What is Sim[PLY]?

Anomura Housing Society has partnered with Clemson University to commercialize its innovative new building system called Sim[PLY] for use in Canada. Responding to the need for affordable and sustainable housing, the Sim[PLY] framing system uses CNC-fabricated structural components made from common sheets of plywood.[See footnote below].

No nail guns, saws, no dangerous equipment on site

Combining the best aspects of pre-fab with the best of onsite construction and designed for non-destructive disassembly, the Sim[PLY] system responds to our changing economy, climate, and concepts about housing.

At its heart,Sim[PLY] is a customizable kit-of-parts, with pieces fastened together like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle and held in place with stainless steel cable ties. The pre-designed and fabricated components are flat-packed and shipped to site, where housing can be assembled by largely unskilled labour using easy to follow pictographic instructions – allowing the average home owner, family and friends to safely participate in the assembly of their own home. If and when changes are desired, disassembly and reuse of parts virtually eliminate landfill waste.

Wood is the ideal choice for this light-frame system due to its renewability, low-carbon footprint, ease-of-use, minimal weight and affordability. The properties of plywood allow for more predictable behaviour including greater dimensional stability. Testing has demonstrated rigorous code compliance, and superior thermal performance over conventional framing.

Clemson successfully competed in the US Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon with a 1000 square foot 3-bedroom prototype model called Indigo Pine West. The home was assembled onsite by students in nine days without contractor assistance, disassembled in three days, shipped back to South Carolina, and then re-assembled and re-purposed for student housing at an agricultural research centre operated by Clemson University.

Sim[PLY]’s inherent flexibility also allows for a myriad of choices for foundation and roof designs, exterior cladding and interior finishing.

Applications and markets

  • Infill housing - laneway and backyard suites: Municipalities across BC are updating their zoning regulations to increase urban density. School Districts needing affordable housing for teachers are considering Sim[PLY] construction on peripheral lands on school properties.

  • Quick rebuild solutions for housing destroyed by wildfires and floods.

  • “No-trace” buildings on environmentally sensitive sites, such as the Agricultural Land Reserve.

  • Culturally responsive housing that meets the needs of Indigenous communities.

Anomura’s volunteer team of professionals are providing leadership and expertise to ensure the Sim[PLY] System is designed for our northern climate, meets and exceeds BC building standards and local building codes, and is adapted for use in urban, rural and isolated areas across BC.

The Anomura Team

  • Franc D'Ambrosio, Principal, D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism*

  • Terry Bergen, Managing Principal, RJC Engineers, Building Science & Restoration*

  • Leon Plett, Managing Principal, RJC Engineers, Structural Engineering

  • Jamie VanDenbossche, Associate Director, Camosun Innovates*

  • Kristina Leach, PhD Architecture*

  • Susan Abells, Management Consultant*

  • Pierre Iachetti, Strategic Advisor, Cleantech Community Gateway and PhD student at UVIC Civil Engineering*

  • Dr. Sarah William, Senior Policy Advisor, First Nations Health Authority*

  • Michael Henry, Dean of Business and Economics, Thompson Rivers University

  • James Munro, Director of Real Estate, Greater Victoria Housing Society.

* Member of Anomura Housing Society’s Board of Directors.

We wish to acknowledge Vancity for their generous pre-development grant that is facilitating our efforts to bring this new building technology to British Columbia.


See: Albright D, Harding D, Pastre D, Heine U, & Blouin V. (2017). Assembling the digital house by hand: Lessons from deep engagement and guiding the experimental impulse. TechnologyôArchitecture + Design, 1:1, 92-106.

See also: Albright D, Blouin V, Harding D, Heine, U, Huette N, & Pastre D. (2017). Sim[PLY]: Sustainable Construction with Prefabricated Plywood Componentry. Procedia Environmental Sciences38, 760-764.