B.C. commits to using wood in major projects

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Two major B.C. projects will be required to use engineered wood as the provincial government moves to help revive the forest industry. Premier John Horgan identified the new the new Royal BC Museum in Victoria and the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver as the first two of the $20 billion in public infrastructure being built in the province.

The renewal initiative follows the province’s earlier announcement this year about changing the building code to allow for construction of wood buildings up to 12-storeys using fire-resistant engineered wood.

“This is the beginning of the change our forest industry needs,” Premier Horgan said. “We have committed $20 billion in public infrastructure over the next three years – schools, housing, hospitals and more. I have directed that all these projects consider the use of engineered wood as a primary building material, whenever and wherever possible.”

Horgan said the industry is facing unique challenges with reduced timber supply, lower prices and record wildfire seasons over the past two summers. This initiative will focus specifically on ways to increase value-added production from a reduced wood fibre supply.

“Fibre costs are going up. Lumber prices are going down. Timber supply is declining and they are all happening at the same time,” he said. “The challenges are not new but they are stark and they are significant.”

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