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Foldable homes could provide relief from Central Okanagan housing crisis

‘At the end of the day our job is to make construction easier for the customer’
Workers set up a Rohe Homes Lotus Mini unit on site. (Rohe Homes video)

A Vancouver company is betting their foldable homes will be one solution that may help lessen B.C.’s housing crunch.

Rohe Homes can build and deliver a home to nearly anywhere in the province within weeks.

“It’s generally about eight to 10 weeks to get a home ready to go,” says Salik Kahn, chief experience officer.

Remote locations, timing of inspections and permits, and availability of tradespeople may delay that process, he adds.

Rohe Homes currently has three foldable, modular home models under its Lotus Series.

A 530-square foot one-bedroom, one-bath, a 650 sq. ft. two-bed, one-bath and a 1,050 sq. ft. three-bedroom, two-bath.

All units are built to 60-70 per cent completion and are then folded, loaded onto a semi-truck and shipped to the buyer’s location.

“It’s an innovation that allows us to save on transport costs, save time on site, and at the end of the day our job is to make construction easier for the customer,” Kahn says.

Prices range from $199,500 to $349,000, including appliances, with site assessment, connections to water, sewer and utilities costing extra.

There is also a DIY version of each home, built to a roughed-in stage, that saves the buyer approximately 15 per cent.

Kahn adds their products appeal to many different types of property owners.

“That are looking for short or long-term rental income or a space for family members. We’re seeing it as a means to provide housing supply very quickly.”

One of the company’s success stories involves a Sechelt couple.

“Sechelt has a less than 0.5 per cent vacancy rate,” Kahn says. “They had five acres of land and they were able to build a couple of dwellings for the community.”

Rohe Homes are also working with First Nations in Campbell River to build homes, and, in September will deliver a unit to a property owner near Vernon who lost their home in the 2021 White Rock Lake wildfire.

Kahn says they have also reached out to several municipalities, including the City of Kelowna, to gauge interest in their product.

“We had a conversation and they thought it was positive, that this could be something that can help support housing efforts.”

The challenges are increasing development costs and the shift to infill housing (fourplexes), Kahn adds.

“We’re trying to analyze whether we want to use this product as a carriage home or refine the product and look at fourplexes.”

More information can be found on the Rohe Homes website.

READ MORE: Increasing infill housing priority for City of Kelowna

READ MORE: Providing affordable housing continues to be pressing issue for Kelowna council


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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