Look out, B.C. wood builders. Ontario is catching up.
The province is introducing new design options for the construction of wood frame buildings.
Through changes to the Ontario Building Code, wood frame buildings can now be built up to six storeys high, raising the limit from four storeys.
Most European Union and several North American jurisdictions allow wood-frame buildings up to six storeys. In British Columbia, over 50 wood frame buildings have been built since its building code was changed in 2009.
"In 2012, I introduced a Private Member's Bill to allow for six-storey wood frame construction in Ontario," said Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "It is gratifying to see Ontario listening to the needs of Northern communities with today's announcement."
National and provincial wood industry groups applauded the move.
"We are very happy with the code changes announced today for Ontario," said Michael Giroux, president of the Canadian Wood Council. "These changes are the result of a lengthy, carefully considered process that involved a great deal of consultation and input from all stakeholders."
Marianne Berube, Executive Director for Ontario Wood WORKS!, agreed and explained that "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."
According to the province, the changes give builders a safe option that can help make building a home more affordable and support more attractive, pedestrian-oriented buildings that enhance streetscapes while continuing to protect the safety of residents and firefighters.
New safety requirements for wood frame buildings that include building stairwells with non-combustible materials and roofs that are combustion resistant make Ontario's regulations the most rigorous in Canada.
Changes to the Building Code allowing up to six-storey wood-frame buildings start Jan. 1, 2015.