British Columbia approves 12-storey wood buildings

The construction of 12-storey mass timber buildings will be approved in the National Building Code of British Columbia (B.C.) in 2020, according to its Premier, Mr John Horgan.

“We believe that the work has been done,” Horgan explained. “We’ve got a practical example of more than 12 storeys at Brock Common – 18 storeys – so we’re prepared, we’re confident that the work has been done on the safety, the work has been done on the fire aspects.”

More housing can be built quickly because large sections of tall wood buildings can be manufactured in a plant, and then assembled on site. This will speed up construction time, while also reducing green-house gas emissions.

Ultimately, this policy change will make B.C.’s forest sector stronger and healthier by adding more value to wood products and encouraging more local wood processing.

Horgan said, “We have had two of the worst fire seasons in our history in 2017 and 2018 – two million hectares of merchantable timber up in a puff of smoke. We have less wood today than we did 20 years ago. So, if we’re going to continue to be a province that depends on forestry – which we will be – we need to make sure that we’re adding more value, not more volume to our production.”

According to Mr Hardy Wentzel, CEO of mass timber manufacturer Structurlam, the company is very fortunate to be igniting a mass timber revolution across Canada and across the US.

“In addition to the commitment to B.C.’s economy, our ability to fuel this economy and create jobs through innovation and mass timber, I think there’s a lot more ahead than what’s already in the rear-view mirror,” he concluded.

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