BUILT FOR B. C.
Why small houses are a big deal
“You could pretty much go to any cocktail party, any conversation, any Tim Hortons or coffee shop, and you’re going to have the same discourse happening around housing,” says Jake Fry, best known for his Vancouver firm Smallworks, which builds laneway homes. “And the challenges are uniform,” Fry continues. “The dollar value may change, and drivers may be different between Penticton and Vernon and Terrace and Kerrisdale, but the challenge is there.”
Fry has found that people are increasingly looking for housing that meets but doesn’t surpass their needs and accommodates their budgets. In response, in 2012 he and Bob Ransford, now VP development at real estate firm Century Group in Vancouver, founded Small Housing BC ( SHBC), a notfor-profit society to study and advocate for homes between 100 and 1,500 square feet. Recently SHBC began sharing its research. This year Fry and SHBC project managers Anastasia Koutalianos and Samantha Gambling visited or video-conferenced with some 20 municipalities across the province, outlining the advantages of constructing fewer apartment buildings and more small infills or larger structures that might look like a house but contain multiple residences. Not only can this approach add households to neighbourhoods without changing their character, but infill homes might also be quicker for planners to approve while suiting residents’ requirements better than more traditional developments, Fry explains.
LESS IS MORE Home builder Jake Fry sees room for smaller houses in B.C.