Home, property, and development

Character merit assessment

A character merit assessment reviews the front and street-facing sides of a house to determine if it retains character features.

Apply for assessment before renovating, redeveloping, or demolishing a house built before 1940.  

Why you need an assessment

Character merit assessments are part of our Heritage Action Plan.

An assessment determines:

  • If a house is eligible for conditional aspects of zoning, such as additional floor area
  • The level of recycling required if a house is going to be demolished

Character merit assessments are not applied to outright zones (RS-1) at this time but may be in the future through the Character Home Zoning Review.

Project scope and documentation

Read the administrative bulletin PDF file (180 KB) to get direction on the general scope and documentation needed for projects proposing the retention and renovation of character merit buildings.

Character house features

Character buildings can be defined by a number of criteria.

Some zones – RT-3, RT-7/8, RT-10, RM-1, and RT-11 – use the construction date as the first measure of character merit.


Character feature examples

By City of Vancouver

In most zones, any building constructed before 1940 is considered a character building if it has surviving authentic or period features.

  • Massing

    By City of Vancouver

    Overall shape, form, and size of the house.

  • Roof form

    By City of Vancouver

    Shape of the original roof and dormers (windows that project from a sloping roof).

  • Front porch

    By City of Vancouver

    A full or partially enclosed front porch, or other entry feature.

  • Exterior wall materials and details

    By City of Vancouver

  • Window openings, frames, and details

    By City of Vancouver


Apply for an assessment