Surrey has been chosen as one of 13 B.C. communities to adopting “innovative and safe” mass-timber technology for buildings up to 12 storeys, says the province.
The initiative for wood buildings, according to a release from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on Tuesday (Sept. 24), are “faster to build, better for the environment and create new jobs and opportunities for the forest communities in the province.”
Mass-timber buildings have the primary load-bearing structure made of solid or engineered wood, the ministry said. The buildings can be one-fifth of the weight of comparable concrete buildings, “while still meeting performance standards for safety, structural resilience and fire protection.”
“Building with B.C. wood is good for people, communities, our economy and our climate. It will create thousands of jobs, reduce carbon pollution and support forest-dependent communities,” said Premier John Horgan. “These 13 communities will help us get there faster.”
The other 12 municipalities are City of North Vancouver, Township of Langley, Colwood, Abbotsford, Campbell River, Langford, Richmond, Kelowna, Mission, Victoria and Saanich.
The province said the 13 communities represent 35 per cent of all housing starts in 2018 in B.C.
The early adopter communities, the ministry said, will provide feedback on changes ahead of the next major code change. The ministry says the technology has been reviewed by the National Building Code committees as well as by experts, such as fire safety specialists, structural engineers, architects, scientists and builders.
The province says mass timber buildings can be prefabricated off-site and “can be put in place quicky,” which will allow for people to move into homes faster.
Mass timber construction has a “reduced carbon footprint when sourced from sustainably managed forests,” which will help the government reach its CleanBC goals of reducing carbon emissions, the province said.
The CleanBC plan was developed to help achieve the province’s climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2030.