Innovative building technique uses snap-together framing

No one is ever going to say Quebec-based BONE Structure hit the nail on the head. That’s because the innovative company doesn’t use nails in its unique single- and-multi-family homes.

The firm looked to LEGO and Meccano for its construction technique – a lightweight, recycled steel frame that snaps together and facilitates building a structure in under a week using only a drill.

bone-house“A BONE Structure may be assembled in as little as four days, but the results are built to last generations,” company president Marc Bovet said in a statement. “Precision and speed do not need to compromise efficiency and originality.”

Plans to expand

More than 150 BONE Structures have been completed in Quebec and at the end of this month, BONE is building its first Ontario home in Caledon. The company will then shift its focus to expanding to the rest of Canada, the United States and Europe.

BONE Structures has established three licenced manufacturing plants in Ontario and seven in Quebec and is looking for a third location in Alberta and two in British Columbia this year.

The company is not alone in the steel frame market. Steel Homes Canada operates out of Vancouver while Canadian Steel Frame Solutions is based in Oakville. The latter also provides commercial building systems for hotels, shopping centres and schools. The buildings stand up to eight storeys in height.

Many advantages

Bovet founded BONE Structure in 2005 after working as a member of the management team at Bombardier, a multinational aerospace and transportation company. He says the Bombardier experience led him to apply the same technologies for cutting machined parts for BONE Structures components.

An advantage of the BONE system is that it incorporates pre-cut openings for a building mechanical system. These allow HVAC specialists to easily roll out and connect the cables, vents and pipes.

The company says the steel frames are more stable than traditional wood, enabling homes to have open concept spaces with spans of up to 25 feet without intermediate beams or load-bearing walls .

The structures may be reconfigured at any time by clicking or unclicking the components to add windows, by modifying exterior siding or by moving interior walls.

Reduces construction waste

The company offers 15 different home models. Each building comes with a specific number of screws and parts, which BONE Structure says eliminates unwanted budget increases.

Because the building process is so precise, it cuts down on wasted materials, much of which would end up in landfills.

“Each new house being built fills up three, 40-cubic-yard containers of brand new construction materials. A bundle of two-by-fours is half-rotten, so it goes in the trash,” Bovet told Canadian Builder’s Quarterly.

Bovet told the magazine BONE – so named because he liked the comparison to the human skeleton – intends to become “the McDonald’s of the construction industry.”


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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