Canada set to lead the way
Change in Law
Now under construction, a special change in law means this fantastic Vancouver building is about to claim the title of the world’s timber tower. When complete in 2017, the 18-storey (53m) tower, called Brock Commons, will house hundreds of students at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Competition Already in Design
Unless overtaken by other ambitious timber towers now at design or proposal stage, the CAN$51.5m residence is set to be the world’s tallest, beating the 13-storey ‘Origine’ apartment block now being built in Quebec City.
Fast Track, High Quality Apartments for Students
Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, construction on Brock Commons started on 9th November 2015 and is set to open in September 2017. It will house 404 students in 272 studios and 33 four-bedroom units.
Read Project Background
The world’s tallest completed timber structure is the 10-storey Forte Apartment block in Melbourne, Australia, completed in November 2012 by Lend Lease.
Architects Helped Write New Code for Innovation
The architects, Acton Ostry, and UBC building officials helped draft the new regulation for British Columbia that facilitated the project. This allowed UBC to go over timber-structure height limits if the building met rigorous health and safety standards. Rich Coleman, the Province’s Minister for Housing, said “When we introduced BC’s Building Act this year, one of our goals was to encourage innovation by creating an approval process for ground-breaking projects like this one.”
As well as student accommodation, the building will act as a “living laboratory" for researchers to monitor its performance. According to Martha Piper, university interim president. "It will advance the university's reputation as a hub of sustainable and innovative design, and provide our students with much-needed on-campus housing."
‘LEED GOLD’ Certification
Designed to achieve a minimum LEED Gold certification for environmentally friendly structures and energy use, the building will consist of a mass timber superstructure above a concrete base.
Low Rise or High Rise
In the UK timber buildings up to 6 storeys are now fairly common place. Europe’s tallest CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) building has already been built in Hackney and more are on the way.
New Workers & New Ways Available
As the industry changes to embrace new methods, one sector is leading the way, providing builders with a new workforce and new, innovative ideas, to meet its needs – Timber Engineering. Timber Frame and related systems, like SIP’s and CLT, are now well established and reliable ways of doing this. However, engagement of timber frame designers and manufacturers at the earliest possible stage is essential to capture all the benefits this holds for developers, builders and home owners.
Professionals Increasingly Turning to Timber
As a good natural insulator - timber can help minimise or avoid cold bridging and internal condensation as well as assisting with construction sequencing to save significantly on time, effort and costs. To achieve this many architects and builders are turning to timber engineering firms able to interpret and deliver properly ‘sustainable solutions’ to secure high quality, factory produced elements and deliver better value in their projects.