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Suite Additions: An Interview with Modworks Partner and Co-Owner Riall Laplante

There is a new trend in some major Alberta cities where homeowners are adding extra space to their homes via “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADU’s) – more commonly known as a Garden Suite. These Garden suites are gaining popularity in Edmonton and Calgary due to some talented companies that are dedicating their business to answering to this trend. We had the opportunity to (virtually) sit down with Riall Laplante, who is a Partner at Modworks, to get more information about garden suites in our city.

Modworks is a company that is focused on creating ADU’s for homeowners and investors in and around Edmonton and Calgary regions. They have been in business for about 3 years. 

“ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) provides homeowners with new housing options in their backyard that can serve as a guest house, granny flat, crash pad, backyard office, studio, or a rental unit.

ADU’s come in several shapes and sizes: Single Storey, Two-Storey, Attached Garage, Garage-less, etc. In some cities, basements are even allowed creating more space without expanding Site Coverage.”

Modworks focuses on a holistic approach, starting out with a discovery call to discuss your project and then seeing the project through to the completion. There are many considerations when building a garden suite such as bylaws, design, specialized construction details, etc. Modworks handles all aspects of design, permitting and construction. Each design is unique, responding to a client’s site, budget and lifestyle.

While timelines can shift due to the time of year (permits may take longer during the spring rush) and the design complexity, Riall notes that a garden suite should take about 8-10 months to complete from start to finish: 1-2 months for design, 1-2 months for permitting, and 4-6 months for construction.

While the above-garage suite configuration tends to be one of the most popular designs, Riall notes that ADU’s can be as large as a small conventional home (around 1400 sq feet, depending on your property type and size) and even include basements. The opportunity to create more space, separate from your main home, is a fantastic way to expand your space, without taking on a major renovation.


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