Building Dreams: Jandel Homes’ Innovative Approach to Modular Living in Canada
Business View Magazine sat down with Rolf Williamson, President of Jandel Homes, to discuss the company’s innovative approach to modular housing, its rich family history, and how it is uniquely positioned to address Canada’s housing shortage.
Revolutionizing the modular homes industry, Jandel Homes combines family values with cutting-edge technology to meet Canada’s growing housing needs.
The modular home industry in Canada has seen a significant transformation over the years, evolving from simple, cookie-cutter designs to sophisticated, customizable living spaces that cater to a diverse range of needs and preferences. Today, modular homes are celebrated for their efficiency, sustainability, and innovation, offering homeowners a practical yet stylish alternative to traditional on-site construction.
Continuing to write the modular home’s story is Jandel Homes. With a rich history dating back to 1974, the company has solidified its position as one of Western Canada’s premier modular home retailers.
“Our head office is in Acheson, Alberta, which is just outside of Edmonton,” Rolf Williamson, President of Jandel Homes, shares with a sense of pride. “In addition to our Head Office , we operate sales centers in Acheson and Grand Prairie, as well as an award-winning community called Meadows of Morinville, which is located just north of Edmonton.”
Jandel Homes is not just a business; it’s a legacy meticulously crafted and preserved over the years. “Jandel was established back in 1974 as a family-run business and has remained that way ever since. Next year will mark our 50th anniversary.” Williamson, whose journey with Jandel Homes spans over two decades, reveals. “We’ve been retailing modular homes for almost five decades, making us one of the longest standing modular home retailers in Western Canada.”
The public perception of modular homes has often been marred by misconceptions and stereotypes, with many associating them with lower quality or a lack of aesthetic appeal. However, the reality is far from this common misconception. Modular homes today are at the forefront of innovation and design, offering a range of customizable options that cater to homeowners’ diverse needs and preferences.
Williamson emphasizes that modular homes are constructed with the same materials and adhere to the same building codes as traditional stick-built homes. ” They really are just a site built house that is constructed in a factory. ” he says. “For example, if you were building a home in Edmonton, you must build it according to the Alberta Building Code and Edmonton climate zone requirements. When building a home for Edmonton in a factory, the requirements would be the exact same.”
This clarification is crucial in dispelling the myths surrounding modular homes and highlighting the quality and precision of their construction. “. To be clear, modular is a type of construction, not a type of home. The marketing people of the world have used terms like mobile, manufactured, trailer, modular and RTM which have made the products our industry builds difficult to understand. ’All homes built in a factory setting are referred to as modular homes.” Williamson asserts.
Navigating the Workforce Landscape
The global pandemic has undeniably altered the workforce landscape, with many industries grappling with the challenges posed by COVID-19, from market volatility to worker shortages. The modular homes industry is no exception, with companies having to adapt and navigate these unprecedented times.
“Covid threw everybody for a loop,” Williamson admits. “But we’ve been fortunate to have a team of long-standing employees who have been with us for many years.” He shares that their operations manager has been with the company for over two decades, and their warranty manager, the longest-serving in the industry, has been with them for nearly 15 years.
Williamson proudly speaks of the company’s strong family-run ethos and close-knit group, which he believes played a crucial role in retaining their workforce during the pandemic. “We didn’t lose anybody during Covid,” he says. “That speaks to the strength of our business and the loyalty of our team.”
Regarding the labor force in Alberta, Williamson acknowledges the challenges but remains optimistic. “It’s always hard to find new people, but we’ve done okay,” he says. “If your employees are sticking around that long, it indicates that it’s a great place to work.”
A Day in the Life at Jandel Homes
The meticulous attention to detail and customer-centric approach at Jandel Homes is evident in the company’s daily operations. From the moment a customer steps into one of their sales centers, they are enveloped in an atmosphere of warmth and professionalism, a hallmark of Jandel Homes.
“As a sales organization, we know that presentation is key,” Williamson says. “Our sales centers are meticulously maintained, with some of the largest showrooms in the industry. We are committed to creating an inviting atmosphere for our customers right from the moment they walk in. Our show homes are all heated and decorated, allowing customers to envision themselves living in their new home. ”
When arriving at our sales centre, customers are greeted by a receptionist and then introduced to a housing consultant who will guide them through building their dream home. “Our housing consultants play a pivotal role in the homebuying journey. They’re dedicated to ensuring their unique needs are met and will guide them through a selection of show homes to pinpoint the features and layouts that best align with their requirements.,” Williamson explains.
But the customer journey doesn’t end there. ” After a customer purchases their home, our team will guide them through the entire backend process, from obtaining permits to helping them with the site process and even assisting them with the banking and legal aspects,” he adds. “We aim to make their homebuying journey as stress-free as possible.”
And the support doesn’t stop once the home is delivered. “After the home delivery, our customer care team takes over. They will work with the customer on their post-delivery inspection, warranty activation and addressing any potential deficiencies in a timely manner. Our in-house team of service technicians will then take care of any final touches,” he says. “And with our 20-year structural warranty, the best in the industry, we’re committed to our clients for the long haul.”
Progressing through Innovation
The future holds many possibilities and opportunities for Jandel Homes, a company that prides itself on its progressive approach and commitment to improving the industry and the lives of Canadians. With a history of successful projects and partnerships, the company is always looking for innovative ways to expand its reach and impact.
“We’re a very progressive company. We’re always exploring opportunities to improve the industry and enhance the lives of Canadians,” Williamson shares. “We’re constantly evaluating new projects and seeking partnerships aligning with our values and objectives.”
One such project that Williamson is particularly proud of is Meadows of Morinville, a land lease community developed by Jandel Homes. “Our Meadows of Morinville development is a testament to our commitment to providing innovative housing solutions,” he says.
But Jandel Homes’ impact extends far beyond its developments. The company has stepped up to provide much-needed support in the face of recent wildfires that have devastated parts of Canada. “We’re currently assisting Canadians affected by the fires and providing homes for those in need,” Williamson reveals.
This includes homes destined for Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories and homes for a northern First Nations settlement that lost several homes earlier in the year. “Our modular homes offer a quick and more efficient solution for rebuilding communities affected by disasters,” he explains. “With our modular product, we can have a home on-site in as little as 60 days, providing a lifeline for those who have lost everything.”
Mastering the Elements
The harsh Canadian winters, with snow and ice, pose a significant challenge to the construction industry, often shortening the building season and delaying projects. However, Jandel Homes has ingeniously circumvented this obstacle through its innovative construction approach.
“We build inside,” Williamson clarifies. “With modular construction, we take a home and build it inside, eliminating the challenges posed by inclement weather.” This construction method ensures that the workers are comfortable and safe and results in a more efficient building process.
“When building a standard site-built home, you must contend with various weather conditions, from rain and mud to extreme temperatures,” he explains. “But with our method, the workers are inside, protected from the elements, which makes for a happier and more productive workforce.”
But the benefits of building inside extend far beyond worker satisfaction. “Our homes are built in an A277-certified plant, which means our inspections are extensive,” Williamson says. “And because we’re building inside, we can control the environment, ensuring that everything from the walls to the vapor barrier is constructed to the highest standards.”
Williamson is particularly proud of the energy efficiency of their homes. “Our proprietary wall design includes a thermal break, resulting in higher energy efficiency,” he says. “And when we fasten our wall systems to our floor systems, we install a gasket top and bottom, creating an airtight seal.”
A Bright Horizon
The landscape of the modular homes industry in Canada is on the cusp of a significant transformation, with a burgeoning demand for housing and a government prioritizing residential development. This shift presents an excellent opportunity for Jandel Homes, a company that has positioned itself at the forefront of the modular housing movement.
“In the Canadian economy, we are facing a housing shortage, with people migrating here in droves,” Williamson explains. “Modular housing is the solution to this problem, offering a fast, energy-efficient, and solidly built alternative to traditional site-built homes.”
With its high-volume production capabilities and a reputation for quality, Jandel Homes is poised to play a pivotal role in meeting the country’s housing needs. “We are incredibly optimistic about the future,” Williamson says. “The government is pushing for more housing, and we are ready to step up and meet that demand.”
When asked about the key points he would emphasize in parting, Williamson doesn’t hesitate. “We are a trusted, family-owned and operated company with 50 years of experience,” he says. “Our team has over 100 years of combined experience in construction, operations, and customer care. We are leaders in our industry, and we take pride in our work.”
What distinguishes Jandel Homes in a significant way, Williamson notes, is its unwavering dedication to maintaining a professional standard and its deep-seated roots in Canadian values and culture. “We are one of the larger companies in our industry, with departments of people dedicated to ensuring the success of each project,” he says. “But at the end of the day, we Canadians look out for each other. When you choose Jandel Homes, you become part of our family.”
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AT A GLANCE
What: A leading provider of modular homes and land lease communities in Western Canada
Where: Three locations: Acheson, Grande Prairie and Morinville, Alberta