Provincial Government Increases Height Allowance for Mass Timber Buildings

The provincial government has announced that it plans to amend the Ontario Building Code to permit mass timber structures as tall as 18-storeys (with the previous maximum being 12). As the architect of several major mass timber projects currently under construction in Ontario, including Limberlost Place at George Brown College (JV with Acton Ostry Architects Inc.), this is an exciting update in the way of sustainable building material governance.

Prior to Limberlost Place, the maximum storeys for a tall wood building in Ontario was 6. For Limberlost Place to have been approved for construction, while maintaining its proposed 10-storey design, provincial building code requirements were changed. By preserving the 10-storeys and officially attaining “tall wood building” status, the project also became eligible for funding—the Green Construction through Wood Program offered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Since that time, we have witnessed a boom in mass timber projects not only in the GTA, but across Canada.

This regulatory amendment represents the exact type of change that our team hoped would occur following the positive example set by Limberlost Place, with regards to factors such as design innovation, carbon sequestration, construction site efficiency, and use of nationally sourced structural elements, to name a few.

Learn more by reading the following blogTO article and this Globe & Mail article.

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