Ottawa lumber company goes north

Mark Brownlee
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An Ottawa lumber company has expanded into Northern Canada with a product designed to make home construction easier in frigid Arctic temperatures.

Kott Lumber first moved the product to Canada’s north in 2009 when it won a multimillion-dollar contract with the Nunavut Housing Corp., a public agency of the territorial government.

The product is designed to smooth out the unique challenges that building in the North can present, said Wendy Smith, Kott’s director of marketing.

The series of panels for floors, walls and roofs are supposed to allow the structure to go up as quickly and as easily as possible, helping builders with sub-zero temperatures and what Ms. Smith described as a shortage of skilled labour.

“It allowed them to get the shell built much more quickly and closed in to the elements,” said Ms. Smith. “You can imagine standing on a scaffold or ladder in really high winds in minus a million degrees.”

The firm provided materials for 142 houses in 19 communities when most of the work for the NHC was finished in 2010.

Kott has done a few contracts for private firms since the deal with the territorial government expired, said Ms. Smith.

She said they’re interested in building on the success they’ve had so far with the product, which they call tuktu structural insulation panels. However they aren’t convinced there will be as much business there in the future.

“We certainly are interested in developing that business further if we can,” she said.

Organizations: Nunavut Housing

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada

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