Vancouver office building sets example for rapid timber construction

A new Vancouver office building known as oN5 was quickly constructed with entirely insulated, prefabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT), creating a living case study on the possibilities for urban infill projects built with innovative mass timber. Photo courtesy Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

A new Vancouver office building known as oN5 was quickly constructed with entirely insulated, prefabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT), creating a living case study on the possibilities for urban infill projects built with innovative mass timber.

Named for its location near the intersection of Ontario Street and East Fifth Avenue, the top three storeys of this four-storey building are constructed entirely out of cross-laminated timber.

An advanced adhesive system joins the CLT panels together without the need for beams, making the material comparable to concrete in terms of interior clear heights, flexible layout, and efficient construction.

The building process required information modelling and virtual construction work, due to the challenging zero-lot-line site. The installation of the CLT building structure was completed in 15 days, using prefabricated panels over conventional methods and therefore limiting the impacts of construction on local residents and businesses while delivering the same benefits. The building includes instruments which monitor its performance, creating a living case study on the possibilities for urban infill projects built with innovative mass timber.

oN5 incorporates several sustainable building technologies, enabling it to be comfortable, affordable, and ecological at the same time. The building meets Passive House standards for energy efficiency while also employing state-of-the-art seismic devices for resisting earthquakes.

More than $1.2 million in funding for the oN5 project came through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction Through Wood (GCWood) program, which encourages low-carbon construction through innovative uses of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as low-rise non-residential buildings, tall wood buildings, and bridges.

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