Ontario gives go-ahead to six-storey wood buildings in January 2015

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                Residential construction associations endorse Building Code decision

    Ontario Construction Report staff writer

    Ontario’s government has approved the construction of six-storey wood frame buildings starting in January 2015, and the news has received positive reception from the province’s residential builders.

    The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) said they welcome the decision.

    “Communities across Ontario, from London to Thunder Bay, will all benefit from the housing,  rental and office opportunities that this building code decision provides, and we look forward to seeing Ontario’s first six-storey wood projects completed in 2015,” said OHBA CEO Joe Vaccaro.

    The building industry has long advocated for Ontario to adopt an Ontario Building Code six-storey wood standard, with the current  wood-frame construction  restriction at four storeys. British Columbia is the first province to permit six-storey wood buildings and since 2009 has benefited from over 100 building projects, creating over 5,000 new housing and rental options for B.C. residents.

    “The amendment will result in the construction of safe, affordable mid-rise buildings that  will bring new housing and rental options to our communities and vibrancy to our streets,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “More importantly, we believe this proposal will help the cities and towns in the GTA region achieve their Growth Plan goals of planning for the up to 100,000 people and 50,000 jobs that come to the GTA every year.”

    In May 2013, the  associations’ planning and economic rationales were outlined in the  report,  Unlocking the Potential for Mid-Rise Buildings: Six Storey Wood Structures, commissioned by BILD and authored by former City of Toronto chief planner Paul Bedford.

    The report showed that potential development opportunities that are well-served by existing infrastructure and transit could be unlocked with the approval of six-storey mid-rise wood buildings, helping to meet the demand of the region’s increasing population, and offering a variety of sizes and design features for people of all ages.

    “Allowing six-storey wood  structures in Ontario will generate new innovated design options from the  building community, and we should recognize that this is an important and necessary amendment to support Ontario’s growing communities,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall.

     

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