By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News staff writer
EllisDon is building a state-of-the-art plant in Stoney Creek to produce building blocks that can be stacked together on a construction site.
Hotel units, affordable housing, student residence rooms and office floors will be assembled at the Hamilton-area plant when production ramps up late next year at EllisDon’s ED Modular.
The completed building units— including sections of a warehouse or dozens of bathrooms with installed fixtures and plumbing — will then be delivered to construction sites, lifted into place by crane and fastened down.
It is anticipated that initially 200 jobs will be created at the 300,000-sq. ft. plant on South Service Road between Fruitland and Fifty roads and the plant could be doubled as the modular sector grows.
Xavier Toby, director of prefabrication and technical sales for ED Modular told the Hamilton Spectator that the company “likes the idea of being in Hamilton because there are a lot of skilled trades people who are eager to do something new.”
According to the newspaper article included on the EllisDon website, robotics and custom welding equipment is being installed from partner Z Modular, owned by Zekelman Industries, a global leader in steel pipes. At Zekelman’s Harrow, Ont., plant near Windsor, sheet metal is turned into hollow tubes for international clients that will shortly include EllisDon’s Hamilton factory.
“Steel made in Hamilton will go down the road to Harrow and then comes back full circle to our plant in Hamilton,” Toby said in the Spectator.
ED Modular, the company’s first owned and operated division focused on modular construction, was established last March.
Toby says modular has been considered “a boutique solution” useful in remote sites such as the Arctic, where skilled trades are in in low supply or in situations with tight timelines, but his goal is to “bring the method to the mainstream.”
“Modular buildings currently represent less than two per cent of all construction,” he said, adding that conventional construction is the major competitor.