Canadian design rules

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Architecture can never surpass the vastness and absolute majesty of the Canadian landscape. So in consequence architecture, in Canada, is irrelevant; architecture from a design point of view.  So there! I said it, now what?  This rule is irrefutable and what it leaves you with is architecture of modesty.  If you are designing a home it should be quite modest and simple.  Your home shouldn’t be a reproduction of anything or a copy or gaudy temple.

So where do we go from here? Simple we draw from Canada’s past for inspiration. We look to farm houses, WW2 veteran’s homes, grain silos, train stations, fishing shacks, hockey rinks, aboriginal design and above all WOOD construction. It’s the only thing we have that is truly ours. The world has Masonry; Canada has wood and lots of it so celebrate it. Just don’t put it on the outside of your home because it will be a maintenance nightmare. Seriously just use it to build your home and above all use it inside your home. There’s nothing like aged oak paneling in a foyer or a birch kitchen, don’t forget hard wood floors with radiant heat of course.

Today you can mix design like a DJ mixes music; a la carte and with little resistance. It’s funny how some folks think MODERN is a minimalist box. How is that modern when it was invented over a hundred years ago?  Some would say modern is mixing landscaping with architecture like plant filled envelopes and green roofs, but even that’s been done.  Berm homes and ivy have been around long before this trend came around again. And so there you have it; design is nothing more than fashion.  It comes and goes and there is very little that is truly modern. If modern means something new anyway.

If your home should say anything at all it should say nothing. It’s you and your family that should say everything and the house well you should try to be out of it as often as possible.  Be in perpetual motion because you can and because if you can you should. Get your heart pumping don’t rely on your car, rely on your bike and above all plant a vegetable garden and dig in the dirt.  If we remove ourselves from the earth we loose our soul in silly irrelevant things that don’t matter in the end.

Your home should be enough to shelter you and to carry you over until the weather is hospital or at least tolerable. Excess is unhealthy and creating spaces that promote sedentary behaviour is not in your favour.  In the end you should maximize your time outside and covet a comfortable space that can shelter you when Mother Nature is cranky. Once you maximize your savings by building an adequate home. Spend your savings on ski lift tickets or ice fishing, my favourite is at Saint Anne de la Parade, bring the family and friends and have a blast in February.

If you need a permit we can help call 514-839-3138.

Do you need a permit?

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You may be wondering what kind of work around your home requires a permit.  Here is some information regarding city issued permits.  First and foremost if you are wondering if your project needs a permit always call the city to discuss your needs.

Most work around homes usually falls under the category of maintenance.  The city won`t issue a permit for that type of work.  An extreme example of maintenance; you have a wood porch that leads to your front door.  It includes steps, a roof and a railing.  It is falling apart and you wish to rebuild it exactly as it stands without changing anything.  That is considered maintenance. You do not need a permit. Now let’s say you take the opportunity to improve its design or you don`t like the position of the stairs. You wish to move them from the side to the front.  These design modifications require a permit from the city.  You must submit drawings to the city for them to consider your changes and assure respect of building codes and local bylaws.

The above examples are for the municipality of Montreal and not necessarily for its boroughs.  Four boroughs come to mind when it comes to maintenance that requires a permit; Outremont, Westmount, Town of Mount royal and Old Montreal and a fifth to a lesser extent Plateau Mount royal.  In these districts changing your windows may require a permit.  Now it has been my experience that in these places if you deal with a recognized manufacturer installer the permit is fast tracked and little to no documentation is required.  Also in these subdivisions interior renovations require permits.  If you start putting toilettes and demolition debris on your front lawn for pick up, a city inspector will most certainly come a knocking and ask what work you are undertaking. Again in these neighbourhoods there are strict bylaws that govern such things as the material used for plumbing; Cast iron is a standard for drains.

Projects that almost always require a permit are stair projects.  If you are proposing changes to a stair the city wants to make sure they conform to the National Building Code and local amendments to the NBC. This goes for outside and inside stairs.  Building a stair without respecting the code can be uncomfortable at the least and dangerous at worst. That`s were a service like ours shines.

An extreme make over to your home will most certainly require more than drawings submitted for a permit.  If you decide to paint your home exterior or make drastic changes to the front facade it would require that you go before a local committee for review and approval, again this depends on your borough.  CCU meetings (Comité Consultatif d’Urbanisme) or Planning Advisory Committee  can delay your renovations because they are held at regular intervals.  If at your first meeting your project is refused and changes requested you would have to wait until the next meeting to resubmit, sometimes it can take 6 weeks.  Check your local CCU`s schedule for a fit with your plans.

Let us know how we can help you get a permit; call 514-839-3138