BTY Group cost analysis finds substituting wood for steel in building construction cuts costs

Posted by Rumin Mann
April 1st, 2011

An analysis of six-storey wood-framed buildings by cost and project management consultancy BTY Group indicates that replacing steel frames with wood is saving more than 10 per cent in construction costs on some building projects in the Vancouver area and would spur comparable savings in the Ontario market.

BTY had previously prepared a report commissioned by the Urban Development Institute comparing wood-framed design with reinforced concrete and light steel frame equivalents after a 2009 amendment to the BC Building Code permitted construction of wood-framed buildings up to six storeys tall. An updated study provides cost analysis supplied by Vancouver area design firms.

The poster child for B.C. wood buildings is the six-storey Remy condominium in Richmond. The Oris Development Corporation saw hard costs for the project drop 12 per cent to around $35 million when a design specifying a light steel and concrete frame was switched to wood.

“Wood-framed buildings are showing an 11 per cent cost reduction over concrete or steel frame, although that will vary according to location and other building characteristics,” says Neill McGowan a quantity surveyor and partner with BTY Group’s Vancouver office. “The cost level is consistent with results we’re seeing on taller wood buildings in the Vancouver area.”

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