In an attempt to counter the pressing housing crisis, the federal government of Canada has revisited the pages of history. The decision to resurrect a post-war strategy, one that witnessed a surge in nationwide housing construction, was recently announced by Housing Minister Sean Fraser. The modern twist? A catalogue of pre-approved home designs to expedite the home-building process for developers.
Back in the aftermath of the Second World War, similar circumstances loomed over Canada. Thousands of returning soldiers, coupled with pressing housing demands, ignited a rapid housing construction initiative. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. was tasked with developing uncomplicated blueprints to accelerate house construction. The resultant ‘Strawberry Box’ houses, modest yet functional, are still peppered across Canadian neighbourhoods.
Fast forward to the present, the housing minister has confirmed the return of a similar blueprint catalogue. However, the emphasis this time will be on low-rise constructions that include student housing, small multiplexes, and seniors’ residences. Insights from ultra-modern architecture will integrate with lessons learned from the history books. The focus eventually will expand to include higher-density construction catalogues.
But why a blueprint catalogue? The answer is quite simple. It accelerates projects, promotes factory-based construction, and ensures housing builds can be expedited for approval by the CMHC and other agencies. Research estimates suggest that this strategy could shave off up to a year from the construction timeline of a project.
Drawing on the principles of the national building code, the catalogue is expected to be launched sometime next year. In addition, the government is considering updates to the national building code, previously enforceable only if adopted by a province or territory.
Experts in the field are intrigued by this initiative. The co-author of a report known as the National Housing Accord, Mike Moffatt, believes this could be a transformative maneuver. Not only does a pre-approved blueprint catalogue expedite construction, but it also enhances productivity, a crucial aspect considering the rising demand for skilled labor.
Despite the housing crisis being one of the pressing issues affecting Canadian society today, it seems the government and other stakeholders are striving hard to find innovative and effective solutions. The blueprint catalogue, a nostalgic nod to Canada’s post-war resilience, may offer the much-needed silver lining in addressing the housing crunch.
These upcoming historical-blueprint-inspired houses might just redefine the landscape of Canadian real estate. Pioneering a new era of home construction, the revival of the housing design catalogue seeks to transform the housing crisis into a home-construction revolution. Could ‘Strawberry Box’ homes be a part of your future? Stay tuned to the changing realm of real estate!