Across Canada, governments at all levels are looking to provide affordable housing solutions to individuals at risk of homelessness. It’s a pressing need in hundreds of communities. A recent survey shows that more than 80% of Canadians support investment into affordable housing projects. As demand grows, more and more communities realize the value of modular to address their affordable housing needs.
In September, the Government of Canada announced the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), a $1 billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians through the rapid construction of affordable housing. The program, which will support the creation of up to 3,000 new permanent affordable housing units, will utilize modular construction, in addition to repurposing existing spaces such as hotels, for the quick and efficient delivery of these units.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and with the need for affordable housing at an all-time high, it is wonderful to see our government stepping up to help Canadians in need.
Over the years, we’ve also seen the great work done by organizations like BC Housing, who have been ahead of the curve. In 2017, they announced a ‘Rapid Response to Homelessness’ initiative to fast-track new projects. The organization has seen first-hand how offsite construction helps provide housing solutions faster. I’m incredibly proud of our partnership with them. Together, we have completed four supportive housing complexes in the Lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island, and in the province’s interior and northern regions, helping to provide housing to more than 200 individuals.
The need for speed
When people ask me how modular/offsite construction helps alleviate affordable housing issues, one word immediately comes to mind – “speed.” Simply put, offsite construction provides a faster response to the problem. The advantages are plentiful. Fabricating modules and other components in a controlled environment minimizes weather delays. Installation, complexing, and prep teams can work simultaneously to shorten project timelines. Individual modules have superior airtightness quality, which leads to better thermal performance, reduced sound transmission, and improved sustainability.
Governments realize the economic value of offsite construction through accelerated project timelines and lower construction costs.
The most important outcome is faster occupancy for tenants. Individuals are placed in a safe place and a better overall environment, without sacrificing a building’s quality. Governments realize the economic value of offsite construction through accelerated project timelines and lower construction costs. Creating supportive housing also lowers end users’ dependency on emergency services.
Being a good neighbour
Our Nomodic team wants to continue being part of the solution. We recently completed the installation of an affordable housing project in Surrey, B.C., where our team craned 57 units into place in just eight days. Before the final craning, we had to solve the logistical challenge of transporting modules from factory to site (which is only allowed during certain hours), placing them in a lay-down yard, and carefully sequencing them into place. Our space was extremely tight, with two busy roadways on either side of the site, and a plumbing supply store located just a few metres away. As the new kid on the block, we tried to create minimal disturbance for our neighbours. This building will be part of the community for years to come, and we wanted to make a good first impression!
With each of our BC Housing projects, I send photos to their team during the different construction stages, and their excitement increases with each new phase. There are often tears in the room at the grand opening of a new building. Seeing the culmination of all the hard work that goes into creating a place someone can call home is something I’m very proud of.
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Modular Institute to discuss the importance of the Rapid Housing Initiative and the role of modular construction in fulfilling the urgent need for affordable housing in Canada. Listen here.
– Kevin Read, Nomodic President and CEO
For more information on our affordable housing projects, click here.
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