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Penticton  

BC timber builds to get taller

Chelsea Powrie

Premier John Horgan was at the Okanagan Falls Structurlam plant Wednesday to announce changes to the B.C. Building Code to allow the construction of taller mass-timber buildings.

Eligible local governments are now able to approve mass-timber buildings up to 12 storeys, up from the current cap of six.

"Companies like Structurlam are leading the way with innovative engineered wood products that create jobs in the forest sector and opportunity for people in communities throughout B.C.," said Premier John Horgan.

"Changes to the national building code that allow for taller wood buildings take effect next year, but we're not waiting to get started. Our government is ready to work with communities to build safe, secure and green tall wood buildings that will create jobs, grow B.C.'s value-added sector and realize our low-carbon future."

A mass-timber building is one where the primary load-bearing structure is made of either solid or engineered wood.

Structurlam is an industry leader in mass-timber technology, with high-profile projects using their Okanagan-made product locally and around the globe, from the new tower at the Penticton Lakeside Resort to the Microsoft Campus in California.

"Mass timber technology allows faster construction where large sections of a building can be manufactured in a plant and then assembled on site," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "The faster we can deliver the homes that people need, the better for communities right across B.C."

Mass timber buildings can be one-fifth the weight of comparable concrete buildings, while meeting the same safety standards. Environmental benefits include sequestering carbon — the UBC Brock Commons building was equivalent to taking 511 cars off the road for a year.

The changes to the BC Building Code will be brought in alongside federal changes in 2020.



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