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[OP]
Newbie
Aug 23, 2011
41 posts
39 upvotes
VANCOUVER

Building a house

considering building a house. talked to several builders who aren't able to really give me a ppsf because it ultimately depends on what finishings, design, etc. i pick... fair. but i really need to know an approx ppsf for budgeting purposes, based on average medium end finishings, including demolition, asbestos abatement, hazardous materials, etc. etc.. i'm looking to build in vancouver proper (east van), north vancouver or burnaby and i have heard anywhere from $200 up to $400 per square feet! are there any builders or someone who has gone through this process willing to weigh in? how did you find the process? how long did it take? what should i be looking out for in selecting my builder? would you do it again?

thanks
11 replies
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2007
7392 posts
3512 upvotes
Talked to a builder in Vancouver yesterday and he quoted $250/SF for soft costs and $350/SF for hard costs and he said land costs are on top of this. Costs seem kind of high to me but the last time I was involved in a construction project, the world wasn't upside down like it is today.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 23, 2011
41 posts
39 upvotes
VANCOUVER
choclover wrote: Talked to a builder in Vancouver yesterday and he quoted $250/SF for soft costs and $350/SF for hard costs and he said land costs are on top of this. Costs seem kind of high to me but the last time I was involved in a construction project, the world wasn't upside down like it is today.
wow $350/sf for hard costs kinda scares me. were you planning to bulid on the west side or east side? i ask because i've been told there is a price difference. yeah teardowns / lots are insane... as are all single family detached homes right now.
Jr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
199 posts
95 upvotes
Building cost would be between 200-250/sqft for the standard cookie cutter spec home that you see on the market. If you want a proper custom home, prepared to spend at least 300 at the VERY minimum. This is also just actual building costs, does not include other costs. Total process might take 2 years.
Vancouver is also more expensive to build in. More permits, stricter regulations, etc.

We went through the process recently. Decided to buy an older house and renovate instead.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 23, 2011
41 posts
39 upvotes
VANCOUVER
Alpine84 wrote: Building cost would be between 200-250/sqft for the standard cookie cutter spec home that you see on the market. If you want a proper custom home, prepared to spend at least 300 at the VERY minimum. This is also just actual building costs, does not include other costs. Total process might take 2 years.
Vancouver is also more expensive to build in. More permits, stricter regulations, etc.

We went through the process recently. Decided to buy an older house and renovate instead.
This is also an option we’re considering. Did you do a full gut job? Or are you only renovating bits and pieces? How much did you budget for renovations if you don’t mind me asking.
Sr. Member
Dec 26, 2005
580 posts
146 upvotes
Don't forget that building materials prices have skyrocketed since covid started.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2007
7392 posts
3512 upvotes
ooops123 wrote: wow $350/sf for hard costs kinda scares me. were you planning to bulid on the west side or east side? i ask because i've been told there is a price difference. yeah teardowns / lots are insane... as are all single family detached homes right now.
I didn't actually specify when talking to the builder. Maybe that is why he said the land is not factored in.
Member
Mar 2, 2017
310 posts
340 upvotes
Markham
OP without details no one here can help you. Location, type of build, time of year, availability of builders in your respective area all come into play here. For budgeting purposes you can start at 250 psf, but to be honest that's already starting on the low side. With the shortage of lumber currently your carpentry will be more, not factoring in that lumber available now is of subpar quality unless a builder has a direct relationship with a mill, etc. In short, 250 psf + 10% for variance + 15% for the unknown during covid currently in the building space is where you can start. These are south central Ontario numbers.
Realtor, Investor, CPA
Jr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
199 posts
95 upvotes
We ended up buying in west Coquitlam (aka old Coquitlam - harbour chines area). 60 yr old 2500sqft house on a 7700 sqft lot. Basement is unfinished which is actually good for the Reno’s we are doing. Full gut, replacing drain tile, entire hvac, plumbing, electrical, opening up living/dining area, converting an upstairs bedroom into an extended walk through closet and adding a master en-suite, replacing and levelling all floors, redoing the kitchen and existing bath, adding 2bd basement suite, all new windows and doors, new expanded driveway, new deck... the only thing we probably won’t be able to do because we will likely run out of $$$ is residing the exterior. As a stopgap we will probably paint it and see how we feel about it in the future.

Budget is about 350, hoping to come in under 400 lol. I know most people will say to rebuild, but knowing how picky we are and the type of details we are looking for, rebuilding will cost us 800 (rebuild = more ideas, more possibilities, more expense lol).
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 23, 2011
41 posts
39 upvotes
VANCOUVER
RichmondCA wrote: OP without details no one here can help you. Location, type of build, time of year, availability of builders in your respective area all come into play here. For budgeting purposes you can start at 250 psf, but to be honest that's already starting on the low side. With the shortage of lumber currently your carpentry will be more, not factoring in that lumber available now is of subpar quality unless a builder has a direct relationship with a mill, etc. In short, 250 psf + 10% for variance + 15% for the unknown during covid currently in the building space is where you can start. These are south central Ontario numbers.
location is exactly where i stated vancouver proper (east van), north vancouver or burnaby. the numbers in your area (markham, on) sound similar to what i am budgeting. i know permitting takes less time in burnaby so that helps. we haven't secured a lot yet so all things are taken into consideration. type of build - modern, open concept, mid-high end kitchen and appliances, air con, and a mortgage basement helper is pretty much our starting point. all on a standard 33x122 lot.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 23, 2011
41 posts
39 upvotes
VANCOUVER
Alpine84 wrote: We ended up buying in west Coquitlam (aka old Coquitlam - harbour chines area). 60 yr old 2500sqft house on a 7700 sqft lot. Basement is unfinished which is actually good for the Reno’s we are doing. Full gut, replacing drain tile, entire hvac, plumbing, electrical, opening up living/dining area, converting an upstairs bedroom into an extended walk through closet and adding a master en-suite, replacing and levelling all floors, redoing the kitchen and existing bath, adding 2bd basement suite, all new windows and doors, new expanded driveway, new deck... the only thing we probably won’t be able to do because we will likely run out of $$$ is residing the exterior. As a stopgap we will probably paint it and see how we feel about it in the future.

Budget is about 350, hoping to come in under 400 lol. I know most people will say to rebuild, but knowing how picky we are and the type of details we are looking for, rebuilding will cost us 800 (rebuild = more ideas, more possibilities, more expense lol).
that sounds like a pretty big job! thanks for those numbers. whats the square footage in your house? did you hire one project manager or did you source each contractor yourself?
Jr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
199 posts
95 upvotes
2500sqft over 2 levels (basically your standard split level end 50-60yr old rancher you can find all over van/bby/coq). Definitely a GC for this. Should take us hopefully 4 months from start to finish.

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