Canadians aren’t getting any younger. When the 2016 census figures were released by Stats Canada, Canadian seniors outnumbered children for the first time. The expectation is that this is not a one-off occurrence, but rather a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.
As the number of Canadians in the over-65 demographic increases, a troubling trend is emerging in housing. If the growth patterns continue, Canada will need 131,000 additional spaces for seniors by 2026, growing to 240,000 spaces by 2046. This will put pressure on the public and private sectors to make policy and investment decisions that will create the required spaces. Making the situation more difficult is the exponential increase in housing prices (both for purchase and rent) in many areas of the country.
While increases in cost of living affect several groups, including students and lower wage earners, seniors are in a unique position. Younger people can bear a reality of couch-surfing or co-habiting with several roommates knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel as their earnings increase. Seniors, however, find themselves on the other end of the financial spectrum. Their best earning years are in the past, and many are no longer working in any capacity, meaning a fixed income through pensions and savings that is unlikely to grow by any significant amount.
Planning for housing solutions that fit seniors’ needs for both affordability and livability is a first step in avoiding a future crisis. Finding a way to match or exceed the growing demand for supply is perhaps even more critical. Currently, the rate of growth of Canadians reaching senior age (65 years old) is triple the rate of growth in the supply of senior living spaces.
Modular construction as a solution
Rapid response to a need for permanent living spaces is where modular construction excels. Rather than waiting a year or more for a desperately needed facility to be built through conventional methods, a modular structure can be constructed, installed, and opened to residents up to 50 per cent faster, with no reduction in quality. With the growth of the senior population booming beyond the supply of housing, the time savings that can be achieved with modular construction present an ideal opportunity to bridge that gap.
One of the areas where Horizon North modular construction creates separation from our competitors is in the flexibility of our structures, which fit both permanent and temporary uses. For modular senior housing, permanent solutions that address the unique living requirements and desire of those 65 and over to age in place for as long as possible are perhaps most applicable. Those permanent solutions can include retirement homes or assisted living spaces which seamlessly integrate into surrounding communities and create lasting peace of mind for residents.
How modular construction works
Modular construction is a growing industry in North America, where it remains relatively new, but it has been common in Europe for the last several decades. So how does it work?
In modular construction, sections of a building (modules) are manufactured off-site in a temperature-controlled facility. Those modules are then transported to their final site, set on the foundation footprint by crane, and joined together to make one integrated building. Once the modules are assembled on-site and the integration is complete, the structure is virtually indistinguishable from those built by traditional construction methods.
In addition to the timeframe reduction that makes it a perfect fit for rapid response needs, modular construction brings with it other inherent improvements over site-built construction methods:
- Superior quality – Modular projects are subject to stringent internal quality assurance / quality control processes, which are then confirmed by on-site third-party inspectors.
- Cost certainty – Costs remain on track as time delays due to weather, minimal trade availability, accident damage or theft are virtually eliminated.
- Sustainability – The lean modular construction process cuts down significantly on waste and improves efficiencies. On the final site, the construction footprint is greatly reduced as well, with less noise, dust and vehicle traffic occurring over a shorter period of time.
If you are considering a senior housing project, we would enjoy an opportunity to meet with you and talk about Horizon North’s full turn-key modular construction offering.