Building in a Controlled Environment
Walk into our 200,000-sq-ft plant in Toronto and the first thing you notice is the air. Close your eyes and the fresh-cut odour of lumber gives the impression that you’ve entered the world’s largest woodworking shop. ask a nurse . But to opened eyes, this facility is the humidity-controlled home to state-of-the-art robotic machinery that assembles precision-paneled homes of the future, today.
And there’s a good reason for that good air.
“For us, quality is number one,” says Nick Zicaro, business development manager at H+ME Technology. “And we’ve found that the most effective way to ensure quality of your home is to physically construct it in a controlled environment.”
It’s all about preserving the high quality and integrity of materials during primary assembly – chiefly in clean, dry air. What’s the conventional alternative? Consider the challenges inherent in a building fully constructed on site, where all the required materials are delivered to the lot and then invariably exposed to the elements for an unspecified time.
“It’s not that (conventional) houses aren’t structurally sound, or that the workmanship is not of a high level – although gluing and assembling in these conditions can potentially involve a degree of human error,” says Zicaro. “Simply put, the performance of the finish will be impacted when the materials are outdoors for a period of time, and then fully assembled.”
What’s the potential impact? The elements, notably humidity, can change the integrity and properties of even the best wood. That when problems start.
“When you buy a brand new house, things shouldn’t be separating, they should be level, straight and square,” says Zicaro. “When you lay hardwood or ceramic and see it move away from the wall at an angle, that simply shouldn’t occur in a brand new house.”
And savvy consumers are taking note. In the past, people typically assessed only as much as they could see – say, an impeccable kitchen with a stylish ceramic finish and a beautiful backsplash. But homebuyers increasingly appreciate that it’s the quality of the structure behind them that ensures the longevity and performance of those luxurious finishes.
That goal of a flawless product (high quality, straightness and squareness) is the primary focus at H+ME Technology – one that the controlled environment effectively ensures.
From the beginning, when we receive the best quality product possible, we check for defects and moisture – a luxury that’s not an option in the field on a conventional build. (Of course there are checks in the system after any home build, but it is difficult to determine such things as the method of gluing, or the type of nail used, in the inspection process.)
“In a H+ME Technology home, every piece of lumber and every fastener is exactly how it was intended to be from the architect and engineer, for a complete system and proper structure,” says Zicaro. “A home constructed in our environment as per the architectural and structural integrity of the drawings: Every nail’s where every nail’s supposed to be. That’s what we call peace of mind for the homeowner.”