Cohousing Development Consulting

The complex product that is a cohousing community consists of two elements forged into a whole. This is often referred to as the two wings of the bird. One wing can be described as the tasks associated with creating the physical structure. The other is the process associated with creating the tangible aspects of an authentic community. Both must be in balance to create a successful cohousing project.

CDC provided development management services for eleven completed cohousing communities in Canada. We know what it takes to support a group to ground their vision in reality and generate the membership and financial resources required to move forward and get the project built in a timely and cost-efficient manner. In the past CDC provided full-service development management, however, we are no longer doing that. Now we provide workshops to support groups to move their projects forward and find the local professionals needed to support them to achieve success. The following provides an example of some of the workshops we could offer. This is just an example, each workshop can be custom designed based on the needs of the group.

Examples of Workshops

What it takes to develop a cohousing project

  • Typical steps for cohousing development – an overview
  • Cohousing development success rates
  • Overview of the risks and how to mitigate them

Finding and hiring professionals

  • Organizational structure for the professional team
  • How to find the right professionals
  • Professional roles and qualities

Organizational structure

  • Why organizational structure matters
  • Typical roles and responsibilities of members
  • Communication systems
  • Meeting Management
  • Organizational structure and change


  • First steps – deciding how to decide
  • Tools to support collaborative decisions
  • What matters most

Building membership/community

  • Membership structure
  • Members’ responsibilities & obligations
  • Sharing tasks, responsibility, and leadership
  • Power in community
  • Marketing outreach strategies
  • Integrating new members

Design and development

  • Priorities for design
  • Affordability
  • Working with design professionals
  • Designing for the community rather than for individuals
  • Customization, optional upgrades
  • Preliminary programming
  • The design workshops
  • Land use designation and the regulatory process
  • Working with municipal staff and officials
  • Working with neighbours
  • Developer information meetings and public hearings

Legal structure & agreements

  • Government legislation
  • Legal structure overview
  • Legal structure for development
  • Legal structure for home ownership
  • Legal agreements and considerations
  • Setting up the development company
  • Selecting a lawyer
  • General administration and record keeping
  • Purchase agreements
  • Non-market housing agreements
  • Transfers prior to completion
  • Transition at completion

Financial Structure

  • Financial phases
  • Estimating project costs
  • Home pricing
  • Non-market housing
  • Home selection process
  • Pricing and paying for optional upgrades
  • Homeowner financing
  • Furnishing the common house
  • Financing the development
  • Financial management
  • Managing cash flow
  • Dealing with unsold units

Establishing feasibility, finding and securing a site

  • Initiation stage
  • Confirming site criteria
  • Elements of a preliminary feasibility study
  • Finding and securing a site
  • Site feasibility

Construction Phase

  • Overview of construction delivery methods
  • Construction contracts
  • Finding and selecting the construction contractor
  • Preparing for construction
  • building permit application
  • new home warranty
  • course of construction insurance
  • construction communication and protocols
  • changes to construction scope and budget construction terminology and managing changes


  • Managing excess contingency or short fall
  • Home-owner financing – what is required at completion
  • Closing documents
  • Occupancy permit & move in
  • Deficiency/warranty management, preparing the maintenance manual
  • Completion coordination and warranty period protocol

How to prepare for living in your community

  • Creating agreements prior to move in
  • Clarity re use of common spaces
  • Furnishing the common house
  • Decision-making after move-in

Every group has somewhat different needs, so before committing to a workshop or other services CDC communicates with the group to clearly identify the services that are required. The fees vary depending on the services offered. Contact us directly if you would like more information.