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Feds to fund Mass Timber Modular System Project

July 22, 2022  By  Jennifer Ellson

Photo: Annex Business Media.

The Canadian government has announced it is providing over $110,000 to the Mass Timber Modular System Project led by EllisDon.

The contribution is funded through the Green Construction through Wood program, which encourages greater use of wood in construction projects and supports Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Mass timber presents Canada with a significant opportunity to lower the emissions profile of Canada’s buildings sector. By supporting this work, the Government of Canada is helping build a greener future across the country, while accelerating economic opportunities in low-carbon building products,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources.

EllisDon has designed and constructed a prototype of a mass timber–based volumetric modular system that can be used in the delivery of various residential occupancies, including affordable housing, student housing, hotels and market housing sectors. In modular construction, components are built offsite into large volumes and then assembled onsite; this approach results in reduced on-site activity for the contractor, which in turn minimizes disruption and noise to neighbouring areas.


“We are moving toward a more sustainable future, and it’s important that we find innovative solutions to decarbonize the building sector, improve housing supply and increase the productivity of offsite construction methods. We are thrilled to work with the Government of Canada; its support with this funding will contribute to advancing the modular construction industry,” said EllisDon’s Vincent Davenport, director of building and material sciences.

The project is examining the benefits of using mass timber in a modular application and is quantifying the efficiencies gained in production as well as the overall embodied carbon benefits over traditional materials. Not only does mass timber have environmental and production benefits, its incorporation in modular construction methods has also inspired new and creative architectural styles.

EllisDon is also considering what this project could mean for affordable housing. The company has undertaken significant market analysis for affordable housing to understand the outlook for potential modular projects in the coming years and to align this project’s outcomes with Canada’s National Housing Strategy.

A full-scale mock-up of the project has recently been completed at EllisDon’s fabrication facility in Stoney Creek, Ontario, with the overall project set to be finalized later this year.

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