Alberta to allow construction of 12-storey wood buildings

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The government of Alberta has announced that it will allow wood-building construction for up to 12 storeys.

As part of a drive to cut red tape, the province says that it will become the first in Canada to allow wooden buildings of 12 storeys province wide. Builders will be given the chance to take advantage of this change to the Alberta building code in advance of the publication of the next edition of the National Building Code (expected late 2020).

“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We made this change knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”

Wood is also a key part of Toronto’s smart city project launched by Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, with plans eventually for wooden towers of up to 30 storeys, five times the current allowable limit.

Better technology
The decision to allow taller wooden buildings stems from improvements in technology which the province says makes them feasible including better fire protection and wood-product technology.

“BILD Alberta is excited to see the Government of Alberta take steps to modernize construction, reduce red tape and address environmental needs by allowing innovative techniques to deliver the homes and buildings people need,” said Patrick Shaver, chair, BILD Alberta Chair, and president of Avillia Developments. “This provides our industry and member companies with more options in meeting the housing affordability needs of Albertans.” by Steve Randall