Garden Hill Boreal Homebuilder students meet challenges with innovation

The weather challenges imposed by winter on the Boreal Homebuilders to build a house in Garden Hill First Nation are great. This job is particularly difficult without a foundation in place in November and December. Currently, the lakes are freezing up, not allowing concrete materials and concrete mixer truck to cross the lake for this construction. As well, at frigid temperatures concrete mixing and pouring to complete the foundation is not possible as the foundation wallsm would not be able to dry.

So, the big question is: How to construct the stick build house while waiting for warm weather (spring) to complete the foundation?
Hubert Wood (Project Community Instructor) suggested we should suspend the house using  some beams which we can then lower on the foundation once completed during Spring 2020. Darryl Wastesicoot (Project Lead Instructor), who is experienced in different forms of construction across Canada, developed an engineering drawing that shows what the house will look like when suspended on the foundation as well as the details of the trusses, beams, beam pockets which will hold the house on the foundation (show in diagrams below).

Figure 1: Current status of the foundation
Figure 2: Diagram of the Trusses for the stick build house.
Figure 3: Side view of the beams supporting the house on foundation.
Figure 4: Diagram showing how the house will be resting on the temporary and permanent beam.
Figure 5: Front view of the house resting on the beams.

Though Darryl and Hubert have successfully applied this concept in one of their past projects, we consulted engineers to get other expert opinions on approach before a final decision was made to proceed. The Boreal Homebuilder trainees are key players in the project. As a result, we consulted the trainees about the initiative to ensure they wanted to proceed in this way and are cognizant of the work required and the safety requirements.

Image 1 & 2: Trainees discussing the initiative among themselves; Darryl Wastesicoot  (ProjectLead Instructor) explaining the initiative to the trainees.

The Boreal Homebuilder trainees were keen and started constructing the trusses based on the drawings in November Over the coming weeks in November and December, the trainees will be constructing the house based on the engineering drawings.

Article and image courtesy: Babajide Oni.


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