February 4, 2021

Modular Construction: The Perfect Fit for Affordable Housing

Each night in Canada, 30,000 people find themselves homeless and 235,000 will experience that feeling of helplessness each year. These individuals are in desperate need of housing, but the need for affordable solutions goes even further – to students, seniors, Indigenous communities and families who are simply priced out of their local market.

How do governments, institutions, non-profit housing providers, businesses and communities come together to effectively close the existing gaps and ensure a healthy affordable housing supply? Enter modular construction as one possible solution.

What is modular construction

The innovative process involves manufacturing sections of a building off-site in a temperature-controlled facility. Those modules are then transported to their final site, set on the foundation footprint by crane, and joined together to make one integrated building. Once the modules are assembled and the integration is complete, the structure is virtually indistinguishable from those built by traditional construction methods.

The benefits of modular construction

While modular construction serves a wide variety of industries, it is in applications like affordable housing where the benefits are most apparent.

  • Reduced construction timelines: Manufacturing the modules off site while foundational work occurs concurrently on-site allows the construction timeframe to be reduced by up to 50 per cent.
  • Cost and schedule certainty: Reducing, if not eliminating, the opportunities for untimely delays caused by weather, site damage, or lack of trade availability creates certainty of budget and project scheduling.
  • Quality: A high quality structure is assured by building indoors in an environment of strict, factory-style controls and away from elements that may degrade materials.
  • Sustainability: Waste is significantly reduced, from about 30 per cent on a typical construction site to 2 to 3 per cent in the manufacturing setting. The on-site footprint is also significantly reduced, with less noise, dust and traffic over a shorter period.

Applications for affordable housing

While the ability to reduce timelines is the most appealing benefit to affordable housing stakeholders, modular construction also presents flexibility in the approach to building. Both permanent and temporary structures are finding a place in solving issues of affordable housing supply, with temporary solutions offering the opportunity to use land that has been marked for future uses or that cannot accommodate permanent foundations to address pressing housing needs. Those structures can remain in place for years or be disassembled and redeployed to a different location on an identified timeline.

NRB Modular Solutions is playing a key role in affordable housing development with our modular building solutions. Dozens of projects across the affordable housing continuum, including supportive housing, senior housing, and affordable market rentals, have been built by our company across BC, providing more than 1,500 units of housing to individuals and families in need of an affordable place to live.

The importance of a home cannot be overstated. For many residents, affordable housing offers a new chance at life, an opportunity to be part of a community, and the foundation needed to live the life they want. Modular construction can play a key role in addressing community needs across Canada. With the growing conversation and interest in affordable housing, we see an opportunity for the vision of every Canadian having a safe place to call home to become a reality. Visit NRB Modular Solutions to learn more about how modular construction is creating rapid solutions for affordable housing.