With the ever-increasing cost of home ownership, some owners may be considering adding a secondary suite as a mortgage helper. Other owners may be combining households with other family members. There are specific requirements when adding an additional living unit to your property. Before doing anything, be sure to contact your local municipality to confirm what is required to add an additional living unit and to check exactly what rules and regulations apply to your specific situation. A secondary suite could be a basement suite, in-law suite or a coach house. Each have a different set of requirements depending on the application.
Having a secondary suite will increase the amount of electricity already used, so upgrading your current electrical service for the additional load may be required. An experienced electrician will conduct a load calculation to confirm the service requirements for supplying power to the main and secondary household on the property. Installing a sub-panel specifically for the secondary suite would eliminate the inconvenience of a tripped breaker affecting the other living unit. Blue Crest Electric recommends installing an information meter to monitor the use of electricity by the occupants of the secondary suite. This will also help to avoid disputes over power usage.
A Secondary Suite Requires An Electrical Permit
Many homeowners do not realize the importance and benefits of the required electrical permit. The electrical permit, acquired by the electrical contractor, means that the installation is being completed according to the current electrical Code requirements. This provides assurance and peace of mind that the installation will be safely completed. For more information regarding electrical permits click Here.
A Secondary Suite As A Mortgage Helper
If the purpose of constructing a secondary suite is to offset the mortgage payment, getting top dollar for the rental space is very important. Consider adding some of the following features to the secondary suite to attract the most discerning tenants.
A full size kitchen with all major appliances stove, refrigerator and a dishwasher
Personal laundry appliances
Lots of lighting to compensate for lack of natural light
High speed WiFi and data capabilities
Lots of soundproofing between living units
Storage for seasonal and recreational items
Designated outdoor space
Personal and guest parking
To name a few…
With a well designed space and the right tenant, adding a secondary suite to the property can be a financially positive and even enjoyable experience.
Blue Crest electricians are skilled and knowledgeable in the construction of secondary suites. The electricians would be able to assist in the electrical installation of the project.
An alarming statistic has revealed that modern homes burn faster than homes built 30 years ago. An Underwriters Laboratory study indicates that occupants in newer homes have less than three minutes to escape a burning building versus 17 minutes from older homes. This is a significant difference. With this new information, the urgency to evacuate the burning building as quickly as possible cannot be overstated. Homeowners need to understand that a three minute window does not allow time to gather precious belongings, look for the cat, or try to fight the fire themselves.
So what is Causing Homes to Burn Faster?
Studies show that the cause of house fires today, versus 100 years ago, has not changed significantly. Human error involving unattended candles, smoking in bed, poorly stored flammable liquids and faulty electrical are still the main causes. What has changed in recent years is the speed at which the fire and smoke spread throughout the structure.
Three causes have been identified as main contributors to this difference:
Furnishings: The things we fill our homes with, such as upholstered furniture, drapery and carpeting, consist mostly of fast burning synthetic materials. Decades ago, slower burning natural materials and fibers were more common.
Design: The popular open floor plan, commonly found in modern homes, actually contributes to the speed at which a fire spreads. This large open space provides lots of available oxygen to fuel a blaze versus the smaller rooms with doors common to older style homes.
Construction: Today’s homes are typically dimensional wood frame construction versus the heavier lumber and beams used in the distant past. In an effort to construct safer homes, builders are encouraged to exceed fire rating standards and use more fire resistant composite lumber products, multi layered fire rated gypsum board, and steel studs in addition to concrete and brick. Any construction measure that slows the rate of fire spread provides the occupants a better chance of escape and reduces the degree of structural damage.
Armed with this information, homeowners should always be making decisions that increase the fire safety of their homes in each of these areas. The most obvious and cost effective safety measure is the installation of the common household smoke detector. An up-to-date, functioning, hard-wired smoke alarm with battery backup, will provide the homeowner with the most reliable early warning of fire, giving occupants the best chance to get out safely. For more information on smoke alarms, please check out the following link.
In an effort to address the concern that modern homes burn faster, building codes may soon be changing. A task force, commissioned by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, has recently approached the National Building Code of Canada with a recommendation that mandatory sprinkler systems should be included in the Building Code for all new construction as early as 2020. Related industries are now in discussion on how this recommendation would impact the cost of new construction.