10 July 2020
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 9, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As part of the City of Vancouver’s ‘Regulation Redesign’ initiative, a Public Hearing took place on June 25th, 2020. During the hearing, Vancouver City Councillors heard from planners, homeowners and Lumon representatives regarding the benefits of retractable balcony glass systems.
These benefits allow balconies, that too often are not used during bad weather, to be used year-round since they can be protected from wind, rain, noise, and pollutants while remaining completely open when the weather is favorable.
At the conclusion of the hearing, councillors voted unanimously to ask planning staff to report back on potential zoning amendments or regulatory changes related to retractable balcony glass systems. If approved, they could allow installations without any impact on the floor space ratio (FSR) calculations which regulate the size of buildings.
Lumon, a Finnish company, has developed a frameless retractable balcony glass panel system that provides weather protection when needed, without fully enclosing a balcony. It is used in more than 20 countries worldwide, including Canada, where it has set up a manufacturing plant for the North American market.
“Our company is delighted that Vancouver city councillors realized that as part of the modernization of the city’s bylaws, it should recognize a product that wasn’t even invented when the bylaws were first drafted” said Olli Vanska, CEO of Lumon Canada. Olli Vanska continues “new modern retractable balcony glass systems are also made according to new Good Building Practices which allow balcony space to be used while protecting the building envelope, lowering carbon footprint and saving in energy costs at the same time.”
“The exclusion from the FSR calculations is most important and has been accepted in many European and Canadian cities” says Michael Geller a consultant for Lumon Canada with extensive experience as an architect, planner, real estate consultant, and property developer. Currently, the City and Township of Langley, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and Victoria allow installations without impacting the building area calculations.
Vancouver is known throughout the world as a leader in urban planning and design. The decision to allow retractable balcony glass would further contribute to the city’s goals of becoming one of the world’s most livable and sustainable cities.
Lumon Canada now looks forward to working closely with city officials, as well as architects and multi-family developers who have shown considerable interest in their product, especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lumon will also be holding discussions with officials and politicians from other Metro municipalities where rental and ownership apartments are becoming increasingly common, and exploring how municipal regulations can be modified to allow the installation of its products on balconies in older buildings so residents can enjoy similar benefits to those in new buildings.