Occasionally I get asked what good websites are available for getting more information on Second Suites.
So rather than explain which websites are good and why, I’ll keep things simple and just list the 8 that I personally use most often – right on my Google Chrome bookmark bar!
Many of these overlap into the general building and renovating category of websites, and some don’t really address second suites at all, but rather addresses the context as to why second suites have become a such high demand housing product.
Nonetheless the information on these sites can be very useful and informative when you go about gathering all the information you need to get that one second suite project going…..or five.
Without further ado, here they are:
1. Second Suites Ontario (SecondSuites.info) – The Landlord’s Self-Help Centre (landlordselfhelp.com) in Toronto runs this free resource website for you to get a better understanding of second suites. There is a great 38 page PDF document outline the ways to create a second suite.
2. Accessory Dwellings (AccessoryDwellings.org) – This is an American website specifically addressing accessory dwelling units (same as second suites). Most of the units they document are detached or additions to existing properties. However, there’s great information and inspirational ideas for creating more housing units.
3. Service Ontario (https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/120332) – This might be surprising, coming from the government, but this is strictly a resource for the Ontario Building Code, which is constantly being updated. You can go to this site periodically to downloaded the latest version of the code of free. Yes you read it right – FREE! Last update was July 1, 2017, and there have been some changes regarding second suites. It’s also great for doing a quick search for items, such as smoke alarms and railing heights.
4. Code Compliance (CodeCompliance.ca) – This is a website run by a gentleman by the name of Cliff D. Crites, who is a graduate of the Ontario Fire College. He provides incredibly useful information and updates to fire safety measures. As we know, fire safety is the single most important issue when building legal second suites.
5. Building Intelligence Center (BuildingCenter.org) – We have heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, as well as hot water heating appliances. Knowing how old these systems are can help set the right budget for replacement if necessary. This website will most likely allow you to get the date of manufacture for your specific equipment. A very handy resource.
6. Show Me The Green (ShowMeTheGreen.ca) – This is perhaps one of the best website to find out all the eligible Canadian grants and rebates available for building and renovating. And of course, a second suite would have work that is eligible. They cover grants issued by the government as well as utilities and other organizations. Here’s a link to a great topic 54 Government Grants That Every Ontario Homeowner Should Know (2017 Edition)
7. Trusted Pros (TrustedPros.com) – This is a website for you to locate contractors. Considering the number of projects I’ve done in the past decade, I would say I have had good luck with finding the right people. The key is to be very specific in detailing what you’re looking for – be educated on what needs to be done, so that you can clearly convey this in a document.
8. FineHomebuilding.com (Finehomebuilding.com) – This website is a spinoff of the iconic magazine Finehomebuilding. Although it doesn’t specifically address secondary suites, there are tons of good information in blogs, videos and long format articles that address specifics of construction processes that are sure to educate you on how to do it right. This goes from proper insulation to drywalling to cabinetry – all essential components of secondary suites.
There you have it, the 8 sites I highly recommend and use myself. Before you pick up a hammer, check these sites first.