When will mass timber buildings be coming in the City of Delta?
That remains to be seen following Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, along with several cabinet ministers last week proudly announcing the Mass Timber Action Plan, as well as funding for four new mass timber housing and infrastructure projects.
The Mass Timber Action Plan shows that B.C. could have as many as 10 new mass-timber manufacturers by 2035.
In addition, boosting the sector's skills training through trades programs at post-secondary institutions will help fill an anticipated 4,400 additional job openings in manufacturing, construction and design.
The primary load-bearing structure in mass timber buildings is made of solid or engineered wood.
Also according to the province, larger-diameter trees are not needed to make mass timber.
Mass timber buildings can be engineered for strength by fastening together layers of smaller-dimension wood with glue, dowels or nails, a process that can deliver as much as seven times the economic value when compared to milling logs for lumber.
Mass timber reportedly can match or exceed the structural performance of concrete and steel while reducing carbon emissions by as much as 45 per cent.
The government last year announced funding for several demonstration projects and that it also established a new advisory council to accelerate the adoption of mass timber building systems.
Those projects reflect a range of different building types and approaches that would highlight the versatility and performance of the building material, the province noted.
The government already invited municipalities, including the City of Delta, to sign on as mass timber construction early adopters in the Provincial Office of Housing and Construction Standards Mass Timber Early Adopter Initiative.
In 2020, Delta council agreed to sign an expression of interest, but also added conditions.
A new National Building Code will allow encapsulated mass timber construction up to 12 storeys, which in turn will be reflected in the next edition of the B.C. Building Code due out in 2022/23.
The provincial government introduced its early adoption initiative for participating municipalities to permit the construction of such buildings up to 12-storeys with engineered wood products in advance of the provincial adoption of the National Building Code.
A Delta staff report last year noted Delta Fire and Emergency Services would support design elements that utilize passive fire protection, active fire detection and suppression techniques equal to or better than the B.C. Building Code.
Any project would also be subject to the requirement for a Construction Fire Safety Plan.
Delta’s fire department also supported the same fire protection standards that the Vancouver Fire Department required for the new Brock Commons, a 12-storey mass timber project at the University of B.C.
Council also agreed with a staff recommendation for a city requirement for independent reviews by professional licensees for submitted structural designs as part of building permit applications.
An application for a mass timber building in Delta has yet to be submitted.