Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

An update on wooden mid-rises, now permitted up to six storeys in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec

Canadian Contractor

Ontario, B.C. and Quebec are now the three main jurisdictions permitted to build structures with wood up to six storeys.

Recently, the Quebec government published a wood building construction guide, showing how to use “mass timber” for building up to 12 storeys.

If 12 storeys sounds like a stretch for a wooden building, remember that structures exist in Europe – and not historical ones, either. Modern day practice.

Is there a possibility we might see timber structures this tall in Canada one day?


It’s entirely possible.

On cost, four-storey wood frame structures run about $150 a square foot, while six-storey ones costs $160-$190. Obviously these figures depend on finish quality and design. Concrete by comparison is about $230 a square foot.

Why not go the whole hog, roll back the clock to the 1904 era and to timber framing as it was back then, as shown in this illustration from Wikipedia:


Food for thought, will these wooden structures sell for less than there concrete version? Personally I don’t think so. What do you think?

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1 Comment » for An update on wooden mid-rises, now permitted up to six storeys in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec
  1. Andreas says:

    Dear Alec

    Great you bring this perspective up, perhaps if you believe or not, but tall wooden structures will have a future world wide. Up to 12 storeys? Whats with the 18 storey high students-housing building in Vancouver BC which will most likely be finished in 2017? Have you seen some test how high wood structures perform on the shaking table which simulates earth quakes?
    You might have to loos the leash on your harness a little bit to see what is going on in the real wood industry.

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