Innovative home introduced to Eden Valley

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There’s no place like home — and a pilot project may help Eden Valley residents better weather the harsh conditions in the community 23km west of Longview.

A groundbreaking ceremony for a state-of-the-art 1,280-square foot steel-modular home at Eden Valley First Nations was held in mid July.

“What we are building is First Nations housing based on a steel-modular approach,” said Joe Kiss, president of Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems. “The walls are steel, the studs are steel and it is a non-combustible structure.”

He said traditionally First Nation homes are stick-built wood-framed houses.

“They have challenges with durability, challenges with fire and challenges with mould with that traditional building technique,” Kiss said.

The Calgary-based company developed the steel-modular structure with walls, floors, cabinets, vanities and others. Sea-Can frames are used which are ideal for sealing moisture and fire prevention.

Once completed, it looks like a home.

“You simply crane into place two or three modulars and your house is up in a matter of a few days,” Kiss said. “We believe the end product is much better suited for environment being non-combustible and steel-braced.”

The cost of the home is comparable to traditionally built houses.

The Ladacor structure home, is being built where a previous home burned down in Eden Valley. The steel modular home is expected to be in place in late September or early October.

The pilot-project, the first of its kind in a First Nations in Alberta, is a joint effort of Bearspaw First Nations, Alberta Innovates and Ladacor.

Robert Shotclose, Bearspaw CEO, said the band worked with Ladacor to address issues like mould and fire protection, as well as plenty of space to accommodate larger families.

He said the home will be studied to see how it performs — with the possibility of more in the future.

“We are monitoring the home for the next few months to see how it performs,” Shotclose said. “We have the one in Eden Valley and another one in Morley next year. We will see how it goes and if it out performs right away it could be the building model of choice to go with.”

He said the unit in Eden Valley could be the first one of its kind in Canada.

Shotclose said the Bearspaw band may work with Ladacor in developing multi-unit complexes in the future.

He said housing is an issue in Morley and Eden Valley, adding the damage the 2013 flood repair program is 95 per-cent complete. He said when all is said and done 148 units will have been repaired, approximately 65 from Eden Valley.

Alberta Innovates Technology Futures is a Crown corporation that promotes innovation in the province.

“The interest in this one is to support a company in growing its business and commercialization of an innovative technology,” said Michael Kerr of Alberta Innovates. “In this case being able to support a company solving a big problem, within not only industry but First Nation housing.”

It goes beyond just building a house.

“There is scientific data being captured, everything from the fire side, the mould, maintenance, we do have specific measures we are looking at,” he said.

For more information on Ladacor go to www.ladacor.com

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