As the market for prefabricated and modular construction broadens, a Western Canadian company is retrofitting a 90,000 square foot facility in Squamish, B.C., to produce a prefinished panelized system for walls, floors, roofs and even foundations.
Stephen Sidwell, CEO of Nexii Building Solutions Inc., says the company’s low-carbon Nexiite panel system is a lightweight but structural assembly that consists of insulated core panels up to 50 by 10-feet prefinished with a “Nexiite skin” attached for interiors and exteriors.
Applications include six-storey multi-family residential and commercial/ industrial buildings, Sidwell says, adding that assemblies are “well-suited” to high-rise curtainwall cladding systems because they are light, 10-inches thick, air tight and have an energy rating of R-40.
“Typically, we are going to be less expensive than wood frame, steel frame or concrete,” he says adding that energy efficiency and erection speed will draw developers to the product.
The panels are “flat-pack” trucked to jobsites, “craned into place and bolted together in a fraction of the time of an onsite build.”
Site assembly is straightforward with small crews. Nexii provides assembly training to certify installers, he says.
Nexiite is composed of an equal mix of sand and “a proprietary blend of readily available materials . . .,” the CEO says, pointing out that it is virtually free of materials deemed harmful to the planet identified on the International Living Future Institute’s Red List.
The company’s materials/systems have met or exceeded a host of critical tests by third-party evaluation facilities in North America for international standards for fire resistance, strength (“Nexiite is stronger than concrete”), durability, seismic and acoustical properties, Sidwell says.
“We can build anywhere in the world with those results.”
Nexiite is also VOC-free, he adds.
To meet growing demand (the company fields about a dozen enquiries daily from developers, architects and builders from around the globe) Nexii plans to offer licensing agreements to operators to open two plants in Canada this year, including one in Toronto and another later in the U.S. in 2021. Global expansion will follow.
While Sidwell says that Nexiite holds promise as a “whole building system” in North America and overseas, it is not new to Canada. It was invented by brothers Ben and Michael Dombowsky who built several buildings in Moose Jaw, Sask., including a three-storey seniors residence, a commercial retrofit and single-family homes.
The Squamish commercial plant will employ about 150 people and is slated to be in operation by the fall. It follows a pilot, 20,000 square foot, manufacturing facility opened in Moose Jaw last year to produce small buildings.
Key investors and early customers include development/builder companies Omicron Canada Inc. and the Beedie Group, says Sidwell.