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Side setbacks on single detached homes in Lacombe

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  • Side setbacks on single detached homes in Lacombe

    Recently, I was doing a plot plan for a house in Lacombe. Normally, it would've just required a 1.5m side setback (we usually try to set it at 1.55m to give some wiggle room. However, it was discovered that the setback had to 2.4m, even though there was nothing on the land use bylaws. What had happened was back in the spring, Lacombe city council passed a fire bylaw that required new homes starts to be 10 feet away from the property line in order to prevent a fire in one building spreading to the neighbouring home as easily. The only way to reduce the distance is to fireproof the walls. This even includes a cantilever.

    What builders have had to do is to design a home with an attached garage (fireproofed) offset 0.9m (3') from the rest of the house, with the rest of the house at 2.4m. back. I'm not sure if there are any narrow lots (with a 1.2m setback) and, if so, how they'd be handled. I would imagine any new subdivisions would have to have wider lots to accommodate these setbacks.

  • #2
    2.4 m is only 8 feet.


    • #3
      Yeah, 8 feet. I was guessing.

      16 feet between homes would give a better clearance and chance of a fire not spreading. Looking at the Edmonton bylaws, the minimums for all residential SF homes is 1.2m (4'). So, either houses in Lacombe would be about 25 feet wide on a 33 foot lot or the lots would have to be wider. Even around here, large and medium width lots have a setback of 1.5m (5'). So I wonder if a minimum fire side setback bylaw might catch on elsewhere. Either that or have houses better firewalled.
      Last edited by TerryH; 01-09-2014, 02:22 AM.


      • #4
        This was the news release from the city of Lacombe:


        • #5
          Communities with full-time career fire departments are except from the bylaw. Lacombe has a volunteer fire department so thats why they had to make the change.
          Greatest City in the world.


          • #6
            That statement from the city doesn't say that the house has to be set back 2.4 m. It just says that if a development was registered after Dec. 31 2010, side windows have to be protected. After Dec. 31, 2014 all new construction will have to meet the 'improved' construction standards.

            It seems that the person that wrote this doesn't even know when to use the words 'then' and 'than'. It leaves me to wonder if the message they are trying to convey is correct.


            • #7
              ^I did one plot plan on a pie lot in which the house had to set back from the front far enough so that the closest edge of one of the windows had to 2.4m away. But on rectangular lots, or ones in which the sides are perpendicular to the front, the house has to be 2.4m back if there are no side cantilevers with windows (I'm not sure about fireplace cantilevers, though). The garage, it looks like, has to be either windowless, or have protected windows, on the side closest to the property line in order to be 1.5m back.

              The main thing about the change was due to areas not being within a 10 minute response time window. This may be not b a problem in Edmonton if the nearest fire station is within a 10 minute distance. It could be, too, that new subdivisions may need to be within 10 minutes of the closest fire station to be approved or that a new fire station has to be built to accommodate the new areas. As well, the number of incidents, even in well covered areas, may be a concern if there are times that units have to brought in from elsewhere if the closest units are already engaged in a fire.
              Last edited by TerryH; 01-09-2014, 03:10 PM.


              • #8
                A 'firewall' is only a wall with a 1 hour rating? A single layer of drywall gives you 1 hour.


                • #9
                  Sherwood park requires fire protection sprinklers as an alternative way to deal with areas with higher fire department response times.

                  It's a much more reasonable response.


                  • #10
                    ^Agreed. Wasting space on huge side yards is not an appropriate solution for the problem.