Construction Students Build a Casita From Ground Up

April 2, 2014 -- Students in CNM’s Construction Technology program are building a 1,074 square-foot, fully-functional residential home, referred to as a “casita,” that will be auctioned off when completed.
July 16, 2015


“It’s a great opportunity for students taking Blueprint Reading, Carpentry Theory and Carpentry Lab courses to get a supervised on-the-job training building an actual house,” said Lino Moya, CNM carpentry instructor.

The students evaluate the design and then frame the floor, walls and roof. Once the basic frame structures are in place, they install the roofing, windows, interior and exterior doors, the exterior and interior sheathing and sheetrock, and they tape and texture the interior walls. They also put in the ceramic and wood flooring, the shelving for closets, kitchen and bath, and the interior trim.

nearlyfinishedhouse.jpgThe casita currently under construction will have two bedrooms, one bath, utility room for a washer and dryer, a kitchen, a dining room and a living room. Features include a metal roof, tankless high-efficiency water heater and advanced energy-saving construction techniques. Every phase of the casita is student-built, from the floor trusses to the roof vent caps.

Moya notes that although the Carpentry program in CNM’s School of Applied Technologies has the primary responsibility for construction and oversight of the project, other programs also get involved.

Students in the Plumbing program design, install and test the plumbing systems, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) students install the heating and air conditioning units. Electrical Trades students wire the home and install the electrical fixtures. Students inlastyearshouse.jpg the Cabinet Making course build and install custom maple cabinets in the kitchen and bath.

“Instructors who work with their students on the casita project are not only full-time instructors but are also licensed contractors in construction, plumbing, mechanical and electrical,” Moya said. “This is important because the casita is not only a valuable learning tool for CNM students, but will one day be a family’s home.”

The casita, which takes two to three terms to build, will be a fully-permitted residential structure through the State of New Mexico Construction Industries Division and is built to the standards prescribed in the Uniform Building Code and will be thoroughly inspected by state inspectors.

Upon completion, it will be offered for sale to the public by way of a sealed bid auction. The buyer will then place it on a permanent foundation anywhere in the state.

The casita the students built last year is now a family's home in Northwest Albuquerque.

Besides building casitas on Main Campus, CNM students also help construct homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity program.