The province approved important changes to the Ontario Building Code this week, allowing wood frame construction for buildings of up to six storeys.
“This significant change will provide greater flexibility and significant cost-savings in new apartment construction,” said Derek Lobo, President and CEO of ROCK Advisors, Inc., Canada’s leading apartment advisory and brokerage company. “We plan to discuss this, and several similarly important industry topics at our upcoming conference in Toronto.”
Through changes to the Ontario Building Code, wood frame buildings can now be constructed up to six storeys high, raising the limit from four storeys.
“The changes provide Ontario’s architects and builders new options to create affordable and attractive pedestrian-oriented buildings that enhance streetscapes,” saysPaul Bedford, Professor of Urban Planning at University of Toronto and former Chief Planner, City of Toronto.
New safety requirements for wood frame buildings include constructing stairwells with non-combustible materials and roofs with combustion-resistant materials, makingOntario’s regulations the most rigorous in Canada.
“Our made-in-Ontario model for mid-rise wood construction provides the highest requirements for fire safety in Canada,” said Ted McMeekin, Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing.
“Wood mid-rise construction is a safe, strong and sophisticated building solution. We are very happy with the code changes announced for Ontario,” says 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! agrees and explains 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.”
These changes to the Ontario building code will come into effect 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. In fact, over 50 wood frame buildings have already been built across British Columbia since that province made a similar change to its building code in 2009.
Wood construction will be part of a three-day conference series hosted by ROCK Advisors in Toronto, April 20 to 22, 2015. For more information and to register for this conference, go to rockadvisorsconference.ca