Alberta company tackles affordable housing project for American city

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A modular construction company out of Bow Island, Alta., is teaming up with an American counterpart to tackle the growing homelessness issue in Los Angeles. They're working on developing affordable housing units out of sea cans. Demi Knight reports – Jul 31, 2019

A construction company out of Bow Island, Alta., is bringing business to the province by creating affordable housing units out of sea cans and shipping them a city in the United States.

“It’s an exciting process to be a part of and it’s cool to watch things come together,” Devin Harding, project manager for Tru-Co Modular, said.

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Tru-Co Modular has partnered with Fly Away Homes, a not-for-profit organization based out of Los Angeles, for the project.

The project includes the construction of 16 two-bedroom micro units that will be placed together to create an 8,640-square-foot facility.

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The apartments are being built from re-purposed shipping containers and will be fitted in-house at Tru-Co Modular with modern finishings before being sent out to L.A.

“The modules here are fully finished and completed to a high standard. They have kitchens, bathrooms, drywall, even some furniture,” said Rhys Kane, vice president of business development, with Tru-Co Modular.

“Then they get transported down to the site in Los Angeles. On-site the developer kind of plays Lego and basically installs the modules into a three-storey building.”

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It’s a project that hits close to home for Harding, who said creating projects like these helps change living dynamics for many.

“Creating a tangible product that people can use everyday — it has a huge effect on our lives,” he said.  “You don’t even necessarily understand the full implication of them.”

The modular building process is one Kane said is time-effective, adding there’s a large market for these kind of projects, not only in L.A., but in other cities across the U.S. and Canada that Alberta construction companies stand to benefit from.

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“As the market and demand for commercial projects starts to really embrace this form of construction, we believe that Alberta-based companies can be really well placed to service the market demand,” he said.

And the Bow Island company is already capitalizing on those opportunities, working with companies in Vancouver and Denver to develop similar style projects, including a child care facility.

The micro units are set to be completed later this year.

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