It may not seem like important news, but new-home buyers might want to take note of Great Gulf’s recent registration of its H+ME Technology with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Why? It means the home builder’s manufacturing processes – notably prefabricating floor, wall and roof assemblies as integrated panels in a controlled, indoor plant environment – are verified by an independent third party. And that could mean higher quality homes.
NextHome spoke with Tad Putyra, president and COO of Great Gulf, and president of H+ME Technology, to understand just how significant an achievement this is, and what it means for homebuyers.
NextHome: For Great Gulf, how significant an achievement is H+ME Technology being registered with the CSA?
Tad Putyra: CSA certification is an important milestone in our pursuit of constant improvement of product and process. Through verification by a third party, our quality assurance program becomes more credible.
NH: What does it mean for homebuyers?
TP: For years, Canadians recognized the CSA label as a synonym for safety and quality – homes have always been equipped with electrical, mechanical and plumbing products (to name a few) that are labeled by CSA. Now, the actual structure of the home is also subject to the same rigorous system, satisfying homeowners’ expectations of quality.
NH: What products or benefits from H+ME show up in lowrise homes, versus mid or highrise?
TP: H+ME Technology has engineered and manufactured many multi-storey condominium projects. The quality expectations for these kinds of buildings are extremely demanding and require collaboration with a number of specialized engineering consultants which are typically not required in the lowrise context. The experience of working on such projects allows us to implement elements of these higher standards to lowrise construction as well for an ultimately higher quality product.
NH: Are the benefits more about quality and durability, or energy efficiency?
TP: The entire home performs better when the structure is manufactured according to clearly defined specifications. Our buildings are manufactured by CNC (computer numerical control) equipment which needs to be fed perfect 3D instructions. This creates an all-round better product because, for example, a house which is perfectly level and square will create a better platform for finishings such as tile, cabinetry, windows, doors and trim. In addition, houses manufactured on our computerized equipment have a perfectly fitted exterior envelope which makes them more energy efficient.
NH: How does Great Gulf market these construction qualities? Are they something the company actively mentions and ‘sells’ to prospective buyers?
TP: The value of houses manufactured and assembled by H+ME Technology is extensively explained through educational videos and literature handouts in our sales offices, and all of our customers are given a virtual tour of our manufacturing process. We also have a strong presence on social media through our own channels and via third parties.
NH: If homeowners were not aware of these technologies and methods in your home building, how much would they notice?
TP: CSA certification allows us to provide home structures with labels which are specific to a particular house providing information which can be relevant not just to the original homeowner, but also for future resale, as well. Structures by H+ME Technology deliver a perfect platform for the finishing materials.
NH: What other leading-edge building technologies does Great Gulf include in its homes?
TP: All Great Gulf homes are protected with a weather resistant barrier in the form of a synthetic material or exterior panel with an integral membrane. This prevents rain penetrating the wall assembly. The footings of our homes are covered with a synthetic barrier resisting upward migration of moisture into the foundation. Control of moisture in our houses is part of our focus on interior climate control to enhance comfort and produce a “healthy living” home.
NH: What’s next? What other advances might be coming down the pipe?
TP: The next challenge from the structural point of view is to have houses weather proofed within days during construction, rather than weeks. With regards to the overall performance of the house, we are concentrating on implementing the principles of the Active House concept: Comfort, environment and energy. We want our houses to be designed to provide a healthy lifestyle, so elements such as indoor climate and daylight supply (which can impact circadian rhythms) are critical to our health and the future design of our homes.