The house that SAIT students built
Tucked away in a corner of the Thomas Riley Building is a huge lab, and inside are two houses under construction. That's right — two houses.
It's the Founding Builders Home Lab and it was created when the Thomas Riley Building was renovated as part of the Trades and Technology Complex — the biggest campus expansion in SAIT's history.
Once these student-built houses are complete, industry partner McCann's Building Movers will put them on the market and move them to locations in rural Alberta. Houses built by past students are now being lived in by families near towns and communities like Coaldale, Joffre, Didsbury, Tofield and Rimbey, and on the Tsuut'ina First Nation.
Mat Eidt, Civil Engineering Technology instructor and graduate of SAIT's Information Technology program (2000) says McCann has no trouble selling the houses. "Buyers love the romance of the idea that they are buying a home built by students. They love the care and attention that student-builders provide."
Living classroom enriches learning
Students in the Civil Engineering Technology and Architectural Technologies programs gain the hands-on experience of building 1,500- or 1,600-square-foot bungalows. In the Home Lab's controlled indoor environment, students build the homes from the ground up including all the framing, exterior and interior walls, windows and the roof.
Joseph Hall, first-year Civil Engineering Technology student, says, "In the Home Lab we get to see, feel and touch the things we've been learning in the classroom. When we are hands on, it's very easy to learn."
Hall worked in commercial and infrastructure construction for 15 years before coming to SAIT to earn his credentials. "The fine details I'm learning at SAIT will be useful and apply to any type of construction."
Joshua Will, first-year Architectural Technologies student and SAIT Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Technology graduate, agrees. "Our experience in the Home Lab is invaluable. When I work on drawings in AutoCAD, I can picture the house in my mind because I've been inside it — physically. This gives us great practical experience."