This project identifies drivers for, and barriers to, the increased use of prefabricated timber building (PTB) systems in Class 2 to 9 commercial buildings, such as apartments, hotels, office buildings and schools.
PTB systems in Australia are in a formative stage and yet to achieve broad acceptance in the marketplace as a conventional method of building.
Opportunities for PTB systems can use timber’s well-established benefits such as high strength-to-weight ratio; design and construction flexibility; general environmental credentials including carbon sequestration; and prefabrication’s suitability for use on brown-field, restricted access and difficult sites and developments. In addition legislative constraints have now been largely removed (e.g. through changes to the 2016 National Construction Code).
An increase in large scale mid-rise prefabricated buildings, and with the increasing nationalisation and internationalisation of the top tier building companies, suggests market acceptance will grow as PTB buildings are seen as ‘normal’.
Soft-story wood-frame buildings have been recognized as a disaster preparedness problem for decades. There are tens of thousands of these multi-family three- and four-story structures throughout California and other cities in the United States. The major...
Sustainable, safe, durable, cost-effective and efficient; wood is used across Canada in occupancy classes such as business, residential, commercial and assembly. In the United States, many mixed-use buildings have been designed as “podium” buildings; a wood structure bearing on a podium of noncombustible construction. The International Building Code includes provisions that allow wood buildings, often housing residential or business occupancies, to be constructed over a podium of noncombustible construction accommodating mercantile or assembly occupancies.
The concept of a horizontal fire separation, acting to a certain degree as a “horizontal firewall”, was introduced in the International Building Code in the mid-2000s, allowing the podium to be considered a separate and distinct building from the wood structure that sits overtop. Since podium structures are becoming increasingly “à la mode” in the construction industry, integrating the horizontal fire separation concept into the National Building Code of Canada would allow the industry to benefit from the advantages of wood construction in mixed-use buildings
At the request of FPInnovations, this technical report has been prepared as a guideline for the implementation of design provisions for wood podium buildings into the National Building Code of Canada. Various strategies, special considerations, and possible risks for fire safety in this type of building are explored.
Recent changes to the National Building Code of Canada (NBC), and a trend towards more diversified housing options, have meant that many Canadian jurisdictions are acting quickly to capture the environmental, economic and social benefits of higher wood buildings. The 2015 NBC now permits wood frame construction to be 6 storeys high. Today, already 75% of Canadians live in jurisdictions that allow 6 storey wood frame construction. With the overall benefits of using wood as a building material well documented, Atlantic WoodWORKS!
studied the opportunities for 6 storey wood construction in Atlantic Canadian Centres. The research included a comprehensive market study and projections for mid-rise demand in
four major centres in Atlantic Canada, a review of recent and upcoming planning changes in major Atlantic Canadian cities and a full cost analysis, comparing wood construction to three
other construction methods in use in the Atlantic market using a real-life wood mid-rise structure built by an experienced builder.