Re: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 203, Issue 17 - Developer Costs and number of units
From: Angela Letman (
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 12:45:09 -0800 (PST)
I’m my experience as a former architect and now urban planner, overall 
development costs depend on the type of construction, the unit type and the 
property. What are the costs to develop the site? Is it rural with no site 
services? Is it urban where the municipality is requesting local improvements? 
Were the legal fees, like to Strata subdivide, included? Ask the developer for 
a detailed breakdown. You could then do some research on the individual items. 
His/her profit margin around 10%? 

If you are doing individual homes then my region’s builders have told me that 
15 homes brings good savings. It allows the individual building trades (like 
foundations, framing,  electrical, plumbing, etc.) to move from one home site 
to the next. 

If you are working with an architect then you could ask them how to lower the 
home construction. To cut costs you might want to consider having the kitchen, 
bathrooms, and floors roughed in and then the individual home owners can finish 
them to the standards they wish. Even paint- you could ask for just a primer 

You will see cost savings too if the project is an apartment building or row 

Taking on the project yourselves unless one of you has experience, will be a 
nightmare. It would be a full time job too. If determined to let the developer 
go, you could see if you could find a construction project manager who has lots 
of experience in site development and the type of construction you are doing. 
They will need to have lots of local contacts with the local building trades to 
realize savings. 

One local cohousing development I know of built in phases- first site 
development and a few homes, then a second phase of more homes, third the 
common house, and lastly another phase of homes. 

Hope this has helped.

Angela Letman, RPP, B.Arch
Very Coast Planning and Design
Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

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