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.