New Home + Condo Guide spoke with Roy Nandram, president and project manager at RND Construction and the newly elected president of the Greater Ottawa Home Builder’s Association. Here’s what he has to say about his role as president of the GOHBA and the Ottawa new-home market.
New Home + Condo Guide: Congratulations on your position as the new president of the GOHBA. Can you tell us two of your major goals for the GOHBA?
Roy Nandram: The first thing I’d like to do is have the Association help members offer innovative services and products, especially in energy efficiency. Secondly, I’d like to expand the Association’s membership by highlighting member benefits and the increasing value of membership, especially in participation.
NHCG: For people looking for an industry professional to either build their new home or renovate or extend an existing one, how does it benefit them to consider hiring a member of GOHBA?
RN: There are two great reasons why it’s a good idea to hire a member of GOHBA. Our members commit to a Code of Ethics, which includes having all the appropriate liability coverage, as well as dealing with customers honestly and fairly. As well, a GOHBA membership reflects a company or individual’s commitment to professional development and dedication to improving the industry, as well as ensuring that Ottawa residents are the best-housed people in the country.
NHCG: We hear a lot about the ‘missing middle’ when it comes to home ownership and affordability. What does this mean and how does it affect homebuyers?
RN: The missing middle is ground-oriented, low-rise housing that still has high-density. This means building types such as semis, townhomes, stacked and back-to-back, triplexes, four-plexes and apartments up to four storeys high. This type of housing is highly desired by families because it’s still affordable, provides the kind of lifestyle they want, but achieves the kind of density that supports complete, walkable communities.
NHCG: When it comes to being able to afford a single-family or detached home, some people just miss the mark. A mortgage helper like a basement apartment to be rented out can make all the difference. Can you discuss the concept of a flexible design plan?
RN: Flexible designs mean that a house can easily serve more than one purpose. For example, at some point it may be occupied by a single family, say with kids, and later on when the kids move out, the homeowner can have a basement apartment or a multi-family home with some simple modifications. We are also seeing an increase in flexible home design for those staying in their home as they get older, where the house can be adapted to better support their needs.
NHCG: The environment is a great concern for many people. How available are Net Zero energy-efficient homes and what should homeowners look for when trying to make their new home more ‘green.’
RN: Net Zero homes are available now, however, the issue is that they are not mass-market enough yet, meaning there is a price premium for their high level of performance. But as the knowledge of how to build a NZ home becomes more widespread and the specialized products within that home become more common, the price difference will become less and less.
We have larger production builders who are working on offering Net Zero homes on that mass scale. By reducing the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool a house, a builder can make it more green for homeowners. To do this, the design and the building envelope are the most critical parts.