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October 27, 2017 6:20 pm

Builder to Discuss an Alternative in Housing

Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 6:56 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Tiny homes are fast becoming a consideration of people living in urban settings in our major cities and, given the harsh reality of economics in today’s world and into the future, are quickly becoming a serious option in smaller communities as well.

How do they stack up in a city such as Prince George which still gets a solid four months of winter weather?  Well, that question and many others will be looked at today at the REAPS annual general meeting at the Bob Harkins Branch of the Prince George Public Library.

First off just to let you know, everyone is welcome to attend the AGM which runs from 1 pm to about 3:30 pm.  They’ll have a short year in review and a governance report and once that is done a session entitled “Building Tiny Homes Suitable for Snowy Climates” will be held featuring Pamela Wright.

She is the owner of Confluence Tiny Homes of Prince George which builds tiny homes under 400 square feet, either on a foundation or on wheels.  Right now she has two homes on wheels under construction and herself lives part-time in a tiny home on foundation with plans to live in one full-time in a couple of years.

Wright will be leading a broad discussion about these homes: how constructing strong, warm and light buildings are key, trade-offs, opportunities and challenges one might face when building or buying a tiny home and will talk about her first-hand experiences with building tiny.


So what is the big deal?

If it is over 100sf and has a foundation, it needs to meet the building code which covers the topic of winterization and others.

If it is in a rural area, one may “get away” with not getting a building permit and build it undetected.

If it is on wheels, then you can build it anywhere you want it in Prince George because they will classify it as a trailer. You can build it on your property and even put it up for sale. They do not consider that manufacturing, and thus will not be fined.

You can park it within the 4 foot set back, disturb your neighbours, uglify you neighbourhood, etc.

You can even go undetected by the BC Safety Authority required inspection for electrical and gas because the City will not notify them.

And, you can likely occupy it as a residence for longer than the 3 or so days a month that the bylaws state because the City Bylaw Enforcement works on complaint driven protocol.

Finally, if one does complain, they have an interesting knack of turning the tables on the complainant.

I have been there trying to defend a friend saddled with such a contraption, so I have had the experience.

IKEA flat pack houses and refugee shelters are way ahead of this curve . Mimic them and make them here would be a short cut game changer .

    Sorry, bettershelter.com is a vastly different function. Tiny houses are mansions in comparison.

      Go to ikea flat pack house images . They also do mansionesque models . Did you know ikea is buying up wind power farms in Alberta ? Wondering why ?

      No wind in Sweden?
      Cheap deal?
      They love cattle country?
      They like dealing with an NDP government?
      They think there is more future in the Canadian rather than the US dollar?

      Oaky … took me 1 or 2 minute to find the answer, after my speculation

      “This investment in renewable energy supports our business and moves us closer to our global ambition to produce more renewable energy than we consume by 2020.”

      Of course, they are actually not producing more. Others built the wind farm.

      Ikea is not adding to the resource, it is merely purchasing it.

      They have a whole lot of roofs across the world . Factory roofs and an agenda .

      If you look at the company strategy and sustainability plan you will find they plan to by 2020 be 100% sustainable wood and energy . I think they are going to set up shop in Alberta because there they have the luxury of a renewable energy friendly government and both of the ingredients are avalable .

    While tiny houses may be built as modular prefab units using a variety of different approaches such as panelized construction, box construction, etc, as well as a variety of different materials from precast concrete, fiberglass spun panels, wood, metal, even brick panels (Plaza 400 was clad with preformed brick panels for instance).

    Only the imagination of the designer, the available materials, advancement of technology and the interests of the client limit what can be built “out of the flat box”.

    The first recorded prefab building was manufactured in London, England in 1840 by Manning and transported to Adelaide, Australia to be used as a Quaker meeting house.
    Picture source = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends_Meeting_House,_Adelaide#/media/File:Friends_Meeting_House,_Adelaide.JPG

    There is nothing much new in prefab (factory built rather than site built), site assembled, residential buildings from a space barely large enough to lie down in, to box buildings delivered to site with bathrooms as well as furniture already placed into the units in some cases (Holiday Inns in the 1960’s for instance) to heights of 20 or so storeys.

    Just as with any building construction the target may be low cost to average cost to high cost for some special, one-of construction.

    Changes are incremental over time. Variations typically increase. Ikea’s entry into the market with construction industry partners is simply another variation in a long history.

    The key here is that so far those who are interested in Tiny Houses would likely be the last ones to purchase a package from Ikea or similar companies.

    They have a different mindset which typically includes self-designed, self-built and often funky.

    The last thing most would want is an impersonal factory built home.

      Eton’s also sold catalogue kit homes across canada . I believe it was started back in the thirties .

      Just looked it up . They were sold 1910s to the 1920s . Might even be a few still standing in PG .

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