Fresh IDEA

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - MARTY HOPE

Their dad is a vet­eran in the house build­ing wars, so Kurt and Kris Good­john had a rock-solid base when it came time to strike out on their own. But while the young broth­ers fol­lowed in their fa­ther’s ca­reer foot­steps, they got side­tracked along the way, tak­ing a lit­tle-used path to non­tra­di­tional res­i­den­tial constructi­on.

What the 27-year-old Kurt and his 30-yearold brother Kris are in­volved in goes by many outdated monikers: pre­fab, mod­u­lar, or ready-to­move (RTM) hous­ing — or th­ese days, sys­tems built hous­ing.

As part­ners in Karoleena Custom Homes, the broth­ers’ first ven­ture into this 21st-cen­tury tech­nol­ogy is on view at the cor­ner of 15th Street and 34th Av­enue S.W. in the in­ner-city com­mu­nity of Marda Loop.

The Gray­cie is a stylish, mod­ern three-storey con­do­minium de­signed by the Good­johns and man­u­fac­tured by Con­quest Man­u­fac­tur­ing Ltd. in Al­tona, Man.

Six trucks, each with a sin­gle piece of the multi-fam­ily jig­saw strapped to its bed, drove 14 hours from the plant to Cal­gary — and then in about half the time, the struc­ture was un­loaded and in place.

Presto. While neigh­bours watched, suites in the build­ing were low­ered in place to­tally fin­ished on the in­side with hard­wood floors, triple-pane win­dows, ce­ramic tile, fire­place and ap­pli­ances. All that re­mained was hook­ing up the pre-wired suites to the main box, lay­ing on the ex­te­rior cladding and the start of sales.

“Feed­back on the project has been 100-per-cent pos­i­tive,” says Kurt, the en­gi­neer in the fam­ily.

“Com­pared to other prop­er­ties in the same pri­ce­point, peo­ple have said The Gray­cie of­fers much greater value.”

In­clud­ing geo­ther­mal tech­nol­ogy, home au­to­ma­tion sys­tems, quartz coun­ter­tops, high-end ap­pli­ances and a long list of up­scale fin­ish­ings, fur­nish­ings and com­po­nents, prices for the 1, 400-square-foot, two-bed­room/two-bath res­i­dences range from $515,000 to $540,000.

Sure, the broth­ers had a good ground­ing in the busi­ness of build­ing homes — fur­ther en­hanced through Kurt’s en­gi­neer­ing back­ground and Kris’s ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign school­ing — but they wanted to try some­thing new with hous­ing.

“I sup­pose we are rel­a­tively young for the build­ing in­dus­try and I be­lieve the fact we are young en­sured we weren’t so stuck in our ways that we were un­able to rec­og­nize the sheer po­ten­tial of build­ing homes a bet­ter way,” says Kurt.

“We wanted to do some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent from every­one else and also wanted to work to­ward build­ing fully-sus­tain­able homes.”

The build­ing’s six mod­ules were put to­gether us­ing Karoleena’s de­signs and en­gi­neer­ing re­quire­ments.

The 4,280-square­foot struc­ture was built us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of steel and wood.

The mod­ules each have a high En­erGuide rat­ing and use en­ergy-sav­ing fix­tures and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­ucts.

Ex­te­rior walls are built 16 inches on cen­tre and in­te­rior walls 24 inches on cen­tre.

Walls have an in­su­la­tion value of R22, while the ceil­ing is R56. All win­dows are triple-paned.

Built in just 45 days in an en­vi­ron­men­tally-con­trolled cen­tre where ma­te­ri­als are never ex­posed to the el­e­ments, the town­houses were built to ex­act­ing stan­dards us­ing laser tech­nol­ogy that kept waste to a min­i­mum.

Kurt says the con­cept of sys­tems-built constructi­on was some­thing he and Kris found in­ter­est­ing af­ter see­ing the tech­nol­ogy out­lined in a U.S. mag­a­zine.

What ini­tially caught their at­ten­tion was the mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture and “how it all came to­gether,” he says.

The Good­johns be­lieve this is the first sys­tems-built project to find a home in Cal­gary — pos­si­bly in Al­berta — adding it won’t be the last by a long shot.

With The Gray­cie half sold and the re­main­ing town­houses avail­able for im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy, the Good­johns are off and run­ning with their next project

A pair of triplexes in Erl­ton that have al­ready re­ceived city ap­proval will have sim­i­lar fin­ish­ings as the Marda Loop build­ing, but with res­i­dences rang­ing from 1,500 to 2,100 square feet on three floors.

Also on the books is a semide­tached project in Capi­tol Hill, a pair of de­tached homes back­ing onto Con­fed­er­a­tion Park and a sin­gle-de­tached home in Ram­say.

Kris Good­john says the com­pany hopes to reach a point where it can build 50 homes a year.

“In liv­ing with this tech­nol­ogy, we have come to quickly ap­pre­ci­ate not only the de­sired en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­van­tages and our goal of pro­duc­ing as much en­ergy as the build­ing con­sumes, but how read­ily adapt­able the sys­tem is to cus­tomiza­tion and de­sign in­flu­ences of the cus­tomer — and we are able to com­plete the homes in half the time of con­ven­tional constructi­on,” he says.

While The Gray­cie is a model of mod­ern de­sign, Kris says all the up­com­ing projects are mix­tures of mod­ern and tra­di­tional.

“We can truly build any style of home with our process and that holds true for multi-fam­ily or sin­gle-fam­ily,” he says.

Karoleena of­fers a sta­ble of pre-de­signed homes, or it can work with clients to come up with a custom de­sign com­plete with ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings and en­gi­neer­ing plans.

“Is sys­tems-built hous­ing a look into the fu­ture of home­build­ing? I sure hope so,” says Kurt.

“I guess the fu­ture of the in­dus­try is in the hands of our gen­er­a­tion and com­pa­nies like Karoleena. We whole­heart­edly be­lieve in our process.”

Gavin Young, Cal­gary Her­ald

From left, Kris and Kurt Good­john with their ‘sys­tems-built’ project, The Gray­cie.

Cour­tesy, Karoleena Custom Homes

A crane lifts part of the Gray­cie condo de­vel­op­ment into place.

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