RC108 SeptOct2023 - Magazine - Page 25
FUTURE STUDENT HOUSING STACKING UP WELL
pandemic and the urgent need to create new permanent
and safe homes for people experiencing homelessness.
“Modular construction also supports the city’s climate
change action, as these high-quality and energy-efficient
homes are prefabricated in a factory and transported
to the site, where they are assembled,” says Faria. “The
benefits of modular construction, compared to traditional
construction, include speed, cost efficiency and lower
Toronto’s use of modular construction has been successful to-date and currently, seven sites have been completed
or are underway, creating a total of almost 400 modular
homes, including at 39 Dundalk Drive (formerly 7 Glamorgan Avenue), where earlier this year, the site welcomed delivery and craning in of the first modules that will become
new permanent supportive homes for 57 individuals.
The homes at this site are part of the second Phase of
the MHI and funded through a partnership between the
City and the federal government. This unique partnership allows the city to leverage land already within its
portfolio for the purpose of building more affordable and
supportive homes. The land at 39 Dundalk Dr. is owned
by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)
and is subject to a lease between the city and TCHC.
The City of Toronto has used modular housing as an
effective tool to help reduce pressure on the emergency
shelter system. Despite this success, the current housing
and homelessness crises, driven by the lack of affordable
housing supply, increased cost of housing, lack of access
to mental health supports, and growing rates of poverty,
have resulted in new inflows into the shelter system, says
Faria. Currently, Toronto’s 9,000-bed shelter system is
operating at full capacity each night, and unable to keep
up with the growing demand for spaces.
“New and enhanced investments from all orders of
government are urgently needed to scale up the supply
of new affordable homes, including both modular and
traditional construction. Investments in wraparound
support services (including mental and physical
health services), are also critical to effectively improve
housing outcomes for people experiencing or at risk of
homelessness,” adds Faria.
NRB Modular Solutions of Grimsby, Ont. was selected for the Phase One sites at 11 Macey Avenue and 321
Dovercourt Road and was also selected as the successful
proponent to manufacture the modular buildings for
city’s Modular Housing Initiative Phase Two.
At the time, there was limited competition in the market with only a handful of companies that had actually
delivered residential modular housing in Canada;
With more than 40 years of experience in the modular
residential housing industry, NRB has successfully delivered hundreds of modular homes in British Columbia,
including Margaret Mitchell Place in Vancouver.
Stacking of the pods at Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus required
precise work and attracted crowds of onlookers who observed outside
Nearly 150 Selkirk College (B.C.) students at the Castlegar and Nelson
Silver King campuses can look forward to new on-campus housing with
construction underway on the projects.
The modular build process being used in the construction of the
$33.9 million project saw the Silver King Campus three-storey building
erected quickly in early-May and the massive crane used to stack
the prefabricated rooms is now on standby for the Castlegar Campus
where it will be used for a similar outcome in mid-June.
“There is a Lego feel to it,” says Stephen Monahan, Selkirk College’s
manager of capital projects. “This is an efficient way to build housing
of this type and as the project progresses, we are seeing those
In alignment with the Provincial Government’s Homes for People
Action Plan and funded by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education
& Future Skills—with a contribution of $1.65 million from Columbia
Basin Trust—the finished project will increase on-campus housing at
Selkirk College by 71 per cent. Once complete, the Silver King Campus
will have 35 units available for students and the Castlegar Campus will
The project broke ground in November 2022 under a design-build
contract with Scott Builders. After months of work preparing the
foundation at both sites, the modular units began arriving on transport
trucks to the West Kootenay earlier in the spring from southern Alberta
where they were fabricated by ROC Modular.
Built indoors at a massive temperature-controlled facility in the
community of Bow Island, the modular units come complete with
drywall, insulation, windows, cabinets, interior paint, electrical/
plumbing and flooring. A crane is used to stack the modular units in a
process that takes only a few days. The modular units are then sealed
and weatherproofed in preparation for the next phase of construction.
Incorporating modern design, the buildings place a premium on
today’s learner. Aligning with BC’s Wood First Initiative and designed to
meet Step 4 of the province’s Energy Step Code, the finished buildings
will include welcoming common spaces, spacious communal kitchens,
an allotment of family units and the all-important study rooms.
The project is expected to be complete in early-2024 with full
operation at both campuses in September 2024.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2023 – RENEW CANADA 25