COVID-19 can’t stop progress

Community COVID-19 Featured

A worldwide health pandemic isn’t doing a lot to slow down a local business that just continues to grow.

Twin Rivers Properties has just received CSA Z240MH-16 certification allowing the father-son operated business to build single-section manufactured houses (mini homes) in a new facility in Granton. And to top it off, a new housing community is in the works.

Achieving the certification was a long and winding road. Through the certification process, Twin Rivers Properties, operating as Twin Rivers Home Builders, first had to build a quality control manual that accompanies every home, which ends up being around 200 pages of documentation and checklists for each home.

“We are our own inspectors and we inspected every aspect of the homes from incoming materials to how many nails are in each sheet of sheathing or piece of lumber,” explains the company’s Blair van Veld.

That manual is now complete and is in compliance with A277 (another part of the CSA manufacturing code for factory built structures). This will now allow Twin Rivers Properties to branch into modular construction and panelized construction, which the company is exploring.

Van Veld says, “The certifications are the same as any other builder in the industry such as Kent Homes, Prestige Homes, Maple Leaf Homes, etc. The certification company we went through is QAI Laboratories which is the same company as Kent Homes and Ironwood Homes.”

The certification process was started in late May and was completed by the end of September with inspections by QAI Labs along the way. Twin Rivers Properties also invested into home moving equipment so the company is virtually a one-stop destination.

“Our goal is to provide quality, affordable housing. We got into this because we thought prices were getting out of touch for people and we thought there was a gap to fill in terms of price range but still provide a good quality home. Cutting out the middlemen is part of our strategy.”

Van Veld adds, “We have sales booked currently into the new year and also still need to build some homes for ourselves for rentals.”

Twin Rivers Properties currently employs 11 full time and a couple of part time employees (including management) and is looking to hire more staff as they continue to grow and take on sales and new projects.

“We’ve had a ton of support from our community and in northern Nova Scotia and southern Cape Breton in general and we’re very grateful. We almost didn’t move ahead with this project due to COVID but we pushed through anyway and then the real estate market boomed. Who would have thought?” he chuckles.

And if the booming home manufacturing side of the business wasn’t enough to keep the family-owned operation busy, Twin Rivers Properties is about to embark on a new housing community.

Holland Ridge is the name of the company’s new 115-acre land development in Abercrombie.

“It’s a retirement community that will mimic something you would see in Florida or Wasaga Beach, Ont.”

According to its Facebook site, the community (currently in the planning stage) will include amenities such as tennis courts, community room, pool and walking trails and is adjacent to Abercrombie Golf and Country Club. The community will also be gated.

Holland Ridge will be a mixed-use property with options to rent retirement-friendly apartments or purchase an upscale mini home on a rented lot. For those who still want to own their home while enjoying the amenities and lifestyle, the land lease option will be available.

“We will have approximately 100 apartments and 400 land lease sites.”

The development is in the preliminary concept planning stage with Strum Consulting performing surveying and planning work. Estimated cost of the project is over $50 million.

The company hopes to tie this new development into its existing home manufacturing facility and drive work there.

“We know we won’t be able to draw all those people from just Pictou County and will be marketing in cities across Canada and even some on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.”

With a hope of attracting 800-1,000 people to the new community when complete, van Veld says the development will benefit Pictou County businesses and other amenities.

“The Atlantic Provinces are seeing a migration here like they’ve never seen before and COVID-19 seems to be the push to get those people on the fence to come here. Hopefully we can drive growth here in Pictou County both as a retirement community but also in manufacturing through our facility in Granton.”