The Burnaby city council, B.C., has decided to not participate in the province’s pilot program that seeks to increase the height of tall wood buildings to 12 storeys, reports Burnaby Now.
Until last year, the B.C. Building Code (BCBC) as well as the National Building Code (NBC) permitted the construction of only six-storey wood buildings, but, the province of British Columbia changed its building code to allow tall wood buildings up to 12 storeys, a year ahead of the anticipated 2020 update to NBC. With that, eligible local governments throughout B.C. had the option to become early adopters of new technologies such as encapsulated mass timber construction (EMTC).
Among other concerns, staff felt “the initiative is premature, as the relevant building codes have not yet been adopted nationally. It is a concerning issue, for example, that the structural portion of the NBC has not been finalized,” city staff wrote in a report. “Therefore, the early adoption initiative shifts undue responsibility for early adoption of this new technology onto local governments. The participating local governments are expected to provide feedback and other information on their EMTC projects to the province. They also said it is “apparent that the primary benefit of this pilot project is to the province.”
The city council has also recently voted to allow the construction of any wood buildings up to six storeys without needing a zoning amendment.