Any reallife contractors on here? I need some help, Not a coop!


12 Years
Feb 8, 2007
Ontario Canada
My pregnant daughter will move back home from 1500 miles away IF we give her her own living quarters. It is very important to me that she is near when she has this baby, she isn't much more than a baby herself...and I'm sure you can guess the rest of the story...

Anyway, my plan is to build a 12x16 guesthouse...but to has to have an upstairs bedroom...due to space restrictions. We are hoping to plumb it through the house into our septic bed and our hot water tank, etc. Where it gets tricky is that we live Northern Canada and we have to devise it so it will work through the winter. For that I am thinking we need some kind of foundation...but the spot isn't level...and it is on rock...bedrock mostly. We can't get fill to that spot without wheelbarrelling it in. It is about 10 feet from the east side of the house, and in direct line with out utility room. Question...can a cordwood foundation be put on uneven ground? does it have to start below the frost line? The frost line is 3 ft here and there is bedrock directly below the existing ground. Is there a way of doing this with some sort of insulated foundation without having to use fill? And can we direct plumb into our existing plumbing by going in through the foundation of our house? Ideas anyone??? Thanks so much, this is so important to me
Last edited:
I am not a contractor but you need to contact your city--or county, if you live outside the city limits--and see what your building codes are. If I build a building over 100 square feet i have to have a building permit and they require a cement foundation, etc. If you don't follow specific codes, they can make you tear it down, so make sure you do it right the first time. Good luck!
Also - here in the States anyway - if you have septic, building codes determine the size of the leach field by the number of bedrooms. So if bedrooms are added in a renovation the septic system usually needs to be upgraded too.

I'm not sure if Canada is the same, but I thought I'd mention it.

Last edited:
Well....maybe it is going to be called an 'office'. The way I see it she will not be using any more water than she would if she was living in the main house...she will probably be eating all her meals with us anyway:>) I haven't figured out how I am going to go about all the legalities of it is all such a money making/red tape/ bunch of crap.
I'm thinking maybe if I make it somewhat portable...hehee, like an ice shack...but the plumbing kind of blows all that out of the water:>) Maybe she will have to shower in the main house as well, and just have a porta potti and microwave/toaster oven/bar fridge in there. I have to get this started before the snow flies...
I only wish campers were well enough insulated...I'd just buy her one of those...a whole lot less work and probably cheaper. Problem is they aren't very good in -40 temps...

If I don't do something she will not come home...sheesh kids....
Have you thought about purchasing a small single-wide mobile home? This way all you will have to do is park it where you want it and drop anchor.

This arrangement may be especially helpful if this living arrangement is "temporary" for the both of you.
Canada doesn't allow mobile homes in many areas. They usually have to be in mobile parks. There are a few on farms, but we are not in a farming area. It would be a perfect solution if it could be done, but that would definitely not be allowed around here.
To the issue of calling it an office. I know here in the states it's any room that could potentionally be a bedroom-not just bedrooms.
Yeah, I don't think it's going to matter what you call it -- and adding a toilet or shower will almost certainly cause review of the capacity of your existing system. Insulating pipes to the house is going to be a big problem, especially if they are not buried. You really couldn't just build it as an *addition* to the house, with a separate entrance?

Best of luck,

Wouldn't it be easier if she just moved in with you in your existing house? If it's just her and the baby how about a bedroom only addition?
She won't move into the existing house:>) It's a war of women around here when she does. Long long story but the girl cannot follow household rules, has a huge temper, is non negotiable on almost everything, and really needs a place of her own close by where I can keep an eye on the baby lol!

An addition to the house is alot more red tape than a guesthouse. Our township is very hard to deal with. Most ppl around here do it and deal with it later:>) (if it comes up which it usually doesn't) The first thing anyone around here will tell you is don't bother trying for the permit, just do it and worry later:>) It's a shame but it is true.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom