Journal of Commerce – April 11, 2016

B.C.’s focus on heavy timber and mass wood construction is reshaping the construction industry, creating a new type of construction expertise, while also showing the private sector that mid and highrise wood structures can make economic sense.

“Since the beginning of this year, we are starting to see more interest from developers in these projects and the City of Vancouver is also interested in them,” said Eric Karsh, structural engineer and co-founder of Equilibrium Consulting Inc., a Vancouver firm that specializes in large timber, engineered structures.”We are now just beginning to see developers seriously consider eight-to-10 storey solid wood buildings.”

The City of Vancouver is providing equivalencies such as reduced parking for the construction of wood buildings, which can translate into a plus for developers, he said, and there is the growing realization that the prefabrication approach offered by mass timber construction can expedite construction and reduce costs.”We are developing details that show these buildings are cost efficient enough and developers are beginning to take notice,” he said. That interest is a change from earlier attempts to kick-start private sector involvement.

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