German workers bring unexpected innovation

    Local developer reaps benefits of hiring foreign labourers

    KELOWNA, BC, March 20 /CNW/ - A creative solution to the local shortage
of skilled workers is paying off in more ways than one for a Kelowna-based
land and real estate development company.
    Over the last year, Troika Developments has hired 15 skilled journeymen
from Germany to fill jobs on its construction projects in the region.
    Thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of one worker in particular, the
company has become the first in Kelowna to use new and innovative methods to
prefabricate walls and floors.
    The prefabrication work is happening at The Gate, a 54-unit, Tudor style
townhome development in Black Mountain that offers affordable two or
three-bedroom townhomes.
    "We've purchased prefabricated walls from a manufacturer in the past, but
the quality just wasn't up to our standards," says Troika Development's
construction manager Chris Little. "Doing prefabrication for The Gate right
here on the building site allows us the ultimate level of quality control and
creates all kinds of efficiencies which save us time and money."
    The new prefab methods at The Gate come to Troika courtesy of Johannes
Irnich, who moved to Kelowna from Cologne, Germany last July with his wife and
two sons.
    After spending time on Troika's framing crew to learn more about Canadian
construction methods, Johannes moved on to become assistant site supervisor at
The Gate. With 25-years in the construction business, 16 of those spent
running his own prefab business, it wasn't long before Johannes was suggesting
new ways of doing things.
    "Prefab is my passion and I think all the people working with me know
that," says Johannes. "If we continue moving forward with prefabricating our
own walls and floors, it won't be long before Troika is years ahead of the
other construction and development companies in Kelowna."
    With a skilled craftsman such as Johannes directing the prefabrication
process, construction is done in a production-line style rather than stick by
stick as is common practice. That means more tasks for unskilled workers to
take on and decreased safety concerns because fewer people are using handrails
and climbing scaffolding in order to build the walls or floors of a project
piece by piece. And because the prefabrication is done under a covered
shelter, there are minimal construction delays due to weather.
    Troika is researching the possibility of using computer technology to
help automate the prefab process and may also start prefabricating pieces for
projects in other provinces where skilled workers are even harder to come by.
    "We've really benefited from the broader perspective and outside-the-box
thinking the German workers bring to our company," says Troika's CEO Renee
Wasylyk. "These innovative ideas and new methods open up all kinds of
possibilities for Troika and we're really excited to explore that."
    With homes starting at $360,000 and all priced under $400,000, The Gate
has been popular with buyers. Phase one of the family-friendly development has
already sold out and one of the German workers has even purchased a unit. For
more information, drop by the discovery centre on Lynrick Road in Black
Mountain or visit

    Troika Developments is a progressive, future-focused company that brings
together designers, contractors, engineers and project managers in a team
environment to plan and construct superior housing and commercial projects,
while passionately working to maximize community benefit. The company's
projects adhere to the highest standards of sustainability and environmental

For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries only: Brad Klassen, CFO, Troika
Developments, (250) 869-4945, or (250) 469-3959

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