Ontario expanding mass timber construction to 18 storeys

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Expanding the use of advanced wood construction like mass timber will help build homes faster, reduce costs and support forestry jobs, technology, engineering design and manufacturing, according to the Ontario government. Currently, Ontario’s Building Code allows encapsulated mass timber construction buildings up to 12-storeys tall. The province intends to amend the Building Code in the coming months to permit encapsulated mass timber construction up to 18 storeys.

“The use of mass timber can help the sector build more homes faster, keep the cost of construction down and boost our northern economy,” said Paul Calandra, minister of municipal affairs and housing. “As we work to cut red tape in order to increase housing supply, we’re taking an innovative approach to help our partners get shovels in the ground.”

LimberlostEncapsulated Mass Timber Construction is used for quieter and faster construction with the same fire and structural protection as other building methods. Provincial initiatives that support advanced wood construction will encourage housing construction offsite and into factories, supporting more efficient and rapid construction from renewable forestry resources grown and harvested in Ontario by Ontario workers for Ontario families.

limberlost“Our abundant natural resources and highly-skilled forestry sector are helping to meet the demand for housing across the province,” said Graydon Smith, minister of natural resources and forestry. “Advanced wood construction will help bring long-term investments to northern communities that will create new, good-paying jobs while increasing housing supply and supporting Ontario’s largest renewable natural resource sector.”

Ontario participated in a national consultation on proposed changes to Ontario’s Building Code that would allow for expanded use of mass timber in the province. The feedback will be analyzed by a multi-province Joint Task Group that will share a report of these findings that will be used to implement this change.

LimberlostOntario’s forestry sector generates about $21 billion in annual revenue and supports more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs in communities across the province.

In January and February 2024, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec participated in a national consultation on potential building code changes to safely expand the use of Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction.

“The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) applauds the government’s decision to expand the use of advanced wood construction, like mass timber, allowing for buildings up to 18 storeys” said Ian Dunn, OFIA President and CEO.


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