Days before Santa flew his sleigh over East Lynn Avenue, residents saw an even larger load sail above their chimney tops.
On Dec. 19, crane operators hoisted a pre-built house over hydro lines and onto a foundation at the south end of the street.
“I have to admit we never thought about doing anything in the city until Rebecca came along,” said architect Graham Smith, referring to the new home’s owner.
A principal at Altius Architecture Inc., Smith said his firm is normally asked to deliver pre-built homes to islands and other remote areas in the cottage country north of Toronto, where it is extra costly to build on site.
“But this was perfect,” he said. “We looked up the street, and this home is as big as the next door neighbour’s house. So there’s a possibility we’ll be doing more.”
Built in two modules inside a factory in Parry Sound, the two-storey home was delivered with all its plumbing, wiring, and interior finishes complete.
Smith said construction takes five or six weeks in the factory as opposed to several months on site, adding that quality control is much easier to manage.
As for cost, Smith said building in a factory brings the price of a small home down to about $200 per square foot with a complete kitchen, bathrooms and finishes.
Developers of tract housing can achieve roughly the same price by building many homes in a row, he said, but builders struggle to get a unique, site-built home finished for less than $250 per square foot.
With the East Lynn home in place, Smith said all that remains is some exterior work, like building a deck and a carport, as well as connecting the home for hydro and gas. The owner is expected to move in by the end of the month.
“From the time we bring the house on site to the time that she’s in it is less than a month, and if it wasn’t for the Christmas holidays, we could have compressed it down to a couple of weeks,” said Smith.