The Atikameksheng Anishnawbek project is a 4-unit housing complex located in Naughton, Ontario, designed with input from the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek community (formerly known as White Fish community). In addition to being non-toxic, mould-resistant and built with a fireproof structure, the units are also “universal”.
The 4-unit housing complex is sustainable, long-lasting, energy-efficient and built to withstand extreme weather conditions. But the goal was to also make the rental units versatile or “universal” so they could be home to people from all walks of life.
As such, they were designed to accommodate people in walkers, wheelchairs, parents with baby carriages and even small children. Doorways are wider, bathroom space is maximized, light switches are lower, outlets are higher and door levers replace doorknobs.
THIRD LINE HOMES
Third Line Homes is a HOLMES Approved Homes Builder leading the construction of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek project. Their experience with innovative building products, designs and diverse construction conditions was a perfect fit for the project and provided a solid background and foundation.
BUILDING BEYOND MINIMUM
First Nations housing is exempted from Building Code, therefore housing is not required to be built to any standard. But Third Line Homes has made a commitment to build the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek project to Ontario Building Code, which is the most stringent set of building standards in Canada, if not North America.
Over the next 2 years, data collected from sensors taking readings, primarily measuring humidity levels in the complex, will be used to improve building methods and standards for future projects.
Rather than having a traditional wood frame, Third Line Homes decided to build the structure of the units using DUROSOL Block in order to address many of the issues affecting First Nations housing, including fires, humidity and mould.
DUROSOL Block is not only fireproof but it also helps regulate humidity levels by absorbing moisture, which prevents mould in the home, and then releasing it as conditions dry.
LEGALETT’S FROST PROTECTED SHALLOW FOUNDATION (FPSF)
The location of the housing complex meant building on the Canadian Shield, which makes it extremely difficult to reach necessary depths for a traditional basement foundation. For this reason, Third Line Homes decided to build the foundation for the complex using Legalett’s Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF) system, with heaters integrated into the foundation to heat floors.
The design of the FPSF system allows foundation footings to be built above the traditional design frost depth. The foundation system is also insulated to prevent heat waste and to help conserve energy.
BUILDING HOMES, BUILDING SKILLS
In 2011, Mike Holmes launched the Building Homes, Building Skills program in association with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
The purpose of the program is to not only provide healthy housing for First Nations people but to also teach proper home construction and maintenance to address First Nations’ housing issues, such as humidity, mould and fire.
Mike believes that the missing link to solving these issues is teaching the First Nations how to do it, because when you do something yourself you have pride and you care. Combine that with the right construction, the right products and the right building materials and you have long-term healthy housing.
Atikameksheng Anishnawbek is the first pilot project initiated under the Building Homes, Building Skills program.
In association with the Naadmaadwiiuk organization and the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy program (ASETS), Third Line Homes is training candidates from the program in building healthy, sustainable and energy-efficient housing by having them help build the 4-unit complex.