Ravi Kahlon, the mass timber lead parliamentary secretary with Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development touring a mass timber facility under construction in North Vancouver. (Adera Development photo)

B.C. government focused on mass timber industry to meet CleanBC goals

Mass timber lauded for sustainability, jobs potential

A move by the province to promote the use of mass timber in new buildings is being lauded by one B.C.-based manufacturer.

Last week, the provincial government appointed a ministry of forests representative to promote the expansion of mass timber use in B.C. buildings. He will work with local governments, the construction industry and mass timber producers to develop the market.

Mass timber is a relatively recent technology originating out of Europe that’s touted as a sustainable building material. The most common is cross-laminated timbers made with layers of wood glued together in alternating sizes, which give it high structural stability.

Structurlam CEO Hardy Wentzel said the government has been committed to mass timber for more than 10 years, so this latest announcement is a natural continuation of that work.

On top of being made from a renewable resource, mass timber buildings can be constructed up to 25 per cent faster than those using steel and concrete, according to Wentzel.

Mass timber supply needs to increase to meet demand for new buildings. There are a few mass timber producers based in B.C., but the rest of the building demand is being filled by European manufacturers.

Transportation across continents severely decreases any carbon emissions savings that come from using wood. To truly be sustainable as the provincial government and others claim, the product should be harvested, manufactured and built in B.C., Wentzel said. Structurlam buys B.C. lumber, but some other manufacturers import wood.

Building codes are the other impediment, Wentzel said.

Federal and provincial codes have been updated to include mass timber products, and 13 municipalities in B.C. have also jumped on board. Wentzel hopes other jurisdictions will update their codes to match.

When existing code doesn’t account for new material, building owners end up paying more, in time and extra filing requirements to prove the materials are safe. Vancouver-based owners and architects have been instrumental in taking on this cost to push mass timber code forward, the most notable being Brock House on the UBC campus.

Premier Horgan talked about economic advancement in a recent announcement, suggesting that expanding mass timber in B.C. will mean more jobs, in manufacturing, construction, and forestry.

RELATED: Cold comfort from U.S. softwood lumber decision, B.C. industry says

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Constructionforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Tofino considers beach fire ban after tumultuous summer

“It’s a juggling act, constantly.”

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Vancouver Island Indigenous leaders supportive of B.C.’s new plan for old forest preservation

More than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound mapped for immediate old growth harvesting deferral

HISTORY COLUMN: Reflecting on the 32nd anniversary of Canada’s apology to Japanese-Canadians

Japanese-Canadians an integral part of Tofino and Ucluelet’s history.

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read