Modular on the Green
by Bernard Desjardins
In the beautiful foothills of Southern Alberta lies a golfer’s dream. The Coyote Creek Resort, near Sundre, is situated just a short distance from the magnificent Rocky Mountains and attracts golfers and others to the area for fun and relaxation in green and peaceful surroundings. After a round, the golf course clubhouse is the perfect place to unwind, socialize and experience the warm, friendly resort atmosphere. Situated off the dining room is a large deck overlooking a crystal clear pond stocked with rainbow trout.
In May 2005, with Coyote Creek’s newly developed first nine holes ready for play, a clubhouse was installed by United Homes Canada of Airdrie, Alberta. Not even a decade later, the golf course had expanded to 18 holes, and the resort had outgrown the original clubhouse. Coyote Creek management decided to go with United Homes Canada again. They worked with the Triple M Housing factory in Lethbridge to build a new, bigger clubhouse.
Steve Vail, President of United Homes Canada, proudly notes that the clubhouse at Coyote Creek Resort is an excellent example of the factory-built advantage—cost efficiencies, environmental features, compressed timeframe and minimized site disturbance.
“I believe that it was because of our design input and advice—and the fact that we were able to provide a simpler and faster completion than site construction—that we were awarded the contract,” Steve says. “Limiting downtime was a big advantage of using modular for this particular build.”
The use of factory-based construction can significantly reduce construction time and site disturbance, and for the Coyote Creek project this was particularly important. “Being that it was a golf course, there was a limited window of opportunity to construct this building without upsetting the operations. Doing the project this way, inconvenience and safety concerns were extremely diminished,” says Steve. United Homes’ Duane Lemke was instrumental in orchestrating the project, acting as liaison between Triple M and Coyote Creek’s Bruce Johnson.
Bruce also describes the importance of the time element: "The biggest advantage for us was timing. While the building was being manufactured at Triple M Housing's Lethbridge plant, I was able to work on site preparation, i.e. power, sewer and foundation work, with minimal disturbance to our golfing public. The modules were set the first week of September, which gave us lots of time to complete any remaining outside work on the building and enabled us to complete backfilling, sidewalks and landscaping before freeze-up. Inside work continued on from there and we were able to move into the building after the close of our golf season. We had one day of down time throughout this whole process, which was for safety reasons the day we craned the modules onto the foundation. The lack of down time and the pace we were able to maintain were the key to us going the modular route."
Steve Vail notes that it is becoming apparent to more and more people that modular construction and other forms of prefabrication are more advanced than traditional methods. These approaches significantly improve a great many aspects of the construction process, from project timeframe to environmental responsibility. In recent decades, modular has been used primarily for residential construction, but that is changing quickly—there is plenty of potential for many other applications. “We just finished delivering a new kindergarten in Airdrie, which, like Coyote Creek, is not like the typical residential project we usually do. We were also awarded the bid for a community centre project for the town of Chestermere.”
A golf course clubhouse is not a common project, and there were specific challenges to be met when designing and installing the building. “It was an extremely valuable learning experience both for United Homes Canada as well as Triple M Housing,” Steve says. The two companies are better prepared than ever to take on comparable projects together in the future, he says. “We are ready to take on similar and even larger and more complicated projects.”