The modular apartments stacking up in Transcona

WINNIPEG — If you’ve driven past the field on the corner of Gunn Road and Day Street recently, you might have noticed rows of rectangular shaped boxes.

They won’t be there long. Soon they’ll be part of an apartment block being built in Transcona in a process called the modular method.

“The modular method is – we use our factory in Winkler Manitoba to build all these units in an indoor controlled facility,” said Jeff Enns, business development manager for Grandeur Homes, a company that specializes in modular construction.

“Kind of the same as building a car, but we build apartments and houses.”

Enns said Granduer Homes has been building modular homes and cabins for decades, but in the last several years, they have started to make multi-family dwellings and apartments.

He said this method really shortens construction time.

“Factories are very efficient, so there’s a reduction in greenhouse emissions, less time on site, creating less noise pollution.”

Transcona City Councillor Shawn Nason said the project was brought to council last year, and he’s excited to see this kind of innovative development in his ward.

“The fact of how quick it can be established, instead of multi-years to realize people moving in, we’re talking months, so this year people will be moving into this location.”

Director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg Jino Distasio said modular buildings have existed for a long time, but as technology improves, there is more mainstream adaption.

“The modular industry has probably grown quite substantially over the last couple of decades, and now we’re starting to see the real emerging technology to do bigger projects, and hopefully ones that are a bit more accessible and open to other folks.”

Distasio said there are modular projects in the works right now looking to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Enns said construction on the apartment started in the factory last August, and is expected to be completed and occupied by June of this year.

He said there is nothing wrong with conventional construction, but modular is a great option for a project like the apartment in Transcona.

“They’ll be quiet, they’re going to be safe, they’re going to be new,” said Enns. “We also think the developers worked well with us and the architects. They look great, great location, looks like a home run to me.”

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