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Y Dream Home lands in Westsyde

Trades training project officially gets underway
By Mike Youds
August 6, 2015 1:53 P.M.
From left, instructor Tim Kasten, student Margaret Andrews, project manager Shaun Toplak and Coun. Donovan Cavers join in ceremonial cutting of the first stud on the CHBA/TRU training house in Westsyde.

Partners have kicked off the annual Canadian Home Builders’ training house, a milestone for the Y Dream Home lottery and for Westsyde.

The residential construction project at the corner of Hayward Place and Bank Road had its official start Thursday, though TRU students are already making progress on the foundation.

As the partners, including TRU Trades and Technology, gathered round, a student was given the honour of sawing the first two-by-four stud, a ceremonial start that substitutes for a ribbon-cutting.

Matt McCurrach, president of CHBA Central Interior, said he was glad to see the co-operative training project at that location, a neighbourhood with a mix of new infill and established streets.

“I’m pleased to finally bring the training house out to Westsyde,” he said. “In the last few years we’ve tried to move the house around the city. It’s great to showcase the neighbourhood and they’re a big part of the house.”

The kickoff is intended not only to recognize the students and sponsors, but to also give the year-long project heightened profile. As the coveted prize that drives the Y’s Dream Home lottery, the house literally gets built from the ground up using innovative materials and the labour of building, electrical and plumbing students.

“It’s not just a house. It’s a lifestyle for a year,” McCurrach said, directing his words to project co-manager Shaun Toplak of Absolute Homes. He shares the role with Ron Wrabel of Wrabel Brothers Construction.

“You live, breathe and cry with it for a year.”

Toplak said the students benefit from a hands-on experience that many workers in the construction field don’t get.

“That’s the biggest part about the project,” he said. “Day-to-day teaching typically doesn’t happen in our industry. Guys are just thrown into learning on construction sites and never get to learn the way they need to.”

“Close to 50 students will get hands-on training because of the house,” said trades instructor Tim Kasten, a builder before he turned to teaching.

Methods and materials in construction are constantly evolving, giving students a cutting-edge advantage as they prepare to enter the industry.

“There’s going to be a lot of innovation,” Kasten noted.

The insulated concrete forms used for the foundation are not brand-new to the industry, but offer greater insulation and long-term energy efficiency so that the additional cost eventually pays off.

Toplak said the 3,500 sq. ft. house will have a contemporary feel but is designed to fit within the neighbourhood. It won’t feature the ultra-modern designs of earlier training homes in Juniper Ridge and Dufferin. The home will feature a suspended slab under its attached garage, creating an acoustically insulated space ideal for a media room or home theatre. Much of the innovation will come with interior installations, including what’s known as a Control4 remote control system that works through a cellphone.

“You could be on holiday, coming back from the Coquihalla, and turn on the heat. You can open and close the blinds from anywhere in the world.”

Darcy Harris of the Kamloops Y said the funds raised through the training house/Dream Home partnership support programming for young people. This is the 20th year of the Y's involvement with the training house project, now in its 26th year.

“If we didn’t have the Dream Home, we wouldn’t be able to provide many of the programs we have in the community,” Harris said.

The house is scheduled for completion next April.

The CHBA chapter will track progress of construction for followers on Twitter and Facebook.

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