Québec Premier Phillipe Couillard recently announced the provincial government’s change to regulation so buildings up to 12-storeys can be built with lumber.
After a consultation from Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ), the provincial agency responsible for the building code, and research institute FPInnovations (FPI), the province decided to make the change to help promote the use of wood in construction.
Together, the two groups published “Bâtiments de Construction Massive en Bois D’au Plus 12 étages” (“Construction of Mass Timber Buildings Up to 12 Storeys), which outlines the technical principles required to design and construct wooden buildings up to those heights.
“We are very proud to have contributed the scientific expertise necessary to enable the Government of Québec to develop this manual,” said FPI’s CEO, Pierre Lapointe. “The Québec construction industry now has the knowledge to design and construct buildings to the highest possible standards of safety using wood—an abundant, renewable natural resource, and a cornerstone of the Québec economy.”
Canadian and international research shows it is possible to construct safe and secure wooden buildings more than six storeys tall. Rather than using light wood framings, mass timber construction materials must be used as cross-laminated timber (CLT).
In 2011, FPI published a technical guide presenting design and construction principles when using CLT. In 2013, testing performed by the National Research Council in Ottawa confirmed this type of construction met the required safety specifications. Then FPI published the “Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wooden Buildings in Canada” in 2014, which provides principles for the design of wooden buildings greater than 12 storeys. After all of this research, Québec has seen an increase in wooden construction over the past year and a local consortium announced the development of a 13-storey wooden residential building in Québec City.