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Interview with Minimaliste Cofounder JP Marquis

Minimaliste's cofounder JP Marquis discusses prefab and modular building, common misconceptions in the prefab world, and the future of prefab.

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Minimaliste

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What makes Minimaliste prefabs different?

"We practice what is called empathetic design. We put ourselves in the client's skin to assess whether the design of the house is ergonomic for them in the long term.  We see the entire process as a team effort, including the customer, employees and suppliers, where everyone's role is important and respected.  We believe this basic premise plays an important role in our approach with clients.

Regarding the tiny homes themselves, we make sure they are built like we would want our house built: not cutting corners. This doesn’t only apply to the construction techniques, but also for the materials we use from A to Z.  In terms of manufacturing, we take the environmental impact of our units and the materials used to heart. For the structure, we use insulated structural panels (SIPs). Since these panels are sandwich walls which significantly reduce thermal bridges, this allows us to obtain a better effective insulating factor in addition to reducing heating costs. That being said, the performance of SIPs is such that it is mandatory to use air exchangers in our units.

Since the walls are prefabricated using a CNC, there is a significant reduction in the amount of waste, in addition to the unused insulation being recycled.  Regarding the finishing materials, we use mostly wood which is a renewable material."


Minimaliste tiny homes right after completion of production

How do you think about the future of prefab?

"Prefab is the future of residential and commercial construction. With the increased costs of on-site labor, transportation and materials, limiting what needs to be achieved on-site is key to keep those costs to a minimum. This is not only good for the builder, the buyers will also benefit from it. We think it’s a matter of time before we see more and more two+ storey buildings in prefab.

Right now, most prefab homes are small, but the potential is unlimited with a little bit of logistics thinking. This is why we think prefab will take more and more place in the future of the housing industry in North America."

What are some common misunderstandings about prefab, and how should people think about them instead?

"While most people think prefab is lower quality than on-site construction, we actually think it’s the other way around.  Building indoors in a controlled environment prevents any premature deterioration of the structure before its wrapped. Everything is more precise and optimal; all the adhesives, wraps and other materials are installed in good conditions (no rain, snow, wind, etc).

There is no chance of humidity being stuck in a wall because the vapor barrier has been installed the day after heavy rain for example. Also, when our team is working in optimal conditions, the risk of error or accident is reduced. When it comes to quality control, everything is simpler and more efficient when working indoors in a well organized environment."

The Minimaliste team

What should customers expect from Minimaliste?

"Minimaliste is a wind of change in the housing industry. Our mission is to democratize tiny houses here and abroad by co-creating durable and well-thought living spaces. We are specialized in 4 seasons travel trailers and park models. Our tiny homes vary from 80K CAD to 200K+ CAD, depending on the options. (This pricing is before taxes and delivery) We deliver everywhere in Canada and USA and the delivery costs are based on distance. We have a one year lead time for our park models and under 3 months for our new Nomad 8x24 travel trailer. All of our products are built with advanced construction techniques and materials, which is key for durability and sustainability.

When people have interest in our product or company, they need to contact us through our website. For a project, we have an online form that is essential to help us understand the client's needs and therefore advise them properly. Whether it is for pre-purchase consultations, design questions, the construction time-frame or after-sales service, the needs of our customers are at the heart of our process.  It is important for us to understand the needs of the customers in order to ensure that the proposed solutions meet them correctly. "

Minimaliste is a tiny home provider. They ship from their shop in Quebec to anywhere in In the USA and Canada. Get in touch with their team at minimalistehouses.com

The Minimaliste Noyer is one of their most popular models


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