Crews work on the second floor of the 46-unit modular supportive housing residence on Yale Road on Wednesday. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Modular units in Chilliwack will be housing the homeless by this spring

Modules were pre-assembled at Metric Modular’s state-of-the-art construction plant in Agassiz

The modular units being installed this week at the old Traders Inn site will be housing the homeless by this spring.

The energy-efficient modules were designed and built by Metric Modular at their state-of-the-art plant in Agassiz.

“That pre-construction allows for a really high-quality building in a shorter period of time than with traditional construction methods,” explained Tom Faliszewski, Metric Modular senior manager, innovative solutions.

That speed and efficiency is crucial with so many B.C. cities desperately racing to find housing solutions for their community members who are living rough.

“We’ve all heard a lot of about the homeless issues in Vancouver, but we’re finding the same problem is spread out throughout the entire province,” Faliszewski said. “It’s become evident that it’s a problem in almost every community.”

With the Chilliwack project added into the mix, Metric Modular has been the supplier of about 24 modular housing projects in B.C.

The units arrive at their destination 90 per cent ready to go, with only electrical hookups, vinyl finishing or siding left to finish. The work is double-streamed with foundations being set on-site, while structures are being put together at the plant.

“The building will provide really high energy performance,” Faliszewski said. “So it will have a very low carbon footprint as a result.”

Those performance standards are a lot harder to achieve building on-site rather than in the plant. RDH Building Science, was the firm responsible for conducting the energy evaluation to achieve Energy Step Code 3 certification.

“It’s easier to achieve in a factory environment,” the Metric official noted, mentioning tasks like pre-testing assemblies or mechanical systems indoors.

Formerly known as Britco, Metric Modular has become one of the largest manufacturers of modular structures in North America, specializing in affordable housing structures.

In fact, Metric is one of the major suppliers of pre-constructed modules for BC Housing’s Rapid Response to Homelessness program, which is on track to deliver 2,000 modular supportive housing units across B.C.

The 12-foot-by-64-foot “modules” were built with B.C. wood, and crane-positioned, one by one, to create a cohesive a three-storey complex.

Each resident will have their own private suite with a locked door, measuring about 350 square feet. The top two floors of the supportive housing will be residential, with common spaces and amenities on the first floor.

In terms of their expected lifespan, the modular units are built to function as permanent housing, with everything to code.

“Because they’re constructed in the factory, the wall assembly never gets moisture in it. So what we are finding, and what our consultant has predicted, is that they will last longer than traditional construction.”

Metric partnered with Mobius Architecture who have extensive experience with modular construction and designing spaces to meet the needs of non-profit housing agencies.

Most of the structure will be assembled within a week. Then it’s connections and finishing details.

The estimated completion date for occupancy is the end of March. The supportive modular housing will provide 24/7 staffing with an intensive case management (ICM) team on-site to provide mental health and addiction services.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack residents invited to tour modular housing project for the homeless

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Rendering of the 46-unit modular supportive housing residence coming together on Yale Road. (Submitted)

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