Ontario’s Tall Wood Building Reference was released at the end of 2017 by the Ontario Government. Moses Structural Engineers are proud co-authors of this publication which will be used by building officials, architects, engineers, developers and builders. The publication is the first of its kind and will help guide applicants, reviewers and designers as they consider tall wood building construction. Here are the top five reasons why we needed Ontario’s Tall Wood Building Reference.
- Potential for job growth in multiple sectors
In 2015, the Ontario government recognized mass timber, and tall wood buildings as an opportunity for provincial job growth in multiple sectors including forestry, manufacturing, education, technology, research and development, training, construction and trades.
- Potential for carbon sequestration in tall wood buildings
Renewable, sustainably harvested forests combined with the carbon storage in tall wood buildings are all measurable benefits to the environment to combat carbon emissions from other sources.
- Provide an approval mechanism that maintains performance and safety objectives
Change takes time. Changing the way we build requires changes to our building codes. New versions of building codes in Canada are typically published every five years, followed by adoption in provinces and cities. A new idea may take a few cycles until they are adopted, meaning that a new idea may take 10 to 15 years to be adopted. The Tall Wood Reference illustrates an alternative pathway within the mechanism of the building code to speed up introduction of tall wood construction in the market to meet market demand, without compromising on the performance objectives of the building code.
- Educate building officials, architects, engineers, developers and builders
The construction industry has a lot of moving parts and can be slow to accept new ideas. The tried and true methods and materials are always an easier path. Why change when you have established supply chains, previous investments in tools and familiarity with systems? Education is key. When developers and builders see the potential efficiencies of building tall wood buildings they take notice. For those who have not had first-hand experience with tall wood construction, the reference gives them an in-depth view of what to expect.
- Provide a Tall Wood methodology for navigating the building code
Since most designers have probably never had to apply for an alternative solution under Ontario’s Building Code, the Tall Wood Reference spells out the requirements, as they specifically relate to tall wood buildings. Topics such as proving equivalent fire performance, proof of concept for new structural systems and many others are covered in the reference. The reference is a blueprint for designers and developers to build upon as they navigate through approvals for their high performing mass timber buildings.