A setback is the distance which a structure must be set back from a street, road or water on a building lot.
One of the first questions to answer before you start looking at home or building plans is: “What are my building lot size setbacks?” Here are a few tips from Drafting Manager Barry Hryciw:
1) A general rule of thumb is to allow 5 feet on either side of your lot width line for setbacks, and up to 50 feet if near any water. However, this measurement needs to be confirmed with your local authority.
It also differs with lots that are irregular in shape, which requires much more precise planning.
2) When building in rural areas you also need to look into codes for wells and septic and how setbacks work with these factors.
3) Most suburbs planned before 1920 have narrow lots and setbacks of 5 to 15 feet between houses. Recently, in North America requirements have been lowered to allow new houses to be closer to the street.
4) In addition to setbacks, think of overall house size. Generally, a structure cannot take up more than 35-40 percent of the overall landmass before infringements become an issue.
5) If taking down an existing structure, permits first need to be obtained for rebuilding with current setbacks and building size in mind.