This report explores the building code related considerations of wood construction for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. Though wood construction offers a viable structural material option for these buildings, the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) currently limits schools comprised of wood construction to a maximum of two storeys. Three- and four-storey schools and larger floor areas in wood construction require an Alternative Solution.
This study illustrates the range of possible wood construction approaches for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. As land values continue to rise, particularly in higher-density urban environments, schools with smaller footprints will become increasingly more necessary to satisfy enrollment demands. There are currently a number of planned new school projects throughout British Columbia that anticipate requiring either three-or four-storey buildings, and it is forecasted that the demand for school buildings of this size will continue to rise.
In the competitive hospitality industry, developers and architects are continuously seeking fresh, imaginative, functional and sustainable design ideas that help differentiate their hotel, restaurant, banquet hall and other hospitality venues from its competitors. The long-recognized benefits of building with wood and wood products from B.C. continue to provide value for hospitality building owners. The popularity of B.C. wood is one of the many drivers adding to Canada’s leadership in wood design and construction.
Having wood visible in learning spaces has been shown to lower stress and improve concentration and test performance. Along with health and wellness benefits, wood construction is cost effective and often faster than other methods. Learn more about building with wood in schools here.
Highlighting Canadian innovation and leadership, the Nail-laminated Timber (NLT) Guide is a source of inspiration and a valued resource for the building community as it is the only comprehensive NLT resource available that combines design, construction, and fabrication expertise from built projects into an easy to use reference.
The United Kingdom (UK) has been a global pioneer of building using cross-laminated timber (CLT) with more than 500 completed projects over the past 10+ years.
A leading practitioner of CLT architecture in the UK, Waugh Thistleton compiled a book, 100 Projects UK CLT, containing 100 case studies of CLT buildings in the UK with facts and project details on each. In addition, it includes a primer on CLT construction outlining design and construction considerations and lessons learned.
Designing today’s school buildings demand economically and environmentally sustainable solutions that can simultaneously create safe and inspiring learning environments for educating our youth. This report considers the varying capacities in which wood can meet or exceed those demands as a building material for structural and non-structural applications.
Photo: Ed White | Mulgrave School, West Vancouver, B.C.
Wood is versatile, resilient and renewable, making it an excellent choice to build or renovate schools. It can be less expensive than other major building materials, and studies show it creates safe, healthy and inspiring learning environments. By choosing wood construction, B.C. school districts can demonstrate a commitment to climate action and the environmental future of their students through designs that meet or exceed demanding energy-efficiency requirements.
It’s back to school season, and the conversation is turning to school design. Increasingly B.C. is using wood in schools, which support improved performance, productivity and overall well-being of occupants. Find out how schools boards in B.C. are using wood in educational buildings using the naturally:wood Project Gallery – enhanced with new filters and an interactive map to help target your search.
A recent blog post by Perkins+Will discusses how they were early adopters of innovative uses of wood during the design and construction of numerous skytain stations across metro Vancouver. Read the blog post to learn more about their decision to use wood, and how it has influenced Vancouver's transit system over time.