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18-storey wood building nears completion

Vancouver - The world's tallest wood building under construction at the University of British Columbia is on track for completion in 2017. The final wood panel on the 18-storey UBC Brock Commons building was installed this week by lead engineer Paul Fast of Fast+Epp Structural Engineers. 

August 11, 2016  By  Maria Church

The building uses cross-laminated timber (CLT) and wood posts for support, giving it LEGO-like modularity, Fast said in a news release. “The building blends the simplicity and modularity of LEGO with the concrete-like strength of cross laminated timber to help ensure structural efficiency which in the past has been one of the major barriers to building tall with wood. Our solutions effectively address that concern.”

The CLT and beams were manufactured by Structurlam, a mass-timber manufacturer based in Penticton, B.C.

Jennifer Cover, PE, executive director of the U.S. WoodWorks program, said the project represents a significant step forward in the evolution of tall wood buildings.

“The extensive modeling, testing and engineering done for this project have generated knowledge and understanding of wood systems that pushes North America to the forefront of innovation, as will the design team’s living laboratory approach. But beyond the fact that it’s the tallest contemporary wood building, beyond the carbon benefits, and beyond the achievement of erecting a floor each week, is a remarkably elegant structural design. It’s a marriage of innovation and simplicity that’s truly inspirational.”


With the structure complete after just nine months of construction, work can now begin on the interior. 

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