Design boards, Step Code, minimum height, modifications ...


  1. Is the 11x17 ‘design board’ strictly a 1 page document, or can there be multiple design boards?
  1. How should the written statement be submitted with the submission, as it is to be separate from the 11x17 ‘design board’?
  1. Design Goals of Sustainability: In respects to BC step-code; “To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code.”

    1. What are these specific softwares
    2. Are these softwares required for the competition
    3. Citing:
  2. What is the minimum height of a laneway house? 

    1. Max: 5.8m
    2. Max above garage house: 6.m
    3. Building footprint considerations for over 4.5m
    4. Building footprint considerations for under 4.5m
    5. No reference of minimum height in building how-to guide
  1. Lot area vs. lot coverage?

    1. Generally building footprint should not exceed 8% of lot area
    2. When adding LWH max lot coverage of your property must be between 35% and 40%
  1. Is a parking spot(s) required to be shown on the site plan? As per the City of Nelson Laneway House Guide, ‘In general, a laneway house requires one additional parking space over and above the parking requirements for the existing house.’
  2. Can the shape of the 1st round proposal be altered in the 2nd round of submissions, as long as the original intent of the proposal is maintained?
  3. Above-garage residences; is this ‘on top of’ existing garages or in addition to all existing structures on site?


  1. Just one design board for the first round.
  2. Yes, the written description (between 200 and 1,000 words) is to be separated from the 11x17 design board.
  3. The City of Nelson has adopted Step 1 of the Step Code, and it should be expected that over the lifespan of the winning designs, that at least Step 3 will be adopted. Additionally, the competition itself favours designs that have the ability to meet higher steps. How the Step Code is operationalised is a provincial matter, not municipal. Energy advisors ( are the type of professional retained to model a project. We recommend reading some of the guides on the provincial website (

    For the purposes of the competition, there is no requirement to use any specific software, but entrants do need to have a basis for believing that their design will be capable of achieving a given step post-construction.

    According to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association director, the one Nelson-based energy advisor can be contacted here: .
  4. There is no minimum height, although they of course have to meet the BC Building Code’s minimum ceiling height (2.1m).
  5. Sorry for the confusion. In those two sentences, lot area has the same meaning as lot coverage.
  6. No. If your design does not incorporate built-in parking such as a garage, there is no advantage or disadvantage to including it on a site plan.
  7. Possibly. The Call for Submissions states that second-round submissions can include “updated first-round contents, if necessary”. The Design Review Panel is permitted to provide feedback to those entering the first round, so that would certainly be a valid reason to make modifications. We would advise you to be cautious in any changes that might not sit well with the Design Review Panel.
  8. “Above-Garage Suites” are a subcategory of “Laneway Houses”. They can be existing or can be built new as an above-garage suite. Note that the definition in the Zoning Bylaw doesn’t in fact limit the suite to being “above” the parking area. Due to topography, Nelson has at least one example of a structure approved as an “above-garage suite” that is actually an “above-suite garage”. Theoretically, there could be both a garage and an above-garage suite on a property, as long as lot coverage is respected.

Show All Answers

1. Does the signed Entrance Form needs to be sent to you earlier or submitted together with the competition materials at the 1st round deadline date of September 2, 2019?
2. Are alternative foundations acceptable?
3. Are the submitted drawings to be of mass models of different design configurations that fit the different lot and topography configurations?
4. What is the typical size of lots, i.e. width and length, suitable for laneway houses in Nelson? What are the typical zoning restrictions, i.e. height and setbacks, for residential zones?
5. Are (semi-)covered carports included in the building footprint calculation? At which point are eaves/ roof overhangs exempt from the building footprint calculation?
6. Are design teams allowed to submit more than one design?
7. Specific first-round submission format expectations: You state "A design board....including high-level specifications ..."
8. At what point will you determine whether you have enough submissions go move forward vs extending the contest deadline in the hopes of garnering more submissions?
9. Is an eave/roof overhang over entrances ...
10. Would you kindly clarify if this is an AIBC sanctioned “competition”?
11. Gross floor area, registration form, and image submission ...
12. Design boards, Step Code, minimum height, modifications ...
13. Local Entries
14. Questions on drawing types
15. Evaluation criteria, costs, and floor plans
16. Inclusion of technical details; site selection ...