“Our House”, June 3, 2016

Let’s leave the topic of my kitchen renovations for a while – partly because nothing much has changed from my last post (still lots to do, though, so I’ll come back to it if you are willing!), a partly because there is a topic I have been itching to get at for the past, well, it’s been a heck of a long time!

We envisioned building a home with Habitat for Humanity about 3 years ago, to involve students in a real-life build and to be able to give something back to the community. While we thought it would be an easy thing to, issue after issue has cropped up after resolving the previous problem, and it’s felt like we’ve been spinning our wheels for quite a while.

Here is a brief summary:

Firstly, there was the issue of creating a partnership with Habitat. The thing about a partnership is that all partners have a voice in the project, so it took us a while to be able to articulate what each of us needed and wanted and a while more to be able to hear each other. Relationships are complicated!

Secondly, there was the design….getting to the point where there was something acceptable in the right price range to all parties was time consuming…..see first issue!

Thirdly, there was the CCQ and the laws governing construction in Quebec….turns out there was no way we would be able to construct on the site chosen, so the house would have to be built in modules and shipped to the lot….see issues one and two!

Thirdly, there were discussions with the municipality of Ormstown who had agreed to donate the lot….problems included a lack of services and the typical delays with the building permit….see issues one, two and three!

Then there was the design: we wanted to be able to get some sort of LEED certification for this building, so design had to meet all the parameters of the partners…..see all the previous issues!

Here is a shot of the gang at work figuring out the process of building the 4 modules that will make up the semi detached homes (weighing approximately 50,000 pounds each):


The good news? It is possible and you will be intimately involved. That’ll be something to put on your C.V.!!

In the end, the process has been long and drawn out, but we are making progress. Our time line: build this summer and fall and deliver the houses at the end of October with a move-in date for the selected families July 2017.

The plans are virtually finished, the partners are all on board, the sponsors are being lined up, the LEED certification process is soon to be underway, Ormstown and Habitat are onside. Our goal is to have every student in the centre participate in the build to some degree. How will this happen? Stay tuned and find out.

I’m looking forward to it; I hope you are too!


About jhcarpentry

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry Program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) for the New Frontiers School board. This blog is a way for me to connect with my students.
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4 Responses to “Our House”, June 3, 2016

  1. Jake says:

    Cool. Will our group be part of this? And will the houses be hexagonal? We’re best at hexagons.

    • jhcarpentry says:

      ALL students will be a part of it to some degree. How we administrate this remains to be seen exactly, but you will participate. Best way to participate more? Get all the class work done to the level expected by your teacher…..

      As far as hexagons go, I am sorry to say that there will not be any hexagons….only in your mind….

  2. Zsolt says:

    Any plans to build on weekends? Can a former graduate participate?

    • jhcarpentry says:

      There will be opportunities for volunteers to help with the build. I am not certain if this will happen at the Centre or only once the house is delivered. There will be a lot of finishing to do before the move in date for the families.

      I’ll keep you posted on development on the blog. Whatever happens, it would be great to see a bunch of former students on the build!

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