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January 9, 2020

Mass timber adoption rises as B.C. builders look for speed and sustainability


A new year brings new beginnings, and for Penticton-based Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., that includes building on key developments from last year.

With its expertise in cross-laminated timbers, it welcomed changes in the B.C. Building Code last March allowing for mass-timber construction in buildings of up to 12 storeys. Canada’s national building code will adopt similar rules this year.

Structurlam recently won a contract for the first project approved under the new B.C. code, a tower DB Services of Victoria Inc. is building in the Vancouver Island municipality of Langford. Other projects are in the planning stages, including one by Adera Development Corp. that includes mass timber as a component of its Quiet Home approach to construction, and an 83-room addition to the Ramada Kelowna Hotel & Conference Centre by RPB Hotels & Resorts of Penticton.

“I have never seen a code adoption happen so quickly in any of the other sectors I’ve been involved with,” remarked Structurlam CEO Hardy Wentzel.

The changes in Canada parallel similar changes in the U.S., which now allows mass-timber construction in buildings of up to 18 storeys. Structurlam, which expanded its workforce to 290 with the addition of 70 people over the past year as capacity at its four B.C. plants grew, is building a fifth facility in Conway, Arkansas, to serve the U.S. That facility will open in 2021.

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