 days. Doing a good vacuuming around your furnace and inside your floor and air intake vents also helps keeps air moving better so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. If you have pets (or have just moved into a newly built house) having your ducts professionally cleaned is highly recommended.
If your furnace is over 15-years-old you should have it inspected by an HVAC professional to make sure everything is still in proper working order before firing it up (HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning). A good HVAC professional will be able to detect potential problems and will also be able to give you advice on running your furnace more efficient.
If your home is heated with baseboard or radiator heating, they should be cleaned and inspected for potential hazards as well.
And don't forget to...
Please be advised that we will be closed on Monday Sept 2nd, in lieu of Labour Day.
We hope everyone has a great long weekend!
Building a Certified Passive House: The Real Challenges and Solutions of an Urban Build (Builders’ Breakfast Series)
The Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) members, Nick Bray Architecture, JDL Homes, and Project Mint Developments are building an exemplar Certified Passive house (a near NetZero Energy and Step 5-compliant) in Vancouver, and at the August 22 Builders’ Breakfast seminar, they will share the real challenges and solutions in building this high-performance home (CPD credits available).
Challengingly located in a peat bog and on a small 25’ X 122′ lot, this Certified Passive house showcases the integration of systems and design to create a housing solution that complies with Step 5 of the Energy Step Code, which will be required for all homes by 2032. In addition to showcasing one pathway to meet its high-performance targets, this Certified Passive home also demonstrates how these homes can be integrated into small-lot neighbourhoods that are common in urban centres.
This home was part of a HAVAN-sponsored tour in June, which included a brief overview of the project, but this two-hour session will delve deeper into the details and complexities of this project. Nick Bray, the architect and homeowner, will discuss the unique features of this project, the site challenges and solutions, as well as the technology in this home. Jeff Langford of JDL Homes will discuss the builder’s perspective on taking this project from concept to its targeted completion, and how they are on-boarding subtrades and suppliers to ensure the home meets the high-performance standards required for it to be Certified Passive.
Huge fundamental shifts in how we build in BC are coming within the next 13 years. Are you ready?
By 2032, the BC Building Code minimum standard will require all homes to be built to Step 5 of the Energy Step Code (NetZero-Ready) but did you also know to ensure the industry moves forward to meet this target, all BC builders will be required to build to Step 3 by 2022 and then Step 4 by 2027?
If you want to keep building in BC, you need to understand high-performance building and what methodologies work best for your product and customers. Now is the time for the industry – builders, designers, subtrades and suppliers — to learn how to evolve their design and construction processes to meet these higher standards so you have your systems in place before they are mandated.
To register: https://havan.ca/events/eventcalendar/#id=10952&cid=120&wid=3701
Your new company
We are an award winning design-build residential company that prides ourselves on crafting and revealing homes beyond all expectations.
Your new role
Our journeyman carpenters must be experienced in forming, framing, hand cutting roofs, stairs, and suspended concrete. Finishing carpentry is an asset. Knowledge and experience with ICFs and SIPS panels are an asset but not required.
What you’ll need to succeed
We need a professional proven self-starter with a minimum of 5+ years of relevant experience. You should enjoy working to tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment. You must be organized, detailed oriented, and a team player with a good sense of humor who enjoys their work. You must have your own hand tools and transportation.
What you’ll get in return
This is an opportunity to join a forward thinking employer where teamwork is a key philosophy and exceeding client expectations is a must. You will be well compensated with a competitive base wage, extended health and dental benefits, and profit-sharing.
What you need to do now
If you’re interested in this role please apply right away by forwarding us an up-to-date copy of your resume to Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 604.568.9983, or submit your resume via our website here.
Job Type: Full-time
Required language: English
Required license or certification: Valid Driver's Licence
Please be advised that we will be closed on Monday July 1st for Canada Day. We hope everyone has a great long weekend spent with family and friends!
What is a retaining wall?
By definition, a retaining wall is a structure that is used for supporting the soil mass laterally, so that the soil on different sides of the wall is retained at different levels. Retaining walls are, thus, used to bound two soils between two different terrain elevations in situations where possessing slopes would be undesirable. Such situations include building a basement, but the more common instances when we use retaining walls are gardening and landscaping.
With it now being June, gardening season is in full swing. Below are the most common retaining wall materials and their pros and cons to consider for your next project.
Certified Passive House Tour / Lecture with Nick Bray Architecture x Project Mint Developments x JDL Homes Vancouver - 465 E18th Ave
We are excited to be a part of two events relating to the Certified Passive House we are currently building with Nick Bray Architecture & Project Mint Developments. The design is intended to be a house for the future, with innovative products and technology used throughout, and to make it even more challenging, it is located in a peat-bog! If you're curious and want to learn more about passive houses and this particular project we have two different dates & times available!
June 4th – HAVAN (sponsored by Federated Insurance)
Where: Starts 3pm at Kuzco lighting [7th/Quebec], then onto a site-walkthrough at 465 E 18th.
Aimed at Builders / trades.
June 5th - Passive House Canada / AIBC (sponsored by SIGA)
Where: Starts 5:30pm at 465 E 18th for a walk through, then onto Kuzco Lighting [7th/Quebec].
Aimed at Architects / designers.
Nick Bray will be giving a 30 min talk on the project [AIBC and HAVAN CPD points], and introducing the sponsors/suppliers that will have booths setup at Kuzco:
Lighting / Plumbing fixtures: Robinson Lighting and Bath Centre [Jared Cranwill] w/Kuzco Lighting & Riobel.
Automation / AV design: Hi-Fi Centre [Mike Freedman]
Millwork: Pacific Rim Cabinets [James Dewinetz]
Millwork design: Designs by Katerina and Silvie [Katerina Vastardis]
Exterior membranes: Naturaseal [Herb Stahl]
Windows: Vetta Building Technologies [Alec Shalinsky]
Structural Insulated Panels: West-Eco Panel [Duane Svendson]
Insulated Structural Forms: Vancouver ICF [Rick Fern]
Envelope Sealer: Pacific Aerobarrier [Janvin Lowe]
Cladding: Kayu Canada Hardwoods [Matt Korchmar]
Tile supplier: DalTile [Terrence Jagassar]
Paint supplier: Sherwin Williams [Elizabeth Raczkiewicz]
Appliances: Midland Appliance [Rob Brigden]
Keep apprised of our projects, home renovation tips and company updates.