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Vancouver Island green builders

john_prospect | Posted in General Questions on

Hello All,

We are hoping to build a 2000 sq ft “pretty good house” near Victoria on Vancouver Island. In looking at local builders, several of them seem to have some experience with green building.

However, all of the examples on their websites look like projects that far exceed our budget. I know that builders will put their most impressive examples on the web, but it is also hard to know if they do more down-to-earth projects.


With the current building boom, it is harder to find contractors, but we can’t afford $1,000,000 for a home! Does anyone (Malcolm Taylor?) have recommendations for local people? Or, even better, do any of them lurk here?

I will be talking to some of them directly, but I appreciate any feedback from people here.

Postscript: Having lurked here for a long time, I wanted to say thank-you to everyone that posts such great information, in particular Martin Holladay. You maintain an invaluable forum and set the tone for very respectful discussion – a rarity on the internet!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You guessed right: You need advice from Malcolm Taylor.

  2. Expert Member


    As you have found out, we are in the midst of a perfect storm. The price for land, existing houses and new builds are at historically high levels. The Economist, Globe and Mail and other sources all call this an unsustainable bubble - but that isn't much comfort if you want to build in the near future.

    Three years ago a house I designed was built for $140 a sq ft. The same builder just bid a very similar one for $200. A slightly higher-end one on an adjacent lot came in at $290. When builders can get those type of prices they pick and choose. There are good builders on southern Vancouver Island, some have done Passive Houses, but as you say, they are tending to stick with the higher end projects.

    Where exactly are you planning on building? I know who's who in my own small area here west of Sooke and could make some recommendations if that's where you are thinking of.

  3. john_prospect | | #3

    Thank-you Malcolm,

    Without wanting to get too specific in a public forum, we own a forested vacant lot in the western communities, but not as far west as you are. We live in the city, so we are aware of the craziness in the housing market. Even getting a plumber for a simple fix on our current place was difficult.

    I am hoping (perhaps wrongly) that the recent borrowing rules and speculation taxes might ease housing demand a little, but it probably won't happen very quickly. Not that I wish for unemployment in the construction sector, but some sanity would be welcome.

    Our plans are to keep the design simple -- vented attic, 2 story, 2x6 walls with exterior Roxul, no bump-outs -- so that we have something left for "pretty good" upgrades. In my mind, if we can come in around $200 CAD/sq ft we are probably very lucky.

    Malcolm, let me know if there is a way to contact you in person. I would love to chat on the phone if you had 10 minutes to talk. I would be hesitant to post contact numbers here, so if you have another suggestion let me know. If you aren't into speaking with strangers from the internet, that is cool as well!

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    John and Malcolm,
    If the two of you want to email me, you can tell me in your email whether you agree to be contacted by each other. I can forward email addresses if you both agree.

    My email address is martin [at] greenbuildingadvisor [dot] com.

  5. john_prospect | | #5

    Many thanks, Martin. I have sent you an email.

  6. Expert Member


    I sent my contact info to Martin. Would be happy to talk. I'm home most days by 5:30.

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