With the advocacy for sustainable construction on the rise, use of timber as the main building material is being championed in large-scale construction projects. While the advancement of engineered timber products is addressing some issues that previously limited the use of wood in high-rise construction, there are still challenges such as fire and weather safety, code compliance and negative public perceptions. One main gap in the available resources is the lack of a comprehensive and detailed case study of a high-rise project with wood as the main construction material to capture constraints and innovations necessary in creating success, which has formed the direction of this research. This thesis is focused on documenting a case study of the Brock Commons project, an 18 storey, hybrid timber-concrete residential high-rise located at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus, which is the tallest hybrid timber building in the world. The overall research objective was to identify and document the delivery of this innovative project, with a specific emphasis on the innovations necessary to make timber high-rise construction successful and the use of VDC tools in the design and pre-construction process. The case study documents the project context, the design process, the business and industry drivers, and the motivation for construction. Moreover, it investigates the motivations for all stakeholders, identifies the challenges and constraints, and captures the innovative solutions that were utilized to ensure project success. The case study also documents the innovative use of VDC to support prefabrication and overall project coordination. Specifically, it investigates the role of the VDC integrators in the project, the paths of communications with the different project team members, and the inputs and outputs of each phase of design and construction. This research identified lessons learned that can be applied to other construction projects where timber is the main structural component and a heavy use of VDC and pre-fabrication is required. Use of timber and innovative methods in construction have been consistently rising in the past decade, and this research aims to provide a starting point for future efforts in mass timber high-rise construction.
Limited empirical and qualitative studies focus on the detailed processes and obstacles for coordinating off-site prefabrication between builders and suppliers. This research aims to identify and address the obstacles that currently prevent the further expansion of off-site prefabrication, with a research scope on timber and mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) services in construction projects. The focal point of this research is to highlight their obstacles. A total of forty interviews were conducted and analyzed from four builders’ organizations and four suppliers’ organizations to ascertain their obstacles in coordinating the practice of off-site prefabrication. The results found the builder’s obstacles were sustainability, quality assurance (QA), mass production, CAD/BIM, technological support, commercial arrangements, system building, buffering in supply, schedule monitoring, productivity, flexibility, engagement, risks, and multiple supply arrangements. The supplier’s obstacles were design, financing and subcontracting, coordination, recognized practices, risks, multiple supply arrangements, and constraints. Moreover, the builders and suppliers had identified some ways to harmonize off-site prefabrication of timber. Some examples of timber prefabrication technology include joinery, doors and/or windows, structural floor/wall/roof frames, partitions, trusses, stairs, balustrades, and others. MEP services with in situ construction comprise the use of power sources and working coordination. The most important outcome of this investigation is that these obstacles can be addressed through collaboration and coordination. This is because there is a traditionally a lack of collaboration amongst builders and their suppliers. Furthermore, there is a lack of coordination between them in general. The research contributes to the improved timber and MEP services collaboration and coordination in off-site prefabrication, which can be referred to by other approaches of modular construction.