Modular Building Institute

Cole Starnes Abbotsford Temporary Housing Facility

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Main Category:
Modular Building Design
Metric Modular
Abbotsford, BC
Building Use:
Transitional Social Housing
Gross Size of Project:
22100 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    The three-storey temporary modular apartment building features 44 self-contained units, including six units designed for people with disabilities. Each self-contained unit is approximately 350 sq. ft. and includes bedroom/living space with private washroom and kitchenette. The ground floor includes a commercial-grade kitchen, common dining area, laundry facilities, and support service rooms. The rooms were designed in a double-loaded corridor to maximize the space and obtain the greatest quantity of suites within the footprint of the site. From a physical perspective, one of the biggest challenges that needed to be considered was the site conditions. The location that was earmarked for the project was very narrow and in close proximity to a main highway, an arterial road, and a railway line bordering 3 sides of the property. Because the majority of the components were built offsite, the team was able to avoid having major traffic disruptions in the local area.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    This project exceeds Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code performance targets, equivalent to a 40% improvement on energy efficiency compared to standard Building Code. For the social hosing sector, energy efficiency means less operational costs for the operator and a simple systems approach to maintain a healthy and stable indoor environment for its occupants, further improving their wellbeing. This project is being featured in the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation NHS Demonstration Initiative, which is conducting research to produce a report outlining the benefits of using modular construction for sustainable, affordable housing. The research looked to identify technologies that could be scaled-up to create energy efficient housing across Canada.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    This project represents a smart use of modular construction: it fulfills a temporary need but it can be adapted to future needs to maximize resources and reduce waste. Additionally, the modules meet a very high-energy efficiency standard to ensure the comfort of its residents, reduce operational expenses and meet a provincial requirement for energy efficiency for new buildings. This facility will be at the current site for a period of approximately 5 years, with the ability to be relocated to a future re-development property depending on the needs and land availability the City has at that time. The foundation system used a temporary wood engineered cribbing – which supports the structure of the building modules without disturbance to the ground. It is less invasive and easier to restore to its original state once the modules are moved off of the site.
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