Building Taller with Wood Delivers Time, Safety and Environmental Benefits

Wood Innovation & Design Centre, Prince George, B.C. | Photo: Brudder

With construction professionals and designers seeking lower carbon building alternatives and renewable materials, there is a growing opportunity to use tall wood buildings as a solution for the built environment, especially communities committed to sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Building taller with wood is achievable with advanced construction technologies and modern mass timber products such as glued laminated timber, cross laminated timber and structural composite lumber. Around the world, 13 tall wood buildings (seven storeys or taller) are currently underway while 19 have been completed over the past five years.


B.C. – A key player in the advancement of wood use

The province remains a global leader in building taller with wood as in 2014, the tallest contemporary wood building in North America was completed in Prince George, B.C. At 29.5 metres-high (97 feet), the Wood Innovation & Design Centre (WIDC)`s structural system includes a variety of locally manufactured solid engineered wood products including cross laminated timber, glue laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber. As a precedent setting building, the WIDC revealed B.C.’s growing expertise in the design and construction of large-scale wood buildings.

With construction completing last year, the University of British Columbia`s Brock Commons Tallwood House, a 18-storey tall wood residence on campus, is currently the tallest mass timber hybrid building in the world. The integrated design process maximized prefabrication opportunities to increase the speed of construction – two floors completed per week.

Wood is increasingly recognized as an important, innovative and safe building material choice. This new tall wood building reflects UBC’s leadership in sustainable construction and our commitment to providing our students with more on-campus housing.

Santa J. Ono, President, University of British Columbia

Photo of Brock Commons Tallwood House, UBC
Brock Commons Tallwood House, UBC | Photo: Brudder

Available resources

A performance overview case study of Brock Commons was recently conducted to assess a wide range of factors, including structural elements, building systems, building envelope, durability, moisture protection and fire. By also including a cost analysis, an environmental impact analysis and an assessment of inhabitant comfort, the case study demonstrates that taller wood buildings like Brock Commons can be built economically while also delivering community and environmental benefits.

View the Brock Commons Tallwood House – Performance Overview case study

View additional Brock Commons resources