Ontario town to be North American landing point for Chinese steel-home manufacturer

8 January 2014

A Canadian developer has signed a deal with a Chinese manufacturer that could see as many as 300 steel homes built in a town in Ontario.

Zhumadian Sanchao Industry Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Shenzhen Hengyingyifeng Investment Group, manufactures steel components for all types of structures, including houses, and in late December company officials signed a deal that could see its steel components used in a new residential development approved in the town of Collingwood, on the shore of Lake Huron just over 100km north of Toronto.

As well as supplying components for the new houses, Zhumadian Sanchao Industry is also considering setting up a factory in Collingwood that could employ up to 100 people, according to a report in the local newspaper, The Enterprise Bulletin.

The Chinese company officials recently met with Collingwood town officials, with the mayor, Sandra Cooper, commenting: "Any new initiative is exciting, and this is an excellent opportunity for jobs in the future."

The project in Collingwood will mark a first for Shenzhen Hengyingyifeng Investment Group in North America.

Industry observers have been watching for the emergence of exportable steel prefabrication business models in China since that country’s Broad Sustainable Buildings announced plans to build the world’s tallest tower with prefab steel sections.

The Canadian developer in Collingwood is Consar Developments.

A sample steel-based home manufactured by Sanchao Steel Structure, part of China’s Zhumadian Sanchao Industry Co. Ltd

"Originally we looked at sourcing a joint-venture partnership to capitalize the project," Consar company spokesperson, Tammy Lynn Michaud, told the newspaper. "We’ve had a number of opportunities to work with (this company)… and because of their expertise in real estate, felt they were the best suited to work with us."

She added that the project could have a profound impact on Collingwood, especially if Shenzhen Hengyingyifeng goes ahead with a factory.

"If we do the facility, it will be for the long-term," she said, noting Consar is looking at other real estate opportunities in the region. "We are working with the town to source a potential (location).

"We want to be here for awhile."

Michaud said the advantage of steel-framed homes is the rapid pace in which they can be constructed and the fact they can withstand high winds and even earthquakes.

Clearing of the proposed subdivision site is underway. Town council gave the project draft plan approval in 2013, and construction of the first model homes could begin by early 2014, pending municipal approval. The goal is to begin full-time construction of homes by mid-2015.

See report in The Enterprise Bulletin

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