Thirteen B.C. communities are adopting innovative mass timber technology for taller wood buildings this year. The communities include University of BC, City of North Vancouver, Township of Langley, Kelowna, Surrey, Richmond, Mission, Abbotsford and five more on Vancouver Island.
They have all signed on to become early adopters to bring mass timber technology for the construction of new buildings as high as 12-storeys. These communities represent 35 per cent of all housing starts in 2018 in B.C.
“Building with B.C. wood is good for people, communities, our economy and our climate. It will create thousands of jobs, reduce carbon pollution and support forest-dependent communities,” said Premier John Horgan. “These 13 communities will help us get there faster.”
Forest communities throughout B.C. will see economic benefits of increased production from B.C.’s mass timber manufacturers as they develop value-added timber products and revitalize this cornerstone industry.
Abbotsford-based StructureCraft engineers and builds mass timber structures, manufacturing and prefabricating timber products using wood from B.C., including beetle-kill wood.
“We are being approached by developers and architects from all over North America pursuing mass timber for projects that would traditionally be built with steel and concrete,” said Gerald Epp, president, StructureCraft. “And a lot of the wood fibre for this is coming from B.C.”
To be eligible to sign on as early adopters, local governments currently regulated under the B.C. Building Code need to have:
- support from their city council and the planning, building and fire departments;
- Level 3 certified building officials; and
- land use bylaws for buildings higher than six storeys.
The early adopter communities will provide feedback on changes ahead of the next major code change.
The 2020 National Building Code is expected to allow mass timber construction up to 12 storeys. This will be reflected in the next edition of the BC Building Code.