Keep Vancouver’s Unique History – Restore Your Heritage Home

heritage-home-renovationVancouver residents will have noticed the continued construction of condominium buildings across the city in 2014.

This change may be a blessing for construction companies, but for many in the city it highlights a disheartening trend.

Vancouver is losing more and more of its character buildings that have history and heritage, to be replaced with condominiums and other multi-dwelling properties.

Every business wants to make money, but it’s vital that we also respect our city’s ethos of respect for both the environment and history.

Fortunately, many Vancouver homeowners are committed to restoring their distinctive properties to their former – or to new – glory.

Register the Property as a Heritage Home

Vancouver’s system of heritage conservation is designed to preserve unique, noteworthy, prestigious and historic buildings. Some homeowners may believe that a heritage designation is associated only with a property’s age. However, homes built in the 1950s and 1960s may qualify for heritage status. In fact, the heritage rules state that a building must be at least 20 years old.

The designation of heritage may be granted when a building is deemed to be a good example of a particular type or style, or deemed to have historic or cultural significance to the neighbourhood, or is associated with a significant person or event.

Registering a heritage home is done through the Vancouver City Heritage Register. As part of the process, the City may alter or relax zoning guidelines for the property, allowing greater freedom for homeowners looking to restore their houses.

Sign Up for a Restore It! Grant

For those concerned about the costs of restoring their property, it’s important to find tools to help reduce them. The Restore It! Grant, offered through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, can contribute to the restoration work.

Through this grant program, qualified specialists are consulted to ensure projects are completed responsibly in accordance with guidelines. Homeowners can download a grant application form through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation website directly.

Qualified Contractors Will Not Only Restore, But Reclaim

The contractor chosen for the project must have a high level of skill and proven experience working with unique, significant or older homes. In keeping with Vancouver’s renowned green ethos, you and the contractor should consider ways to reuse materials in every way possible. Restoring often means replacing, so consider replacing with reclaimed lumber from other sources rather than merely buying new stuff. Discarded lumber can make magnificent cross beams, upright beams, flooring, doors, window frames, and so on.

Sometimes modern techniques and designs can help upgrade the home. Sensitivity is required when using these so that the character of the home is preserved and enhanced while also modernizing it. Be sure to talk to the contractor extensively, not only to discuss design ideas, but to be certain the work will be done with the utmost care, sensitivity and responsibility, from drawing up plans to disposing of waste.

Vancouver homeowners can play a significant role in enhancing the city and maintaining its culture and history for future generations. Sometimes keeping and restoring a heritage home to pristine condition can be a better and longer-lasting investment than chasing quick dollars through demolishing it and knocking up condos. The pride that is felt when admiring a gloriously restored home is immeasurable.

Doug Kerr - the owner of Kerr ConstructionDoug Kerr is the owner of Kerr Construction in Vancouver. With over 25 years of experience in the renovation and new home construction business, he has developed the Kerr System for designing and building. With this Design/Build system he has helped hundreds of clients achieve their dream homes while also winning multiple national and provincial building and renovations awards. Being a former world-class athlete…” Read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Kerr Construction.

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