City of Vancouver Loves Heritage and Character Homes

Vancouver Helps Keep Its Character Homes From Pending Destruction by Offering Builders Incentives To Keep and Restore Them.

A few years back there was concern at how many of Vancouver's Character homes (home built before 1940 with Character Merit) were being demolished.  

In recent years, the City of Vancouver has chosen to implement a strategy that will help keep many more of the Character Homes that are not on any designated heritage list.  

To do so, they have devised a strategy that ensures all homes in Vancouver built before 1940 must submit a Character Merit Assessment before they can get an permits to do renovations, additions, demolition or new construction on a property.  

They are currently more concerned about homes pre 1940 and in already zoned areas for Character and Heritage, but may be expanding to all Vancouver in the future.  

Character buildings can be defined by a number of criteria.

Some zones – RT-3, RT-7/8, RT-10, RM-1, and RT-11 – use the construction date as the first measure of character merit.

Here is a basic Character Merit Checklist for pre 1940 houses:
(as quoted from City of Vancouver documents)

A. Must have: 
i. Original massing and primary roof form - Alterations/additions that are subsidiary to the original massing and primary roof form, such as dormers, are not considered to have altered the character of the house. 

B. Plus any four of the following: 
i. Entry - Original open front entry, porch or veranda, or only partially filled in, or other original entry feature. 
ii. Cladding - Original cladding or replacement cladding consistent with pre-1940. 
iii. Window Openings - Original location, size and shape (50% or more). The windows themselves may not be original.
iv. Period Details - Two or more period details such as fascia, window casing or trim, eave brackets, soffits, exposed beam or joist ends, half-timbering, decorative shingling, entry, porch or verandah columns, original wood doors, entry transom/sidelights, decorative or feature windows (special shapes, bay windows, crafted/leaded glass), brick or stone chimneys, piers or foundations, secondary porch, turrets, etc.

They also consider the neighbouring homes and if they are Heritage or have Character.  
Here is a link for Character Merit Assessment

Click here for more specific information about the Character Home Retention Incentives Program.

Watch This Short Video: Character Homes

Blogposts, articles and press releases: