Cost Comparison Report: Four-Storey Wood School Design in British Columbia

Wellington Secondary School
Photography: Artez Photography Corporation

As land values continue to rise, particularly in higher-density urban environments, schools with smaller footprints will become increasingly necessary to satisfy enrollment demands. There are currently several planned new school projects throughout British Columbia that anticipate requiring either three-or four-storey buildings, and it is forecast that demand for school buildings of this size will continue to rise.

Though timber construction would offer a viable structural material option for these buildings, the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) currently limits schools comprised of timber construction to a maximum of two storeys, while also imposing limits on the overall floor area.

Given these constraints, the development of viable structural options that would accommodate larger and taller schools constructed primarily with timber materials has not been a key focus.

With the above factors in mind, the purpose of this report is to build upon the findings of the previously published Design Options for Three- and Four-Storey Wood School Buildings in British Columbia prepared by Fast + Epp and Thinkspace dated November 2019. Specifically, this report supplements the previous one by providing guidance in assessing and comparing the various framing options considered in the previous report primarily on a cost basis.

Four-Storey Wood School Design in British Columbia: An Analysis of Structural System Cost Comparisons

This report provides guidance in assessing and comparing the various framing options primarily on a cost basis.

Internal view of UBC Earth Sciences Building atrium demonstrating multi-storey timber construction techniques for higher-density urban environments
Design Options for Three-and Four-Storey Wood School Buildings in BC

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Glue laminated timber beams and columns support the cantilever roof overhang in this exterior view of Gibsons Elementary School as children enter on a sunny day
Risk Analysis and Alternative Solutions for Three- and Four-Storey Wood Schools

     

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Glue-laminated timber (Glulam) columns support the prefabricated wood frame ceiling in this interior view of the Skidegate Elementary School Gymnasium
Wood Use in British Columbia Schools

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Wood flooring, desktops, cubicles, and hybrid ceiling construction feature prominently in this interior view of a Kwakiutl Wagalus School classroom
Wood Use in British Columbia Schools: research by Stantec and Fast + Epp

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