Mass timber construction

The Province of British Columbia announced proposed changes to the building code that will expand the use of mass timber to build taller buildings and to make stronger communities.

These changes will allow buildings, such as schools, shopping centres and housing to be built faster, leading to a better environment and economy.

The proposed code changes to the British Columbia Building and Fire Codes (BC Codes 2024) would enable taller mass timber buildings, as many as 18 storeys for residential and office buildings, instead of the current 12-storey limit. The changes would also allow for more exposed mass timber or fewer layers of encapsulation in buildings, depending on a building’s height, and allow more building types, such as schools, shopping centres and industrial facilities, to be built using mass timber.

The proposed changes are posted for public comment on the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes website. After the comment period, the BC government will decide on what changes are ready to move forward and what changes, if any, need further technical analysis. Key changes are expected to be adopted as soon as spring 2024.

In-demand skills to support the construction industry

As the largest trades training provider in Western Canada, BCIT is at the forefront of providing training to ensure skilled workers have the in-demand skills to advance their trades career, while supporting emerging opportunities across the workforce.

Mass timber is a category of wood-based building materials that uses timber, a sustainable and renewable material, as the main raw material for structural elements that are prefabricated off-site under controlled conditions. With the proposed changes to the building code and a shift to a green economy, the mass timber industry is expected to grow with strong demands for skilled talent.

Dr. Guido Wimmers, Dean, School of Construction and the Environment, said, “This announcement supports the sector to fill current knowledge gaps in industry and combat skilled-worker challenges, while also supporting clean growth and renewable resources for the economy.”

LISTEN: Dr. Guido Wimmers discusses BC’s expanding use of mass timber in buildings on CBC On the Coast with Gloria Macarenko.

Get skilled in mass timber construction

As a leader in mass timber education, BCIT is proud to be supporting the construction industry in forging a greener environmental, economic, and social future. BCIT offers these programs to equip skilled workers in upgrading their knowledge and skills in the mass timber industry:

Learn more about mass timber training available at BCIT.