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BC will be the first province with timber construction up to 12 storeys

Premier John Horgan was in Okanagan Falls on Wednesday to announce big changes to B.C.’s construction industry.

The provincial building code will now allow the construction of taller mass timber buildings up to 12 storeys, increased from the current allowance of six.

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

In 2017, B.C. became home to the world's tallest hybrid mass-timber building when the Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia was completed.

<who> Photo Credit: YouTube Screen Shot.

<who> Photo Credit: YouTube Screen Shot.

The estimated carbon benefit from the wood used in the Brock Commons building was equivalent to taking 511 cars off the road for a year.

According to the provincial government, mass timber buildings can be one-fifth of the weight of comparable concrete buildings, but still meet performance standards for safety, structural resilience, and fire protection.

"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," said John Horgan.

“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, BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

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