Frequently Asked Questions
GOT QUESTIONS? LIKE... "How Much does construction cost?" "Do you offer home design services?" "Should I build or renovate by home?" "How Do you Decide between a builder" WE HAVE THE ANSWERS!
Here are some of the most common questions we receive from our clients.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions!
One of the most common questions we get asked is what is the cost per square foot to build or renovate a new home. This is a very difficult metric to use when trying to determine what your budget might be or use when comparing different builders. As described below, there are too many variables to be able to use a simple cost per square foot measure to determine the cost of a project. The best approach is to determine what the budget should be then work closely with the design and construction team to design to your budget.
The size of the project is one of the main factors that influence the cost of construction. Larger builds have greater economies of scale, resulting in a lower cost per square foot. Conversely, smaller homes typically have a higher price per square foot. It is essential to note that the cost of building kitchens and bathrooms, which are the most expensive rooms in a home, are distributed over a smaller square footage. Additionally, garages are typically not included in cost per square foot calculations, resulting in a consistent cost for both large and small homes.
Another significant factor that affects construction costs is the topography of the lot. Flat, level lots typically have a significantly lower cost than lots with steep slopes. The need for blasting, if required, can also significantly increase costs.
The architectural style of a home can also impact its cost, with simple shapes typically less expensive than complex shapes. Outdoor living components, such as covered or elevated decks, can also add significant costs that must be factored into the overall cost per square foot.
Finally, heating and cooling systems can vary widely in cost, from simple, low-cost, low-maintenance solutions to complex, expensive, and maintenance-heavy systems. Both offer different benefits to the homeowner. We recommend working closely with our team to determine the best system for your needs.
Currently in Whistler, a building permit for construction or renovation takes between 4 and 6 months. The time period for acquiring a permit to build on the North Shore is consistent with Whistler. Squamish and Pemberton and the SLRD can be somewhat shorter depending on the scope of the project.
Overall, it could take between 4-12 months to go through the design phase and be ready for a permit application.
Learn more about our New Home Construction Process.
Here are a few tips to consider when looking for a builder or renovator:
- Do they have experience with the type of project you are considering? Recognize that every project is unique and will bring a different set of complex issues and problems that need to be addressed. Selecting a builder with a strong understanding of the type of project you are considering will reduce the number of potential surprises, offer more cost-effective solutions and provide a better certainty on meeting schedule and budget goals.
- Do they have strong references from recent projects, and can you see some of their projects to get an idea of the level of quality? Do they use a 3rd party for customer satisfaction surveys?
- From the outset, how do they communicate and are they responsive?
- What is their safety record like, and do they have a strong safety culture? Ask if they are COR Certified.
- How are they set up to address maintenance and warranty items, and what is their track record like in dealing with the list of final deficiencies? Remember, every new or renovated home will present its own unique issues as it is commissioned. For a large luxury home it can take a while to make sure everything is working correctly. Similarly to the launch of a new ship, it can take a while to get everything right. A new home is not like a new car. Just look at how long some of the new EV manufacturers are taking to get their production lines up and running.
For new homes RDC Fine Homes follows the provincial requirements of the 2/5/10 Home Warranty program – 2 years on appliances, mechanical parts and fixtures, 5 years on exterior water leaks and 10 years on structural. In addition to new homes we offer comprehensive two-year warranties on the same three components for our renovation projects. If an issue is deemed to be a result of poor workmanship either done by RDC Fine Homes or the trades, we always will respect the warranty regardless of the timeframe. Our record of fixing deficiencies within and beyond the warranty period has helped establish our brand recognition and credibility in the industry.
The duration of a construction or renovation project depends on various factors, such as the project’s value, complexity, and scope.
For a typical mid-luxury build of under 3,000 square feet in Whistler, the project can take 10 to 12 months to complete. On the other hand, complex luxury builds in the 3,500 to 10,000 square foot range can take up to 36 months.
Renovation timelines vary depending on the project’s scope. A simple bathroom renovation can typically be completed within four to six weeks, while whole home renovations can take approximately the same amount of time as a new build. Our team of experts will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive plan that considers your needs and budget while ensuring the project is completed efficiently and within your desired timeframe.
Learn more about our New Home Construction Process.
Yes, we offer in-house architectural design services. We are well-equipped to handle cost-effective single-family homes, whether it be a renovation or a new build.
Here are a few of the distinctions between a Net Zero, Net Zero Ready and a Passive House: A Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Home is designed using the Hot 2000 software modelling tool to demonstrate that the home will generate as much energy as it is modelled to consume with onsite renewable energy such as solar panels; a Net Zero Ready Home refers to the same house without solar panels, noting it must have sufficient roof area to generate the energy required as identified in the model. However, one should note that the actual energy consumption of a Net Zero Home will depend on the usage habits of the occupants.
Passive House homes are modelled using the Passive House Performance Path software and are designed and modelled to achieve similar outcomes to Net Zero but with a more stringent focus on energy saving through – sometimes much- higher insulation values. While RDC Fine Homes is qualified to build to the Passive Houses standard, we generally prefer to label it as Net Zero Homes as the added insulation and associated costs required for a Passive House may result in only relatively small energy cost savings. Additionally, the extra materials required to meet the high Passive House insulation requirements can significantly increase the amount of embodied carbon.
At RDC Fine Homes, we understand that choosing whether to renovate or build new can be a big decision. We recommend a renovation be considered first, however in some circumstances that might not be possible. Luckily, there are some alternative options.
The first step is to consider whether the foundation and shell of the existing house can be repurposed to meet your expectations for a new home. If so, a renovation can offer cost and time savings, as well as embodied carbon savings. However, if the old house is not salvageable or the foundation doesn’t meet a modern standard, building new may be necessary.
If you’re considering building a new home in Whistler, you might want to explore an alternative option: renovating an existing residence that can be repurposed into your dream home. Since vacant lots are scarce in Whistler, our team at RDC Fine Homes has completed numerous projects where we transformed old Whistler homes into brand new houses. For instance, the Panorama Ridge house is a project where we renovated off the original foundation. Toad Hollow is another excellent example of how we repurposed a significant portion of the existing structure to create a new home.
At RDC Fine Homes, we prioritize sustainable and cost-effective solutions for our clients. Our team has extensive experience renovating and building new homes and can guide you through the decision-making process. Whether it’s repurposing existing structures or finding alternative options, we work closely with our clients to ensure their new home meets their expectations. Contact us today to discuss your renovation or new home build needs.