In this month’s blog, Oxland’s Brad Sawler, President of the Seacoast NH Home Builders Association, talks about Tiny House New Hampshire, an initiative designed to renew interest in the building trades and develop the next generation of home builders.

Nationwide, we’re experiencing a shortage of skilled tradesmen. “The existing workforce is starting to age out and fewer students are entering the building trades industry,” explains Brad Sawler, owner of Oxland Builders, LLC, and president of the Seacoast NH Home Builders Association. “If we don’t take steps to bring more students into building trades classrooms, we’re going to face an extreme shortage of skilled tradesmen,” Sawler adds. The result of this shortage? An overall increase in building costs and decrease in the quality of the work.

In an effort to inspire the next generation of home builders, the NH Home Builders Association has teamed up with four of the state’s high schools and the NH Lottery.

Tiny House New Hampshire

Through Tiny House New Hampshire, students from four New Hampshire high school technical centers worked with industry professionals to design and build five tiny houses, which typically span between 100 and 400 square feet. NHHBA is sourcing all materials for the program, and its members are serving as mentors to participating students. NHHBA expects it to take about 550 hours for students to complete the homes, with a budget of $15,000 to $20,000 for each house.

Nearly 100 students from the following New Hampshire high schools took part in Tiny House New Hampshire:

  • Huot Technical Center (Laconia High School, Laconia, NH)
  • Mt. Washington Valley Career & Technical Center (Kennett High School, North Conway, NH)
  • Wilbur H. Palmer Vocational & Technical Center (Alvirne High School, Hudson, NH)
  • Seacoast School of Technology (Exeter, NH)

Students designed and constructed their own tiny houses, drawing from the above floor plan. The completed tiny houses were publicly displayed at the 50th NH State Home Show at the Manchester Radisson Hotel from March 17-19.  Source: Concord Monitor

Developing the Next Generation of Home Builders

In NH Lottery’s October 2016 newsletter, Steve Beals, Alvirne High School principal noted, “Our students and staff are excited to be part of the growing national popularity of tiny houses and the skills learned will help students better understand the growing needs of skilled homebuilders.” Skills in homebuilding will provide a lifetime asset to all students, whether continuing in the trade in the future or simply hoping to fulfill the American dream of homeownership,” he added.  

In a November 2016 New Hampshire Business Review article, Alvirne student Jamie Sherman said that building the tiny house would be a great experience for the whole class. “Some of us want to go into this field after graduation and others want to have a little bit of background information on construction and carpentry for the future they are going to pursue,” she noted.

Renewing Interest in the Trade Industry

Sawler says that Tiny House New Hampshire is already having a positive effect on renewing interest in the trade industry. “Alvirne high school went from barely filling one senior class to filling four next year,” he says. Participating students in Tiny House New Hampshire from left to right, Jamie Sherman, Brian Covey, and Collin Brennan. Source: New Hampshire Business Review.

Tiny House Big Money

To help raise awareness and boost interest in this student-driven initiative, NHHBA teamed up with the NH Lottery. The state-run lottery system launched a new scratch ticket game in January, “Tiny House Big Money,” which featured one of the tiny houses as a second chance prize.

Oxland Builders Gives Back

Sawler, who attended the Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter, recognizes the value of the trade education he received. “It’s truly an honor to have an opportunity to give back to the community,” he says. Thanks to Tiny House New Hampshire, many students have a renewed interest in the construction and trade industry and we hope that continues well into the future,” he adds.

Oxland Builders, NH

Oxland Builders is a design-build firm that specializes in home building and remodeling, and custom woodworking, and cabinetry. It is honored to support efforts to develop the next generation of home builders. For further information, contact us at 603.772.2260 or visit us online.