As part of efforts to deliver more homes near transit hubs and more sustainable housing options, the provincial government has proposed changes to the British Columbia Building and Fire Codes (BC Codes 2024) that would expand the use of mass timber in construction.
If adopted, the amendments would:
- increase the height limit for mass timber residential and office buildings to 18 storeys
- expand the types of buildings that can be constructed with mass timber to include schools, shopping centres and industrial facilities
- allow more exposed mass timber or fewer layers of encapsulation in buildings (depending on building height)
Currently in BC, buildings constructed with mass timber can be no taller than 12 storeys.
The proposed changes are the result of a joint task force between the BC and Quebec governments, formed to expedite the development of building code updates that would enable more mass timber construction.
It is expected that updated codes could be rolled out in BC as early as spring 2024, following a review of public feedback. Additionally, proposed code changes are being made available to be reviewed and potentially adopted by other provinces and territories, and in national building codes.
For more information, see the official Government of British Columbia news release.