LP – What Is Mass Timber?
Mass timber is the term used to describe the use of large solid wood panels for floors, wall, roof, beam, and columns. The large dimension of the members serves both structurally and to protect from fire. Mass timber products include CLT, DLT, NLT, mass plywood, and Glulam.
The interest in mass timber is driven by the move to more sustainable building practices and potential for panelized construction. Wood is a renewable resource and provides a safety, economic, and environmental alternative to other building materials.
Like all regulations, the Ontario Building Code (OBC) follows industry trends. The 2012 Edition of the OBC does not permit tall wood buildings in the prescriptive solutions. Designers have to follow the alternative solution approach to demonstrate that the buildings are safe. Vortex Fire are the code consultants for many of the pioneering tall wood buildings in Toronto.
The use of mass timber up to 12 storeys is likely to be included in the 2020 Edition of the National Building Code of Canada. While it may take a while to be adopted across Canada it is a very positive move for the design and development community. This will help to simplify building permit approvals and cement the widespread use of mass timber as a building system.
Mass timber has its challenges, but it’s worth it! A great example is the 77 Wade Avenue project in Toronto Junction neighbourhood. The inherent warmth of the exposed structure will provide high quality office space for the new digital age industrial worker.
Vortex Fire has been the code consultant of choice for the first wave of mass timber buildings in Canada. Our solutions are a hybrid blend of our experience in building code consulting, fire engineering, and varied building typology.
Vortex Fire has both the educational background and the project experience to support all magnitudes of projects, from small renovations to mega projects. Let us help you succeed with your mass timber buildings.