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Modular Construction Could Provide Critical Solution

May 25th, 2017 Comments off

One of the schools affected by closure in Nova Scotia. Credit: Chronicle Herald.

In Nova Scotia, Canada, the challenge of shuttered schools looms large for communities, school boards and politicians.

But a solution is on the horizon, in the form of modular classrooms.

According to the Chronicle Herald, Lunenburg County in the province has had to close two schools, with two more on the chopping block. And, the Cape Breton School Board has announced the closure of 17 schools.

Local resident, and experienced homebuider Peter Simpson believes he has the answer.

Dropping enrollment and shuttered schools hang like dark clouds over politicians and school boards alike in Nova Scotia.

But a Bridgewater resident says there is a way to keep more schools open.

Peter Simpson says modular schools may be the solution.

What used to be assets for the community . . . have now become liabilities,” said Simpson, who is also the former CEO of the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association.

When schools close, they are turned over to the titleholder after a school review of the buildings, which could be the municipality, the school board or, the developer.

Working being done on a modular unit in the Britco facility. Credit: Britco.

The owner then has the responsibility to make decisions about the building and property,” a statement from the province citied.

With that, Simpson moved to utilize the available modular units.

When the enrollment drops you can remove those units,” said Simpson. “And take them where there is a . . . need.”

Simpson provided an example where, if there is a school with low enrollment in Bridgewater, the province could take off a modular wing and move it to a school in Halifax with more students.

Britco Construction, which the Daily Business News reported on recently here, specializes in building modular offices, homes, hotels and classrooms. The company built Watson Elementary in Chilliwack, which has eight modular classrooms.

And, the unique layout was designed to allow for the removal of four classrooms a few years later when the school’s enrollment dropped. Declining enrollment is often the reason given when school boards decide to close a school, and the flexibility of modular solutions provides an effective alternative.

A Britco unit under construction. Credit: Journal of Commerce.

Although potentially effective, opinions vary.

There is a long-range planning issue with school building in Nova Scotia, and schools have become twice the size they need to be,” said Paul Bennett, director of Schoolhouse Consulting.

Bennett sees a scenario where small schools are built in the center of communities.

They shouldn’t be Ontario-designed models imposed on smaller Nova Scotia communities.”

Even so, school boards, like one in Ontario, are taking the initiative.

The Flowervale Public School in Toronto is a modular school with a brick core.

And when student enrollment began to decline, the board decided to repurpose the building in 2006. It’s now called Giant Steps: Autism School and Therapy Centre, and serves greater Toronto.

And that flexibility now has those in government taking a look.

We currently have not used modular construction in our schools, but we look at any option that was both cost effective and met the needs of the students and community,” said government spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn.

More on Britco’s work in Canada, including their buildout of a workforce housing project in northern Alberta, Canada for Devon Energy Corp., is linked here.

For more on the Canadian Modular Market, including Enerdynamic Hybrid Technologies Corp. (EHT) and their goal to deliver 50,000 homes in the nation of Ivory Coast for a branch of its military, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

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More First Nations Turning to Modular

April 27th, 2017 Comments off
MoreFirstNationsTurningtoModularcreditCBC-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Modular homes being moved into place on the Yale First Nation. Credit: CBC.

Throughout Canada, many First Nations native tribes are struggling with the dual challenge of quality, and affordable, housing.

Mold and other natural elements, when combined with overcrowding, present issues tribal members call a “sad reality.”

The solution, they believe, lies in modular housing.

According to the CBC, the Yale First Nation in British Columbia has started to move forward with utilizing modular, with Britco in to construct six new family units.

With the ability to heat the homes for much less, and the homes being able to last longer, utilizing them was an easy choice, especially as older homes were falling apart.

They were dilapidated, one was condemned and demolished and the other cost us $100,000 just to renovate,” said Crystal Sedore, Yale First Nation’s housing manager.

The Yale First Nation homes were built using what’s known as passive technology, in which the units face the sun, have thicker walls and multiple layers of insulation, which lowers heating bills by as much as 80 percent. Heat from stoves and dryers are also recycled to heat the rest of the homes, which are airtight.

Members of the Yale First Nation started to move into the homes on April 1st.

As far as we’re aware, this is the very first passive house built on a reserve,” said Sedore.

The results, so far, are positive. The nation is so pleased that four additional homes are now being constructed.

kashechewanfirstnationreturnhomenewmodularhousingwelcomesthemcreditcbc2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: CBC.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of stories about First Nation’s utilizing modular housing, including the case of the two-and-a-half-year saga for the Kashechewan First Nation of Northern Ontario.

In December, eight families started moving back into new modular homes delivered over the summer.

Families were expected to continue to return through the winter and spring months with all 104 modular homes full by August 2017.

The plan is to fly a handful of families back to Kashechewan every few weeks, with the goal of having everyone home by the end of the summer,” said Kapuskasing fire chief Gerry Desmeules.

When they left Kashechewan two and a half years ago now, they basically left with a small duffle bag with some clothes. They’ve basically rebuilt their memories and all their personal property and stuff while they were here in Kapuskasing.

The full story is linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Modular Building Helps Native American First Nations Solve Housing Challenges

January 11th, 2017 Comments off
ModularHelpsFirstNationsSolveHousingChallengescreditBritco-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Britco.

For many among the member of the “First Nations” in Canada, quality affordable housing is a persistent challenge. The Yale First Nation in British Columbia knows this all too well, having to work to provide housing that meets the challenge of standing up to cold weather without being too expensive.

According to The Tyee, the Yale Nation receives a maximum of $169,000 from the federal government to build a house. That’s enough for a single-family, wood-frame house or, as Yale First Nation Chief Ken Hansen calls them, “B.C. box houses.

These homes can take six to 12 months to complete, and with frequent rains delays even though the homes meet basic code structure, their quality often leads to challenges including mold.

These challenges led the Yale Nation to Britco, a Langley, British Columbia-based modular building company.

Yale contracted with the company to build 10 two-bedroom modular units in a pair of buildings that meet high-efficiency “Passive House” design requirements.

For us, the appeal was not only are we being environmentally conscious, which is very important to our chief and council,” said Crystal Sedore, housing manager for the Yale First Nation.

But also to build housing that is beyond minimal acceptable standards. We want something better, and our membership deserves better.

Passive House homes are designed to be so energy-efficient that they are able to stay warm at 62 degrees with residents’ body heat, energy from the sun, and by turning on the lights.

Passive Housing relies on strict construction standards and material specifications to ensure as little heat seepage as possible, and housing can be completed in 30 days.

Britco says that their previous Passive House project, located in Bella Bella, B.C., takes as much energy to heat on the coldest day of the year as turning on six 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.

For the Yale Nation, that means cost savings.

ModularHelpsFirstNationsSolveHousingChallengescreditTheTyee-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Modular units in progress. Credit: The Tyee.

We’re looking at hydro bills estimated to be $10 to $20 a month for heating and electricity” in these new units,” Sedore said.

Yale says it will track the units energy use and share the data, providing a valuable test case for modular Passive House designs in other communities, regardless of whether or not they’re Indigenous.

I’m hoping to lead by example,” said Chief Hansen. ##

(Editor’s Note: The Daily Business News has covered a number of First Nation stories, including the Kashechewan First Nation returning to their land, with new modular housing to welcome them. That story is linked here.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Britco will Supply Modular Units for Winter Games

March 6th, 2014 Comments off

MHProNews.com has learned modular builder Britco of Langley, British Columbia (BC) will supply modular housing for the athletes competing in the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, in east central BC, in 2015. Following the competition, four of the modular units will be transformed into libraries for First Nations communities in northern BC, much the same as ten modular Britco units after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics became libraries for First Nations people, as langleyadvance.com reports. Additionally, as MHProNews.com posted April 18, 2012, some of the modular units from the Olympics became housing for people with disabilities and at-risk youth. Britco, based in Langley, has one thousand employees spread across Australia, Canada and the United States, and is one of the largest modular construction companies in the industry. ##

(Photo credit: winnipegfreepress.com–Lake St. Martin, Canada modular)

 

Workforce Housing Developer Promoting Natural Gas in Asia

November 28th, 2013 Comments off

Canadian modular builder Britco has sent senior executive Chris Gardner with British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark on a trade mission to China promoting B.C’s natural gas to the growing economies of Asia. Three liquid natural gas facilities will be working by 2020 which will generate thousands of construction jobs, and Britco intends to provide the workforce housing for the employees. “Britco’s modular approach to building construction is a greener, smarter, faster way to build,” said Gardner. “Because we are working off-site and on-site at the same time, we are able to drive costs down and accelerate the construction schedule.” The Langley, BC-based company recently finished an 880 room facility in northern Alberta for Devon Energy which included movie theatres and recreational facilities, as langleyadvance.com tells MHProNews. Added Gardner, “The competition to recruit and retain skilled workers is intense, so companies are focused on providing a home-away-from-home experience with excellent amenities.”

(Image credit: globalregina.com–workforce housing)

Modular Workforce Camp Rising in Canada

October 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Britco, one of the largest modular construction businesses in the industry, has announced plans to build a workforce housing project in northern Alberta, Canada for Devon Energy Corp. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark met with Britco officials to launch the $100 million modular project with over 1,500 rooms to be built at the company’s Penticton and Agassiz facilities, as MHProNews has learned. Work is set to begin this month with a completion date of Dec. 2015, according to journalofcommerce.com. Britco has operations in Australia, Canada and the U. S., employing over 1,000 workers, and recently finished an 880 room project in the same area.

(Image credit: globalregina.com–modular workforce camp)

Modular Builder and First Nation Collaborate

June 4th, 2013 Comments off

Modular builder Britco of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has entered into a partnership with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to create some mutually beneficial business opportunities. As newswire.ca tells MHProNews, the First Nation is comprised of 500 members who live along the shores of the Burrard Inlet in N. Vancouver, BC. With headquarters in Langley, BC, Britco is a subsidiary of WesternOne Inc., and one of the largest modular construction companies in the industry with over 1,000 employees in Canada, Australia and the U. S. The company and the First Nation will rent and sell temporary and permanent buildings for housing, offices, daycares, and senior accommodations. Mike Ridley, President of Britco, says, “We are looking forward to working closely with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to provide sustainable modular building solutions on major projects in and around the region.”

(Photo credit: winnipegfreepress–Lake St. Martin, Manitoba, Canada)

Canadian Project Requires Extensive Modular Housing

January 9th, 2013 Comments off

The journalofcommerce reports WEQ Britco is set to begin building a 2,000 room modular workforce accommodation complex in northern Manitoba, Canada at the proposed site of Manitoba Hydro’s multi-billion dollar Keeyask power generation plant on the Lower Nelson River. Manitoba Hydro began preliminary work on access road and camp development in early 2012. Phase one of the $207 million housing project will see the build out of 500 modular rooms with exercise, entertainment and food facilities, scheduled for completion June 2014. Phase two will be the 1,500 remaining modules. MHProNews has learned the overall $6.2 billion project involves the construction of a powerhouse complex, spillway, dams, dykes, reservoir, and supporting infrastructure. “We are proud to be working with Manitoba Hydro and its First Nation and community partners on this important project and look forward to designing and building one of the most advanced workforce accommodations complexes anywhere in Canada,” said Darren Latoski, CEO of WesternOne Equity (WEQ) Income Fund, which acquired Britco about a year and a half ago.

(Image credit: Global Regina–modular man camp in Canada)

Canadian Modular Builder Receives MBI Honors

April 18th, 2012 Comments off

Langley, British Columbia-based Britco has been honored with four international awards at the Modular Building Institute (MBI)’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida, according to what MarketWatch tells MHProNews.com. The Canadian company, one of the largest manufacturers of commercial modular buildings in North America, supplied the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with modular suites for athletes and officials in the Whistler Athletes Village. To fulfill its mandate for a social housing legacy after the games, the 300 rooms were disassembled and relocated to provide 156 permanent rooms in five separate communities for people with disabilities and at-risk youth and adults. The four awards were for the affordable housing projects, including one, the Judge’s Choice Award, for best modular building in North America. Britco’s modular Whistler Athlete’s Lodge received the same honor in 2010.

(Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)

WesternOne Equity Income Fund’s Modular Manufacturing Division Produces First Units in Texas

February 29th, 2012 Comments off

WESTERNONE EQUITY INCOME FUND - Modular Manufacturing in TexasWesternOne Equity Income Fund has announced that the first modular buildings are rolling off the production line in its Waco, Texas facility of its WEQ Britco LP division. The plant in Texas, which had been idle for three years before Britco purchased it in September 2011, now has 80 employees. “We are very excited to see the first finished modular units from our Texas facility and look forward to designing and building workforce accommodations for our customers in the United States,” states Darren Latoski, CEO of WesternOne Equity. In recent months WesternOne’s Britco division has made two strategic acquisitions. On February 1, Britco acquired a production plant in Edmonton, Alberta. In the fall of last year, Britco, through its indirectly-owned subsidiary in the USA, purchased the large manufacturing facility in Waco, Texas. Currently, Britco is working on the largest project in its 35 year history – a project valued at approximately $50 million for a large energy company in Alberta.

(Image Credit: Britco)