Ontario amends Building Code to allow six-storey wood building

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Ontario recently approved important changes to the Ontario Building Code to allow wood frame construction for buildings of up to six storeys.

Wood frame buildings can now be constructed up to six storeys high as the province raised the limit from four storeys. New safety requirements for wood frame buildings include constructing stairwells with non-combustible materials and roofs with combustion-resistant materials, making Ontario’s regulations the most rigorous in Canada.

“The changes provide Ontario’s architects and builders new options to create affordable and attractive pedestrian-oriented buildings that enhance streetscapes,” stated Paul Bedford, Professor of Urban Planning at University of Toronto and former Chief Planner, City of Toronto.

The changes will become effective on January 1, 2015, and will bring the province to similar standards already set in British Columbia, as well as in several jurisdictions in the US and the European Union. More than 50 wood frame buildings have already been built across British Columbia since that province made a similar change to its building code in 2009.

“The changes to Ontario’s Building Code offer designers new opportunities for innovation that will help municipalities meet urban densification plans and create more affordable housing options. We look forward to the new mid-rise buildings that will be created as a result of these changes,” Marianne Berube, Executive Director for Ontario Wood WORKS! Stated.

Wood construction will be part of a three-day conference series hosted by ROCK Advisors in Toronto, April 20 to 22, 2015.

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