North Okanagan company says it has fire-resistant solution for housing construction

Click to play video: 'North Okanagan company building fire-resistant homes'
North Okanagan company building fire-resistant homes
After coming off of the worst wildfire seasons on record in Canada, where hundreds of structures were lost, a modular home manufacturer out of Lavington is building homes that are fire resistant, and they only take about six weeks to be completed. Jayden Wasney reports – Oct 25, 2023

In the wake of one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, a modular home manufacturer out of Lavington, B.C.,  says it has come up with a method to build homes that are more resilient to the risks that now come hand in hand with summer.

“The Okanagan Valley in recent years has seen a huge number of losses due to forest fires of homes,” said Jesse Musial, the vice president of Atlas Modular Solutions.

The North Okanagan company said it is building fire-resistant homes that take roughly six weeks to complete.

“Our hearts go out to those that have lost a home due to fire, and we feel that we have something to offer to those who are looking to do everything they can to avoid that situation,” Musial said.

Click to play video: 'Installation of modular housing units for the unhoused begins on Wolfe St. in Peterborough'
Installation of modular housing units for the unhoused begins on Wolfe St. in Peterborough

Musial explained that the studs, floor joists and roof rafters are printed with a CNC printer and steel beams are being made inside the factory.

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All materials used in homes are either non-combustible or certified flame-resistant, the company said. The company said its structures will not ignite or spread flames to adjacent properties, in the event of a wildfire or home fire.

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Additionally, the company said each steel frame home comes with a fire-retardant coating on all wood elements inside the home to help reduce its flammability. It can be used on both the interior and exterior of the home.

“On average, natural untreated wood has a flame-spread index of 100, and this product reduced the flame-spread index to less than 25,” said Menza Bouwman, the manager of Fire Retardant Coatings Canada.

“Wood, or the trusses or the walls, OSB material — anything can be treated with the fire retardant,” Bouwman said.

Bouwman said the coating can also prevent flying embers from igniting.

The steel-frame homes take roughly six weeks to be completed, and the cost isn’t much higher than a traditional wood-frame modular home.

“At the moment, we estimate it’s roughly 10 per cent more for the steel costs,” Musial said.

“There are, as I mentioned, the savings and efficiency and time, and when we’re operating in a plant such as this, we’re trying to build homes as quickly as possible.”

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