Modular/Temporary Housing Guide

Relocatable Structures and Modular Construction for Worker Accommodation and Ancillary Uses

Producers who participate in the federal government's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and other streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have been adopting innovative solutions for achieving physical distancing among employees during their non-working hours.

One area that continues to figure prominently in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on-farm is housing for workers.

There are a variety of options available to producers looking to achieve greater physical distancing, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Reconfiguring existing housing and common areas, including through rearranging furniture and incorporating the use of partitions
  • Using scheduling to limit crowding in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • Buying or renting additional off-farm housing
  • New construction of additions to existing structures or additional structures (including by employing modular housing solutions as part of the construction process)
  • Buying or leasing relocatable structures, including recreational vehicles and trailers, to provide additional lodging, washroom, dining and/or laundry facilities on a semi-permanent or temporary basis

This document provides some general information about the last two options that may be useful for producers to consider when researching potential solutions. This information should be considered prior to making any contractual arrangements and should be incorporated into the planning process.

This document is intended as a reference only and does not constitute advice or recommendations from any level of government. Producers are strongly encouraged to do their own due diligence, talk with past users of these solutions for lessons learned and other tips, maintain an open dialogue with local officials (e.g., local building department, public health unit) and to retain professional advice where warranted.

As a summary, some key steps to build into any planning process include the following:

  • Working with municipal, county and/or regional officials on any necessary permits (e.g., building permits) or approvals (e.g., zoning, site plans, conservation protection)
    • This includes assessing the suitability of existing septic systems, where applicable
  • Working with utility providers to ensure that any structure can be connected to utilities such as hydro at an affordable cost
  • Planning for the servicing needs of any structure when occupied, such as sewage pump-outs, maintenance and cleaning
  • Liaising with the local public health unit to ensure that any structure will be suitable for the SAWP Housing Guidelines and for general COVID-19 prevention and control
  • Incorporating fire safety guidance into any design, including working with local fire officials

The Appendices to this document set out some simple checklists that can be incorporated into the planning process.

The document provides information as a resource only, and is not meant to be used as a comprehensive suite of advice from government. It should not be used as a substitute for obtaining advice from appropriate officials in your area.

Appendix A - General Types Of Facilities Available

A. Sample Facility Types (Temporary Trailers)

Temporary Facility Vendors (Modular Trailers)
  • Service providers can design/fabricate and install temporary facilities to suit client requirements. Units can typically be purchased or rented. It may be possible to find existing units that are available. They can also be fabricated new to meet client specifications.
  • The facilities are constructed based on modular trailer construction and are shipped to the site as a complete unit. Multi-unit facilities have final assembly on-site.
  • Design can generally be completed as part of fabrication (reducing design time).
  • In some cases, the vendor/service provider can assist in applying for building permits - existing specifications can help facilitate obtaining permits.
  • Modular trailer construction can be completed quickly and is a cost-effective solution.
  • Trailer units would be delivered to the site, complete with minor assembly of multiple units.
  • Transportation generally follows the standard 53' trailer road requirements.
  • May be able to rent units to minimize capital costs (depending on the arrangements with the service provider, a rental option may potentially include an option to purchase). Estimated rental pricing can vary.
  • Some important notes:
    • Site services are generally the owner's responsibility to coordinate prior to installation (e.g., hydro)
    • Most structures will require a deck and/or ramp to be built for access to the trailers (to meet Building Code requirements)
    • Units typically require the construction of a skirt to minimize access to the underside of the trailer unit
    • Washroom facilities are built as separate (dedicated purpose) trailer units, which are also available from service providers in a variety of configurations
Semi-permanent Facility Vendors (Modular Construction)
  • These vendors design/fabricate and install permanent facilities to suit client requirements.
  • The facilities are constructed based on modular construction and are shipped to the site in modular units for walls, floors, and roof. Final assembly is completed on-site.
  • Site works are not included and are the responsibility of the owner.
  • Structural load support will be required for modular units.
  • Transportation of modular units may require a Road User Agreement based on the size of units to be delivered if shipped complete.
  • May require site plan control based on the size of the facility.
  • Cost of modular units can be more than for temporary trailers.
  • These temporary facilities may be purchased and or rented. Note: Site services are the owner's responsibility to coordinate prior to installation.
  • Requirements for sub-structure support (concrete pads, etc.) are the responsibility of the owner.

Appendix B - Pre-Planning Considerations

A. Temporary Housing Preplanning Checklist

  1. Checklist: Government Requirements
    • Review the local municipal, provincial and federal requirements for site planning for temporary/semi-permanent facilities
    • Review the local municipal, provincial and federal requirements for building permits for temporary/semi-permanent facilities
    • Review the local municipal, provincial and federal requirements for public health (including COVID-19)
  2. Existing Facility Site Requirements Checklist
    • Review of existing site plan(s) and requirements for municipal Site Plan Control (SPC)
    • Review of existing site plan(s) to align the physical distancing requirements to prevent transmission of COVID-19
    • Review of existing soil and site conditions that may impact the location of the facility(s)
    • Review of the existing electrical service to the overall facility and potential distribution to the facility(s)
    • Review of the existing potable water service to the overall facility and potential distribution to the facility(s)
    • Review of the existing sanitary service to the overall facility and potential distribution to the facility(s)
  3. Temporary Facility(s) Requirements Checklist
    • Determine if the facility(s) will be temporary or semi-permanent
    • Determine if the facility(s) will be built on site or delivered complete to the site
    • Determine if the facility(s) will be purchased or rented
    • Determine if washroom facility(s) will be connected to existing sanitary service or temporary
    • Determine what service(s) are required in facility(s) support infrastructure and accessories

B. Municipal Requirements Checklist

  • Local municipal requirements for site planning for temporary facilities
    • Preliminary project review to confirm property is subject to Site Plan Control (SPC)
    • Determine if existing site plan agreement or undertaking applies to property
    • Determine if Zoning Amendment or Minor Variance application is required
    • Site Plan Control Application submission (supported by application fee, plans; boundary survey, additional information as requested and pre-application consultation meeting)
    • Process could take 3 to 9 months depending on the property
  • Local municipal requirements for building permits for temporary facilities
    • Confirm with local municipality that construction requires a permit and must comply wih the Building Code Act, 1992. The Code sets the technical criteria for construction (structural sufficiency, materials, plumbing/mechanical and health and safety)
    • Confirm requirements for building application and required permits for demolition, architectural, plumbing and mechanical
    • Submit building permit application(s) including: application fee, drawings, specifications and site plan
    • Confirm if additional applications may be required for municipal road damage, vibration control and tree declaration
    • Confirm Site Plan Control is not required to be submitted prior to building permit application
    • Note: Process can take from 1 to 3 months depending on the property
  • Local municipal, provincial and federal requirements for public health (including COVID-19)
    • Confirm all local municipal, provincial and federal public health requirements for public facilities are being maintained
    • Confirm all requirements for preventing the spread of disease are being followed for public spaces

C. Facility Site Requirements Checklist

  • Review of existing site plan requirements to meet Site Plan Control (SPC) requirement
    • Confirm occupancy requirements based on SPC requirement
    • Confirm access requirements within and outside site based on SPC requirements
  • Review of existing site plan(s) to align the physical distancing requirements to prevent transmission of COVID-19
    • Review of current site plan of existing structures and potential new structures to minimize transmission of COVID-19
    • Review of existing exterior common space, circulation paths, vehicular access, drop off and pick up, loading and unloading to minimize transmission of COVID-19
  • Review of existing soil and site conditions that may impact the location of the temporary facility(s)
    • Confirm existing geotechnical, geophysical, hydrological soil conditions
    • Confirm if contamination site assessment, loading study, archaeological study, environmental assessment and natural heritage impact assessment are required
  • Review of the existing electrical service to the overall facility and potential distribution to temporary facility(s)
    • Confirm existing electrical service to site, location of incoming service, location of main distribution panel
    • Confirm existing distribution for site and possible new distribution to new facility(s)
    • Review Electrical and Safety Authority requirements for existing and potential new service
  • Review of the existing potable water service to the overall facility and potential distribution to temporary facility(s)
    • Confirm location(s) of incoming service to site for potable water and sanitary service
    • Confirm size, conditions of active (equipment) and static service (horizontal distribution) of existing services
    • Consult with engineer as required to determine additional load and infrastructure requirements

D. Temporary Facility(s) Requirements Checklist

  • Determine if the facility(s) will be temporary or semi-permanent
    • Confirm facility is short term solution for COVID-19 or long-term operational requirement
    • Confirm if potential for replacement of existing facilities due to age and/or code compliance requirements
    • Confirm applicable budget and term for recovery of infrastructure investment
  • Determine if the facility(s) will be built on site or delivered complete to the site
    • Confirm local road access requirements to allow completed units to be delivered to site
    • Confirm site access requirements to allow units to be delivered
    • Determine schedule for installation that may affect site build application
    • Determine if site built construction will affect operations
    • Confirm applicable budget for either option
  • Determine if the facility(s) will be purchased or rented
    • Determine long term or short term need for additional facility(s)
    • Determine budget
  • Determine if washroom facility(s) will be connected to existing sanitary service or temporary
    • Confirm ability of existing site services to support additional washrooms (refer to site requirements)
    • Determine if facility is temporary or permanent
    • Determine budget and ongoing operational requirements for both options
  • Determine what service are required in facility(s) support infrastructure and accessories
    • Confirm basic facility(s) requirements; kitchen, washrooms, common space, bunk areas, storage areas, etc.

E. Developing Reasonable Timelines (Semi-Permanent & Temporary)

  • Timelines on any project can vary, depending on scope, location, proximity of available services and any necessary local approvals/requirements. Develop a realistic, anticipated timeline for the supply and installation of the applicable facilities, based on minimal municipal planning requirements. The following steps and potential timeframes are intended as a sample timeline only (which may need to be adjusted or shortened to take into consideration the project scope and anticipated approvals). As a suggested starting point only, consider whether and how the following components may apply to your location and intended project:
    • Design of new facility(s) requirements (1 month)
    • Consultation with municipal planning department and submission of SPC if required (1 to 2 months)
    • Building permit application (1 month)
    • If variance application is required, additional time (1 to 3 months)
    • Total typical planning and design period: 4 months (longest case)
  • Tendering and Bidding (if applicable)
    • (1 month)
  • Construction and/or fabrication of facility(s)
    • Site mobilization (.5 month)
    • Site works (minimal site works required) (1 month)
    • Site services installation (minimal site works required) (1 month)
    • Fabrication and installation of semi permanent modular construction facility(s) (simple construction) (3?4 months)
    • Prefabricated and installation of temporary trailer facilities (based on complexity) (1 to 2 months)
    • Commissioning of systems and inspections (.5 month)
    • Total construction period 7 months (longest case - could be shorter for more straightforward projects or installation of relocatable structures/trailers)

Appendix C - Service Providers

Service Providers - Relocatable Structures and Modular Construction for Worker Accommodation and Ancillary Uses

The following information has been assembled as a potential resource for employers in Ontario who may be researching possible solutions to worker housing pressures, either for the initial 14-day isolation period upon worker arrival to Canada or for longer-duration seasonal accommodation needs (e.g., to allow for increased physical distancing in living quarters and related space, such as washrooms and kitchens).

Some private enterprises offer relocatable structures to industries such as construction, mining, oil and gas, and education that can be leased or purchased. Other service providers specialize in modular construction for semi-permanent or permanent structures that need to be built quickly and assembled on-site. Depending on configuration and equipment, these structures can potentially be used as private or semi-private dormitory space, washrooms, showers, kitchens and laundry facilities. Employers are encouraged to do their own research. The list below is not comprehensive in nature. No ministry or public sector agency has approved or endorsed any particular service provider or structural solution. Presence on or absence from this list does not indicate quality or reliability of the service provided. Employers are also strongly encouraged to check with local building and zoning officials, public health units, and utility providers prior to making any commitments. Building permits and other site-specific approvals may be required as a prerequisite to placing any relocatable structures on-site or proceeding with modular construction.

Service Provider Website(s)
ATCO
65 Reive Blvd.
PO Box 1089
Cookstown, ON L0L 1L0

Phone: 905-532-0012
Toll Free: 1-800-575-2826 (ATCO)
Miller Mobile Office Trailers
1732 Dundas St. E.
Mississauga, ON L4X 1L8

Toll Free: 1-800-668-0414
Phone: 905-277-1438
Fax: 905-279-0023

Willscot of Canada
(Williams Scotsman Inc.)
866-498-2623

13932 Woodbine Ave.
Gormley, ON L0H 1G0


Phone: 905 726-3551
McGregor Rd. South
Sarnia, ON N7V 2Z5
Phone: 519-336-1010

ProPart Modular
1129 Northside Rd.
Burlington, ON L7M 1H5

Toll Free: 1-800-387-7614
Email: sales@pro-part.com
Mobilease Rentals Inc.
115 Ram Forest Road
Gormley, ON L0H 1G0

Phone: 905-841-1433
Email: info@mobilease.ca
Sprung Structures
12 Upjohn Road
Unit 4
North York, ON M3B 2V9

Phone: 905-829-1600
Toll Free: 1-800-528-9899
Enerquest
360 Queen Street
Harrow, ON N0R 1G0

Phone: 519-325-0500, ext. 23
Mobile: 519-796-7302
Horizon North
1-866-305-6565
Canadian Portable Structures
4400 Corporate Dr.
Burlington, ON L7L 5R3

Toll Free: 1-800-526-4277
Phone: 905-335-5500
Email: webform@cdnportable.com
Black Diamond Group
1000 - 440 2nd Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 5E9

Phone: 403-206-4747
Toll Free: 1-888-569-4880

BOXX Modular
203 - 400 Jones Road
Stoney Creek, ON L8E 5P4

Phone: 905-641-3999
Toll Free: 1-888-900-2699 (BOXX)
NRB Inc.
(a Horizon North company)
115 South Service Rd. W
Grimsby, ON L3M 4G3

Phone: 905-945-9622
Toll Free: 1-800-465-7594
Arctic Relocatable Structures Inc.
873 Nelson St.
Oshawa, ONL1H 5N7

Phone: 905-434-5457
Armstrong Trailers
1868 Commerce Park Drive
Innisfil, ON L9S 4A3

Phone: 705-436-5611
Toll Free: 1-800-387-5611
Email: sales@armstrongtrailers.com
Hy-Grade Precast Concrete
2411 First St
St. Catharines, ON L2R 6P7
TGM
75 Bridge St. East, Suite 403
Tillsonburg, Ontario N4G 1T1

Randy McBride, President
Phone: 519-854-5114
Email: rpmcbrideb52@outlook.com
  • Website being re-developed

NOW HOUSING
Affordable Housing Solutions
777 Laurel Street, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, N3H 3Z1

Phone: 1-800-858-1002

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca