Mission Group and BigSteelBox Structures Featured in The Daily Courier
An article by our very own Randy Shier, President of Mission Group Homes, was recently published in the Okanagan Homes section of The Daily Courier. Below is the complete article:
Creativity and Good Design Can Make a Small Space Great
By Randy Shier, Past President and Current Board Member for the Urban Development Institute - Okanagan Chapter and President of Mission Group Homes Ltd.
We’ve all heard the saying “Good things come in small packages,” but you probably never thought it applied to living spaces. Recently, we’ve seen growing trends around sustainability and designs that help deal with affordability and density issues.
Mission Group Homes shares the commitment and vision of the Urban Development Institute in the Okanagan, which is to create and achieve balanced, well-planned and sustainable communities. And, like UDI, we strive to achieve efficient land use, sound planning and good practices throughout the development process. Planning for smaller spaces fits with this mandate.
In every community we create - from past condominium projects to our latest townhome community in Kelowna’s Lower Mission - that offer smaller home options, we take these building commitments and practices to heart.
The key to designing smaller homes is to reduce wasted space by minimizing hallways and maximizing living areas. We stay away from “cookie-cutter” layouts and use open concept floorplans to bring in light and create a feeling of spaciousness. We think it makes more sense to start with a furniture layout and design a room to fit that furniture, rather than doing things the other way around.
Thinking Inside the Box with Design
The partnership between Mission Group Homes and BigSteelBox Structures is also proving that great things can come in small packages, or should we say Boxes!
As part of the Mission Group Enterprises family of companies, Mission Group Homes and BigSteelBox Structures are able to join forces on innovative projects such as mobile workforce housing, and we are trying to change the way people look at remote job site accommodations and workspaces.
While container housing may not yet be a realistic solution to the average homeowner in the Okanagan, more densely populated cities in Canada and Europe are already experimenting with shipping container housing.
For example, an affordable housing complex built from used shipping containers was unveiled in Vancouver's downtown eastside in August of 2013. The 12 shipping containers on Alexander Street near Jackson Avenue were converted into apartments by the Atira Women's Resource Society. It was reported that each unit cost $82,500 to build.
The containers were stacked three high and each provides 290 square feet of living space. Each unit has its own private bathroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry. The homes also feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and each floor is linked by an external staircase.
Shipping container “communities” may be a few years down the road for most of Canada, as it is a housing solution that will take most cities some time to properly zone for residential settings, but they will be more common in the future.
A sector where container housing is being more quickly adopted, however, is remote workforce housing. Oil and gas and mining companies are realizing that by creating desirable accommodations on their worksites, employees will be happier, better rested, and comfortable, which will only benefit the company’s production.
And, perhaps the best part of containerized accommodations is that it can easily be moved when needed without any of the potential damage that occurs when moving a modular wood structure. Ultimately, container housing is more durable and sustainable, and its stackability means it requires less space and leaves a smaller environmental footprint.
We, and other developers of modular buildings are facing the challenge of creating comfortable workforce housing options for industrial job sites. When designing these unusually small spaces, no detail can be overlooked. From built-in cabinetry, to functional bathrooms, to creatively locating windows and doors, these small spaces are proving to be functional with all of the comforts of home.
I ALmost dumped $187K buying a unit in a trailer park, but when the park-owner sold it to a developer (by B.C law) they wouldn't have had to recompense me market-value for my home but merely send me on my way with a year's-worth of pad-fees (about $7000) - which means I would've lost $180K). Thank God I didn't fall for that!
In future, however, am wondering if your container option might eliminate that problem for trailer-park investors(?).
I think you have a FABulous idea :-)