Why more B.C. communities are building with wood

At a time when engineers, designers and builders are looking for eco-friendly solutions, a centuries-old building material — wood — is increasing in popularity.

(NC) At a time when engineers, designers and builders are looking for eco-friendly solutions, a centuries-old building material — wood — is increasing in popularity. Thanks to technological advancements, wood’s strength, durability and proven safety record is making it a high-performing sustainable option. And, it has the added benefit of being a 100 per cent renewable building material.

These are some of the compelling reasons communities across British Columbia are building with wood — from multi-family housing projects to civic buildings, fire halls, community centres, schools, health-care facilities and more. And as a locally-sourced product that grows our economy, building with wood can help create more jobs in our communities.

Here are some of the top performance benefits of building with wood:

Strength and durability. Next-generation wood products, also known as mass timber, offer exceptional stability and strength and have made wood a viable alternative to steel or concrete in many building applications.

Fire control. All buildings must conform to the same safety standard, whatever the material type used in construction. Current building codes recognize the safety of wood construction. When exposed to fire, mass timber chars on the outside, which forms an insulating layer protecting the interior from further damage. In the event of fire, the structure maintains its integrity, allowing occupants time to evacuate. And mass timber is fully recognized by the B.C. Building Code as safe for tall building construction.

Seismic performance. Earthquakes are common in B.C., with an average of 3,000 reported each year. Light-frame wood and mass timber hybrid structures can meet or exceed our province’s seismic requirements.

An earthquake’s destructive force is proportional to a building’s mass. Because wood is substantially lighter than steel or concrete, timber buildings can, with the right design, fare better if faced with a seismic event. And wood-framed buildings’ inherent flexibility can help reduce structural damage during an earthquake.

Learn more about wood’s performance benefits and find free resources at naturallywood.com.