Innovative technology a game changer
By Vicki Griffiths
Imagine building a house as easily as you connect Lego pieces. Granted, the pieces are much larger, but Quebec company BONE Structure has made building a snap with its innovative steel construction technology. And that’s just part of the beauty of BONE Structure; its houses can be designed to fit on any lot, can be reconfigured and readapted to fit homeowners’ changing needs, and are highly energy efficient.
BONE Structure was founded in 2005 by Marc A. Bovet, who had worked in upper management at aerospace and transportation manufacturer Bombardier. While having his own house built, he found conventional building methods lacking. He figured there was a better way to build and recruited engineers, architects, industrial designers and interior designers to develop the BONE Structure system, which combines the advantage of post and beam building system with superior energy efficiency.
Similar to the technology used to make parts for cars and airplanes, the 11-gauge steel components are designed using 3D software and laser cut with surgical precision. The homes don’t have any interior load-bearing walls, so each home offers great design freedom. The high-performance integrated design thermal building envelope is an excellent integrator when building Net Zero Ready or Net Zero homes and the houses can easily achieve LEED or PassivHaus certifications.
While there are examples of BONE Structure’s work in Ontario (the company also has buildings all across Canada and in California), most have been one-off custom home projects. Now that Fourteen Estates, an award-winning Pickering builder best known for luxury custom homes, is moving into the production home realm with its Eden Park development in Newtonville, it recruited BONE Structure as its building partner. The 28 luxury contemporary homes on three-quarter-acre lots at Eden Park will be a hybrid between custom and production homes. With BONE Structure providing the production work, the homes will be completed in a much shorter time frame than with conventional home building methods. Fourteen Estates will put the finishing on the homes with its signature craftsmanship and attention to detail.
“This is likely the first modern-design and high-performance subdivision of its kind in Ontario,” said Bovet. “The homes will have large open spaces, will be very energy efficient, thanks to our high-performance building envelope and patented steel structure construction system.”
The Eden Park homes will be Net Zero Ready, potentially saving homeowners up to 90 per cent in energy costs and with the addition of solar panels and can become fully Net Zero (producing as much energy as they produce). The steel system makes it easy to reconfigure the homes to adapt with homeowners’ changing needs, including adding more rooms, removing or moving walls, or modifying a floorplan.
The system has benefits for builders, too, who want to stay within budget. The integrated design, production and construction approach takes the guesswork out of what costs will be and each component of a BONE Structure house, down to the number of screws, is itemized. Construction is not complicated and there is no cutting, piercing or welding required. The technology is patented in 42 countries and Bovet wanted to develop a system that could be used in almost any country around the globe and could be assembled even by workers without in-depth construction knowledge.
With a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly building, BONE Structure is ahead of that curve, too. It uses non-toxic building materials to ensure indoor air quality, it’s just-in-time delivery system results in minimal waste on job sites and the steel frames are fully recyclable. Is steel the new wood? It just might be.
Vicki Griffiths is the co-founder and director of Vicbar Marketing.