VICTORIA, BC: Forest communities will see more jobs and opportunity from B.C.’s proactive adoption of building code changes that allow the safe construction of taller wood buildings.
“Companies like Structurlam are leading the way with innovative engineered wood products that create jobs in the forest sector and opportunity for people in communities throughout B.C.,” said Premier John Horgan. “Changes to the national building code that allow for taller wood buildings take effect next year, but we’re not waiting to get started. Our government is ready to work with communities to build safe, secure and green tall wood buildings that will create jobs, grow B.C.’s value-added sector and realize our low-carbon future.”
Eligible local governments throughout B.C. are invited to become early adopters of mass-timber technology for construction of buildings up to 12 storeys, up from the current allowance of six storeys.
A mass timber building is one where the primary load-bearing structure is made of either solid or engineered wood. Encapsulated mass timber is where the mass timber components are surrounded by fire-resistant materials like drywall.
Mass timber buildings can be one-fifth the weight of comparable concrete buildings, while still meeting performance standards for safety, structural resilience and fire protection. Studies have shown the environmental benefits of using mass timber.
The estimated carbon benefit from the wood used in the Brock Commons building was equivalent to taking 511 cars off the road for a year.
The federal 2020 National Building Code is expected to allow mass timber construction up to 12 storeys, and will be reflected in the next edition of the BC Building Code. The technology has been reviewed by the National Building Code committees, as well as by experts such as fire safety specialists, structural engineers, architects, scientists and builders.
Creating jobs, acting on climate change and building a sustainable economy are shared priorities with the BC Green Party caucus and are part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.