Can tiny homes work in the Big Land? This Quebec company thinks so
Nunavik Building says its homes are designed to withstand extreme cold in the North
A Quebec company thinks it has a solution for housing challenges in Nunavik and other northern regions by fabricating modular tiny homes it says can stand up to the harsh climate and don't cost a fortune.
Willie Gadbois, the co-founder of Nunavik Building, says the first shipment of a tiny house and a four-bedroom model arrived in Kuujjuaq this past summer.
We put them together, it's like a plug-and-play house.- Willie Gadbois
He says building a home in Nunavik with outside contractors can run anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million.
"My challenge was to try to build houses that are affordable for the people, to be able to sell houses that are not expensive," Gadbois told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.
One of the company's tiny homes, pre-built in Sherbrooke costs about $228,000, Gadbois said, noting that modules can be added to make two-, three- or four-bedroom houses, all of which are brought on the sealift to Nunavik.
"People are always having problems with their heating or their houses are cold, they're not well insulated," he said.
Gadbois, a plumber and furnace man by trade, says the homes they build are warmer thanks to radiant floor heating and injected foam instead of fibreglass insulation in the walls, ceiling and floor, and that means heating costs are lower.
He noted that steel siding and steel roofing adds durability in a region that's very cold.
Gadbois says he and his business partner, Claude Jannelle, have tried to simplify their homes so owners can fix any problems they encounter. He says there are contractors in Kuujjuaq who can fix furnace room issues, but the expertise to fix electrical panel problems isn't widely available in other communities in Nunavik.
"I try to put everything as simple as possible so if ever something happens to your house, that you be able to fix it yourself and for the heat consumption, save on fuel," he said.
Homeowners in the north
Gadbois said he's getting positive feedback on the company's homes.
Some people are waiting for a financial assistance program through the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau to build the homes, he said, but that won't be available until 2021.
He said the Kativik Regional Government is also looking at his housing models, but no deals have been made yet.
"I'd love for the government go to forward with that, even Labrador or Nunavut, or N.W.T. if they look at our models. I'm open and ready to build houses for anyone in the North," he said.