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Edmonton embarks on first container modular housing project

Russell Hixson
Edmonton embarks on first container modular housing project

Edmonton-based Step Ahead Properties Ltd. and Calgary-based Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems are hard at work on the Westgate Manor site in Edmonton. The new affordable housing development will see an infill addition to the property of 20 units of purpose-built affordable rental housing.

The development will be a first of its type in Edmonton to use repurposed shipping containers as part of an innovative modular building technology. Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems will fabricate the shipping containers into factory-finished modules that will be transported to the site and then craned into place.

"We have got some traction in the hotel market and we are looking to expand into different markets," said Rhys Kane, Ladacor’s manager for business development. "Hotels lend themselves very well to modular as the suites can be fully finished, the hotel suites themselves are good dimensions. Modular is flexible enough to be able to build those spaces. We are confident that we can do multifamily. It is just an obvious next step really."

The new infill addition will feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom units with a private balcony/patio and in-suite laundry. The project is currently under construction with occupancy scheduled for summer 2017.

"Using this modular building approach offers numerous benefits over conventional construction," said AJ Slivinski, owner of Step Ahead Properties Ltd. "There is a faster schedule, off-site construction will mean less disruption to the existing tenants and surrounding neighbours, the steel building is non-combustible, which is far safer and more durable for rental housing, and lastly the modular construction gives a far better sound insulation between the suites, making them much quieter for the residents."

The Ladacor technology has already been used successfully for various projects, including a four-storey hotel in Bruderheim, northeast of Edmonton. Step Ahead Properties Ltd. are looking at further opportunities in the area to build more affordable housing.

Kane said their next project about to hit the factory floor is a long-term care senior housing complex in Northern Alberta.

"Senior housing is big market across different spectrums," said Kane. "It’s a great opportunity particularly in small towns where people want to stay, as they would otherwise often have to go to major urban centres."

Kane also noted that in terms of fire protection, its system can be a lot safer, a key selling point for seniors housing

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