Local Labour and Materials - Frontiers Foundation Manitoba



Local Labour and Materials - Frontiers Foundation Manitoba
Local Labour and Materials; Why It Makes
Sense to Use Resources in Your
Backyard for Community Housing
Bradley Henry
Regional Initiatives Coordinator
First Nations Forestry Program
Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa
Aboriginal Housing In Crisis
• Crisis caused by:
Expanding population;
Improper maintenance;
Poor construction techniques ; and
Inappropriate building models.
• Impact of these factors:
 Crowding;
 Degradation of housing stock; and
 Annual deficit in the number of units constructed.
Aboriginal Housing In Crisis
Improving Housing
Is in the collective interest because:
• Improvements in housing translate into improved
outcomes in training, education, health and justice.
Improving housing has been identified as the key to
improve life in the communities.
 Analysis Community Well Being Index
Skill sets required for housing can be applied to other
 Public infrastructure;
 Tourism.
Housing Links
Improving Housing
This is not a new issue!
This is a contentious issue!
Numerous approaches have been attempted.
Improvement (change) will require flexibility and
creativity from all parties.
 Communities are so diverse that no single
approach will be adequate.
 Instead a suite of approaches will be required.
Improving Housing
 One approach is the concept of utilizing local
labour and local materials to manufacture locally
appropriate housing.
 Inherent within the local labour component of this
approach is:
 The mandatory participation by the future
occupants in the construction of their home; and
Recognized accreditation earned, and bestowed
upon the individuals participating in the
Local Labour, Local Materials
 This is not a new approach.
 Frontiers Foundation and Habitat for Humanity
have been successfully building homes with this
approach for decades.
 INAC and CMHC have studied individual
components of this approach through pilot
projects and programming.
Local Labour, Local Materials
Why It Makes Sense?
1. Proximity to Natural Resources
 Access to resources for the purposes of
constructing shelter is included as a treaty right
in the numbered treaties.
 Smaller dimensional material can be
incorporated into other building techniques like
stackwall housing, post and beam, etc.
 Other materials, such as straw bales can also be
utilized in home construction.
Local Labour, Local Materials
Why It Makes Sense?
2. Promote Economic Development
 Under the standard model of contractor led
housing that utilize no local materials and some
local labour, communities retain 1/3 of the
 Housing programs that utilize local materials and
enhanced involvement of their membership
retain up to 2/3 of the investment.
 This translates into employment for members.
Housing Links
 Aboriginal people have a history of adding value
to natural resources.
 Harvesting and milling leave materials that could
be utilized for value-added.
US $ 1,640
Local Labour, Local Materials
Why It Makes Sense?
3. Enhanced Durability
 A housing program that utilizes local labour and
local materials would extend the lifespan of
housing by:
1. Providing an opportunity for the occupants to
make a sweat equity contribution towards the
construction of their own homes.
2. Increasing the accountability of the labour used
in the construction process.
3. Control/Improved quality of materials going into
the home.
Local Labour, Local Materials
Challenges to the Approach:
Challenges include the following:
 Development of specialized skill sets.
 Can be accomplished with qualified training.
• Project administrative capacity.
• Experienced construction manager.
 Compliance with National Building Code.
• Wood structures have been recognized by the
building code.
Local Labour, Local Materials
Challenges to the Approach:
Changing the current mindset of all parties
From the government side:
 Communities attempting this will encounter the
“been there, done that” response.
 The local labour, local materials approach has
been tried on numerous occasions.
The issue is that these attempts have been piece
To be successful, every base has to be covered.
 Access to appropriate materials, training,
capital, business development, planning, time.
Local Labour, Local Materials
Challenges to the Approach:
Changing the current mindset of all parties
From the Community Side:
 Ongoing commitment/investment from communities.
 A well articulated housing policy.
 promotes home ownership
 encourages contributions from the home owners; and
 separates day to day operations from politics.
 The concept of “free housing” needs to be discarded in its
 Home owners/occupants must make a meaningful
contribution (financial, sweat equity, etc.) towards the
construction of their home.
Questions or Comments
[email protected]

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