These Joint Professional Practice Guidelines – Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction Up to 12 Storeys were jointly prepared by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) and Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia.
The AIBC and Engineers and Geoscientists BC regulate and govern the professions of architecture, engineering, and geoscience under the Architects Act and the Professional Governance Act. The AIBC and Engineers and Geoscientists BC each have a regulatory mandate to protect the public interest, which is met in part by setting and maintaining appropriate academic, experience, and professional practice standards.
Engineering Professionals are required per Section 7.3.1 of the Bylaws - Professional Governance Act to have regard for applicable standards, policies, plans, and practices established by the government or by Engineers and Geoscientists BC, including professional practice guidelines. For Engineering Professionals, these professional practice guidelines clarify the expectations for professional practice, conduct, and competence when providing engineering services for EMTC buildings. For Architects, these guidelines provide important information and identify issues to be considered when providing architectural services for EMTC buildings. These guidelines deal with the performance of specific activities in a manner such that Architects and Engineering Professionals can meet their professional obligations under the Architects Act and the Professional Governance Act.
These guidelines were developed in response to new classifications of building size and construction relative to occupancy introduced in the 2018 British Columbia Building Code (BCBC), under Division B, Article 126.96.36.199EMTC. Group C, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered, and Article 188.8.131.52EMTC. Group D, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered. These new classifications were introduced in Revision 2 of the 2018 BCBC on December 12, 2019 and in Amendment 12715 of the 2019 Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL) on July 1, 2020. Additionally, provisions related to Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction (EMTC) were introduced in Revision 1 of the 2018 British Columbia Fire Code (BCFC) on December 12, 2019.
These guidelines were first published in 2021 to provide guidance on architectural and engineering considerations relating to these significant changes to the 2018 BCBC, the 2019 VBBL, and the 2018 BCFC. For Engineering Professionals, these guidelines are intended to clarify the expectations of professional practice, conduct, and competence when Engineering Professionals are engaged on an EMTC building. For Architects, these guidelines inform and support relevant competency standards of practice to be met when Architects are engaged on an EMTC building.
As with all building and construction types, the EMTC-specific code provisions prescribe minimum requirements that must be met. The majority of EMTC of 7 to 12 storeys are considered High Buildings, and as such are subject to the BCBC, Subsection 3.2.6. Additional Requirements for High Buildings.