As reported in the Vancouver Sun, a new building is being built at the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, June, 13, 2016. The 18-storey Brock Commons is intended to show developers and the public that wood can be equally as effective as steel or concrete, better for the environment and support the country’s forestry industry.
He said he expects local governments and First Nations to approve more wood buildings for family apartments, student residences and business locations.
Horgan made the announcement at Structurlam, a timber production company in Okanagan Falls near Penticton that has been a North American leader in wood products used in buildings.
“We need to get more value out of every log,” he said. “It’s cost-effective. It’s environmentally sensitive and it’s putting British Columbians to work with a B.C. product.”
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 timber components are surrounded by fire-resistant materials like drywall.
Hardy Wentzel, chief executive officer of Structurlam, said the height change allows the company to continue being an innovator on mass timber products and building designs.
He said the company uses B.C. wood, including spruce, pine and fir.
Canada is a leader in wood technology, using different forms of timber and lumber to create products that can be formed into pre-fabricated wood used as beams, columns, walls, arches, floors and roofs, says the Canadian Wood Council.
Wentzel said mass timber buildings are safe and faster to build, but the long-standing tradition of concrete buildings holds strong.
“The builders may be set in their ways, but when they actually do the economics of building 12-storey wood buildings versus a 12-storey concrete building, and they do a full cradle to grave analysis, they’re going to find this is the better way to build,” he said.
Eric Andreasen, vice-president of sales and marketing at Vancouver building company Adera, welcomed the change, which he said will likely convince more developers to consider wood buildings.
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