World’s tallest hybrid wood building: Vancouver’s 18-storey student residence

7 things to know

A construction worker helps to assemble engineered mass timber on upper floors of Brock Commons Tallwood House.

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Construction at Brock Commons Tallwood House, Vancouver
Photo: Naturally.wood

  1. The mass timber frame was assembled in just over 9 weeks
  2. With conventional materials, framing would have taken six to eight months, some three to four times longer. From start to finish, it took about two years to complete the project. In September 2017, over 400 students moved into Brock Commons Tallwood House, located on the campus of the University of British Columbia.
    Check out a time lapse of the Brock Commons construction.

  3. It’s a hybrid, built of engineered mass timber and concrete
  4. Engineered mass timber is made of layers of wood, connected by glue, nails or wooden dowels. It is incredibly strong, stable and rigid while remaining very lightweight. Concrete was used for the main floor and the two stairwells.

  5. Extensive testing confirms that the building meets building codes
  6. The building was tested for structural performance, fire prevention, energy efficiency, vibration and noise levels. Timber chars on the outside while retaining strength and burning slowly at a predictable rate. The highly compartmentalized building design keeps fire from spreading.

  7. Building with wood is environmentally friendly and affordable
  8. In most applications, wood is more affordable and lightweight than other construction materials. It requires less energy to manufacture and stores more carbon than traditional materials. Tall wood buildings also conserve energy in heating and cooling. The net effect is that wood construction mitigates climate change.

  9. Guide for architects, engineers, developers and other building professionals
  10. The Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada, published by FPInnovations, helps the building industry to meet tall wood building requirements in the National Building Code of Canada. The guide was funded by Natural Resources Canada, which also contributed $2.3 million to the Brock Commons Tallwood House.

  11. The project can be adapted for future tall wood projects in Canada
  12. Brock Commons showcases innovative materials, technology and design that can be applied to other tall wood buildings projects across Canada. This project and others like it have great potential to expand the market for Canadian wood products internationally.

  13. Apply for funding to encourage greater use of wood in construction
  14. The Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) Program funds tall wood demonstration projects that showcase innovative mass timber products and systems. Goals include boosting the forest products and construction industries while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies and non-profit organizations may apply.

For more information:

GCWood Program
nrcan.gcwood-cvbois.rncan@canada.ca