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Electrical installations for laneway houses

The following information helps people with electrical permits to install electrical equipment and wiring in laneway houses.

1. Service

1.1 As a single supply service is provided by the BC Hydro for a residential lot that includes a main building and a laneway house, consumer's service conductors between the BC Hydro point of attachment and the duplex meter base must be sized in accordance with Rule 8-200(2) of the CE Code. See diagram with examples of service and distribution arrangements PDF file (477 KB).

1.2 Ampacity of the duplex meter base must comply with requirements of Rule 8-200(2).

1.3 Grounding of the consumer's service equipment may be done at the meter base or at the service box in each building.

1.3 Ampacity of consumer's service conductors between the meter base and the service box of the laneway house must be based on Rule 8-200(1) of the CE Code.

1.4 As defined by the Vancouver Building By-law, laneway house means a detached dwelling unit constructed in the rear yard of a parcel on which is situate a one-family dwelling or one-family dwelling with secondary suite. Installation of service panelboards in the laneway house and the principal one-family dwelling must comply with Rules 6-206 and 26-402 of the CE Code.

1.5 The meter base must be located in accordance with Rule 6-408 of the CEC in order to accommodate location of the BC Hydro revenue meters. Note: The metering equipment shall be installed according to BC Hydro’s current standards.

1.6 Clearances of the laneway house from the existing BC Hydro pole mounted dielectric liquid-filled transformers and overhead high voltage conductors must conform to the requirements described in Bulletin 2015-002-AD/EL PDF file (33 KB).

1.7 Clearances of the laneway house from the existing secondary (low voltage) overhead conductors must meet applicable requirements of Rules 6-112 and 12-310 of the CE Code.

1.8 The determination of areas for a laneway house must also include the sum of 100% of the area on the ground floor that includes the inside dimensions of the area used for enclosed parking, for the purpose of CEC Rule 8-110 and Rule 8-200.

Notes

  • Although the overhead or underground consumer's service is acceptable in accordance with the CEC, the power supply authority must be consulted for the purpose of clarification of available O/H or U/G service that has to be supplied by the BCH as the result of the service ampacity upgrade. (Diagram PDF file (477 KB) depicts only examples of the overhead consumer's service run by the contractor to the BCH point of connection)
  • Location of the meter base and type of meter base used in accordance with the BC Hydro "requirements for Secondary Voltage Revenue Metering (750 V and less") must be confirmed with the BC Hydro (see Bulletin 2007-003-EL PDF file (31 KB)).
  • Checklist must be completed by an applicant for an electrical permit before the permit is issued (see Checklist for Electrical service and distribution arrangements related to laneway houses PDF file (100 KB)). BC Hydro may also require a copy of the completed checklist when applicant applies to BC Hydro for service connection.
  • A "dual lug" meter base specifically "approved" for the purpose (see Figure 1 of the diagram PDF file (477 KB)) could be acceptable only under a special permission in accordance with Rule 2-030 of the CE Code (see Bulletin 2009-004-EL PDF file (88 KB)). BC Hydro may not accept use of "dual lug" meter base due to the specific "one meter per single family dwelling (SFD)" policy. The BC Hydro considers a laneway house as 2nd SFD on the lot and mandates metering of the laneway house being separate from the metering of the main house.
  • A service arrangement shown on Figure 2 of the diagram PDF file (477 KB) could be acceptable only under a special permission in accordance with Rule 2-030 of the CE Code (see Bulletin 2009-004-EL PDF file (88 KB)).

2. Installation of electrical equipment and wiring methods

Laneway house means a detached dwelling unit. Installation of electrical equipment (luminaires, switches, space heaters, receptacles/tamper resistant receptacles, permanently connected appliances, ground fault circuit interrupters, arc fault circuit interrupters, etc.), provision for branch circuits and wiring methods in a laneway house must conform to all applicable requirements of the current edition of the CE Code adopted for use in BC.

Electrical requirements mandated by the Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) for laneway houses

Sentence 3.8.5.7.(1) of Division B of the VBBL requires that the electrical, telephone, cable, and data outlets in a laneway house shall be located between 450 mm and 1200 mm above the finished floor, except where, in the opinion of the chief building official, a different height is necessary to accommodate appliances or equipment.

Sentence 3.8.5.7.(2) of Division B of the VBBL requires that the controls for the operation of building services or safety devices, electrical switches, thermostats, and intercoms in a laneway house shall be located no more than 1200 mm above the finished floor, except where, in the opinion of the chief building official, a different height is necessary for safety reasons.

Article 10.2.3.1. of Division B of the VBBL regulates the requirements of electric vehicle charging for buildings. Sentence 10.2.3.1.(1) requires the separate branch circuit rated not less than 40 A (@ 208 / 240V) must be provided to power supply to an outlet box installed in each storage garage in laneway houses for the purpose of electric vehicle charging (see Bulletin 2015-004-BU/EL PDF file (260 KB)).

When calculating any electric vehicle supply equipment loads for the purpose of Subsection 10.3.2. of the VBBL, each electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) load supplied by a branch circuit with a 100% demand factor of a minimum of 40A must be used in the load calculation, for the purpose of CEC Rule 8-200, Rule 8-202, and Section 86.

Receptacles for EVSE must not be connected to a branch circuit having overcurrent protection rated or set at more than the ampere rating of the receptacle. Receptacles having configurations in accordance with Diagrams 1 and 2 must be connected only to circuits having a nominal system voltage and ampere rating corresponding to the rating of the configurations. Refer to CEC Rules 14-600 and 26-700(2). When a receptacle of CSA Configuration 6-50R, 14-50R, or 15-50R as shown in Diagram 1 of the CE code is used for the purpose of electric vehicle charging, the receptacle must be connected to a 250 V or 125/250 V branch circuit rated at 50 A. Receptacles having configurations in accordance with Diagram 1 or 2 used for the purpose of electric vehicle charging must be connected only to branch circuits having the ratings corresponding to the ratings of the configurations.

The installation of electrical equipment related to electric vehicle charging systems and electric vehicle charging stations must meet the requirements of the CE Code and manufacturer’s instruction.

In accordance with CEC Rule 26-722(a), branch circuits from the panelboard of the principal one-family dwelling must not be connected to outlets or electrical equipment in the laneway house; and vice versa. 

3. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

3.1 The location, power supply, interconnection, silencing, and sound patterns of smoke alarms within a laneway house must be installed in conformance with Subsection 9.10.19 of Division B the VBBL.

3.2 In accordance with Sentence 9.10.20.3.(4) of Division B of the VBBL, a laneway house shall have a strobe light installed and maintained outside the principal entrance, connected to an internal smoke alarm within the laneway house. The strobe light or light of the strobe must be visible from the street; it must also be located outside the principal entrance and, as per the approved drawings, the location of the strobe light is subject to inspection and acceptance by the building inspector.

3.3 Carbon monoxide alarms in a laneway house must be installed in conformance with Article 6.2.4.1. and Article 9.32.4.2. of Division B of the VBBL.

3.4 The smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in laneway houses must be installed in conformance with CE Code Rule 32-110.