# Posted: 6 Apr 2019 11:02
Been lurking here for quite awhile, finally registered as a member, I love this site!
I'm from Toronto originally but living in Montreal, Quebec the last few years, I love the mixture of cultures and the bilingualism of the city and find the cost of living so much more reasonable than Toronto. However, as I age I find the city more and more tiring... I need more nature! Whenever some aspect of city living is frustrating me or wearing me down, I find myself here in the Off Grid or Construction subforums reading about other's projects and dreaming of what I'd do myself.
I rather inappropriately piggybacked on andrew_zytic's topic about building a cabin in Quebec asking about knowledge of ZEC regulations, as I had seen a property for sale near La Tuque in a ZEC... but it's inaccessible in winter without a 4x4 and outside my price range anyways.
I've found a possible candidate property for grandfathering roughly an hour from Montreal. I'd hoped for waterfront of some kind but that's really out of the question cost wise in any proximity to the big city. This property seems to be big enough to meet some of the provincial regulations for modification/septic, etc, but I'd be tremendously grateful if anyone with any experience building in Quebec (especially in a grandfathering scenario) could give their opinion. I believe it's acceptable for me to post this link, please let me know if it's not!
I understand many of this forum's members are from the US of A or other parts of Canada, so I'm asking for help from a fairly small segment of the board's population, I hope any information discussed here will be of benefit to others like myself from "la belle province"!
What the listing indicates is that the existing structure is "10 x 10" (the pictures don't seem to support those dimensions, at least to me) and that it's unlikely there's any sort of water service or electrical tie in from Hydro Quebec. Since the property is 1.5 acres and not water front, I assume septic is a possibility.
I'm interested in building an off grid cabin, preferably less than the 600 or so square feet minimum required for new construction by the province, but if necessary I can build that big. Inspired by LEEDS certification I'd like to build it so that it's very efficient...anyways, one step at a time.
Sorry for this long post, I hope someone will chime in, thanks in advance!
# Posted: 7 Apr 2019 18:12
I can only provide some basic info and suggestions as you really need to investigate the rules for the specific area. We are from Ontario and build a small cabin (16x24) a few yrs ago (actually more like 6 yrs ago) in Quebec on waterfront property that my family had bought 40 yrs ago. In addition, our cabin is considered recreational (not year round) so has specific options not allowed for full time. Oh, and off-grid.
You are really dealing with two levels of government regulations - the overall provincial rules which include the building code, waterfront regulations (which were really really tightened up a few yrs ago), and the local regulations - assuming there are any. It is really important to study the provincial codes and regulations. We found this out at the start when we were told we could not do an outhouse and pointed out that we could and asked to see the local regulations prohibiting it (we won). The other thing that we discovered was that when people worry that they need a permit, the difficulty in obtaining this (and cost) will depend very much on where you are. Our permit (after some issues related to ownership of the land) took 10 minutes and $40 to get based on my own computer produced plans. During the build (my father-in-law and I did most of the work), the local "authority" came out once and mostly admired the view (although I know the main reason was to double check that we stayed far enough from the waterfront). I will add however, that we did also need to have a Septic Engineer Report done up to state that we could do a septic if needed in the future (and this was not cheap). Despite the 1 1/2 acres you mentioned you do have to double check the space needed for a septic and type of ground. Although many people have build under the radar in places, this has a risk so be careful if you are thinking about this. It is worth trying to get on good terms with the local municipal authority (which we did after the initial minor issue).
I would also be very careful when an agent talks about it being grandfathered! This can mean a lot of different things - for example the cabin can stay but you cannot add to it or build anything else. I know people who have been really disappointed to find out what little they could do on their 'grandfathered' property.
So make sure you know the provincial codes, politely ask the local municipality for the actual reference when they say you cannot do something, and be careful on what grandfathering allows and does not allow.
If interested our building thread is Building Thread