#CdnBuilt: CHBACI and Thompson Rivers University Build a Dream Home

The homebuilding industry has a long record of community service and giving back to the cities and towns we live and work in. Each year, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) recognizes the voluntary efforts of its members and local associations who make a difference in the quality of life in their communities. Only one Home Builders’ Association in Canada is selected, and this year’s recipient of the CHBA National Community Service Award demonstrates how successful partnerships can benefit a whole community.

A Long-Lasting Partnership

For the past 28 years, CHBA Central Interior (CHBACI) has partnered with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) to build a house. Together, they help encourage and prepare young people to pursue a rewarding career in the construction industry.

Under guidance from their instructor and a CHBACI Licenced Builder Member, the students do the foundation, framing and electrical and plumbing rough-ins. The home is then finished by CHBA member contractors who volunteer their time.

Real Life Experience

Through the Training House Project, students have the experience of being on a real job site. Like every job, residential construction has its challenges. Coping with bad weather, unanticipated scheduling delays, even finding reliable transportation to and from work, are as much part of the job as the technical skills needed to build a home. Employers valuing knowing that a potential employee is able to overcome the kinds of adversity common to every construction site. Having job site experience gives the students a leg up when it comes to hiring, and gives the employer a better-prepared employee.

Upon completion of the project, CHBACI sells the home to their local YMCA/YWCA for its Dream Home Lottery fund raiser. The school receives a cash grant from the proceeds of the sale, and the community receives funding for youth programming such as after school care and sports lessons.

TRU Builds 2018 Dream Home
Through the Training House Project, students become familiarised with the CHBA & its members. Some students have gone on to become CHBACI members later in their career.

Benefiting the Community

The Training House Project is a circle of training, volunteering, and employment. While students participate in this program they get to know CHBA, its members, and their commitment to operating businesses with integrity. Once they’re in their careers, many of them become members of the CHBA CI. These past students then contact their former program instructor for reference checks for potential employees, and have their turn volunteering for the Training House Project. In this way, they are giving back to a program and a partnership continuing a legacy of benefits to the community.

This year, 78 CHBA member companies sponsored or donated materials, money, labour and expertise. In return, the students became skilled tradespeople and assets to businesses in the community. And the YMCA/YWCA provides services that enrich the lives of everyone.

For more information about the Training House Project visit:

Find out how other CHBA members are contributing to #CdnBuilt communities by following the hashtag on social media. For other stories, visit Giving Back on our blog.