Ontario investing in mass timber construction

Canadian Forest Industries Staff
April 25, 2018
By Canadian Forest Industries Staff
April 25, 2018 - Ontario is investing $7.8 million in research, education and construction of tall wood buildings so more wood products can be used in new homes and taller buildings through the new Mass Timber Program.

The use of wood in infrastructure can help address climate change by storing carbon in buildings and by avoiding greenhouse gas pollution associated with other carbon-intensive materials.

“Ontario’s Mass Timber Program will help make us a world leader in innovative new wood products and tall wood frame building construction,” Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Nathalie Des Rosiers. “Our government is committed to moving beyond six-storey structures and through our new centre for innovation, and partnerships with educational institutions here in Ontario, we know we can build a future that is environmentally friendly, innovative and safe.”

Ontario's Mass Timber Program has been developed to promote the use of wood in taller buildings by:

  • Providing funding for research and development of innovative wood products, undertaken by academic and private research organizations, to support potential wood-related changes to the Building Code and other standards 
  • Funding post-secondary education institutions to provide skills development and technical training and to create tools relating to using wood in construction
  • Supporting the establishment of a tall wood research institute in Ontario, in partnership with researchers, universities, and colleges
  • Demonstrating the successful use of mass timber in design, construction, and the fire safety of taller wooden buildings (seven storeys and higher) including four tall wood demonstration projects.
“In 2012 I introduced a Private Member’s Bill to allow for six-storey wood frame construction in Ontario, and this was adopted into the Building Code in 2015,” said Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “The expanded use of this sustainable resource in the construction industry is important for northern Ontario’s economy, and compliments the work my ministry is doing on how we can allow for tall wood buildings higher than six storeys to be built in the province.”

In 2015, Ontario made changes to its Building Code related to the use of wood-frame construction in mid-rise construction of up to six storeys. Numerous projects have been designed and built to these new Building Code requirements and more are coming.

In addition to environmental benefits, mass timber structures will have lower building costs due to quicker construction times, while maintaining fire safety standards.

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