The Ontario government will lift its height limit on wood-frame construction and allow wood-frame buildings up to six storeys starting Jan. 1, 2015, when changes to the provincial building code take effect. Currently, wood-frame construction is capped at four storeys.
“In 2012, I introduced a Private Member’s Bill to allow for six-storey wood frame construction in Ontario,” says Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan. “It is gratifying to see Ontario listening to the needs of Northern communities with today’s announcement. The goal of increasing the use of wood in Ontario’s construction industry has been achieved.”
Ontario’s rigorous regulations for wood-frame construction include new safety requirements such as stairwells with non-combustible materials and combustion-resistant roofs.
“Building Code changes to mid-rise wood construction will give builders and the public even safer, more flexible building options,” says Ted McMeekin, minister of municipal affairs and housing. “Our made-in-Ontario model for mid-rise wood provides the highest requirements for fire safety in Canada.”
Ontario follows B.C. in permitting wood-frame construction up to six storeys. More than 50 wood-frame buildings have been constructed in B.C. since the western province changed its building code in 2009.