New UBC Student Residence to be Among World۪s Tallest Wood Buildings

October 1, 2015

One of the tallest wood buildings in the world will soon be constructed at the University of British Columbia (UBC), providing housing for hundreds of students. When completed, the $51.5-million residence building will stand 53 metres tall (about 174 feet).

The tall wood building will consist of a mass timber superstructure atop a concrete base. Wood is a sustainable and versatile building material that stores, rather than emits, carbon dioxide. UBC aims for the building to achieve a minimum LEED Gold certification, a rating system that evaluates how environmentally friendly a structure is in its design and energy use.

Wood is suitable as a beautiful finishing material and a structural material that meets safety and performance requirements. Wood structures, as with any building material, must meet building code requirements. Safety measures, such as sprinkler systems and fire resistance-rated wall and floor/ceiling assemblies, ensure tall wood buildings are built to meet and exceed fire safety and structure performance requirements.

A number of tall wood projects have been completed around the world in recent years. Today, the concept is gaining traction in North America as a safe, sustainable and cost-effective construction option.