City of Vancouver to permit tall wood buildings up to 12 storeys

By / Kenneth Chan

Amendments to the City of Vancouver’s building bylaw will allow developers to pursue mass timber construction of up to 12 storeys for residential and commercial uses.

City council is expected to approve the city staff’s recommended changes on Wednesday, following the recommendations of a staff report that align with the changes last year to the BC building code and the forthcoming changes to the 2020 national building code.

Previously, mass timber construction was limited to just six storeys, but there were some exceptions, specifically the 2017-built, 18-storey UBC Tall Wood Residence, which acted as a government-supported industry pilot to prove the feasibility and benefits of such wooden structures. Up until last year, it was the tallest structure of its kind in the world.

Ever since BC enacted its changes, 13 other municipalities have adopted the building code changes, including Richmond, Surrey, and North Vancouver City.