Should the Ontario Building Code be modified to allow six storey wooden buildings?
The association representing concrete and masonry producers says, not surprisingly, NO.
July 2, 2013 by Alec Caldwell
There seems to be changes firing up (no pun intended) in the Ontario building industry. A coalition of wood-industry-related groups are proposing changes to the Ontario building code to allow up to 6-storey wooden structures, up from today’s 4-storey limit.
Some, like the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association (www.ccmpa.ca) say these structures could be weakened by storms, insects or become a fire hazard.
In a recent publication, the Canadian Wood Council (www.cwc.ca) douses the notion of wood structures’ flammability: “Research and experience confirm that fire safety in a house or apartment has little to do with the combustibility of the structural materials used in its construction. In fact, the occupants’ safety is far more dependent on their own awareness of fire hazards (open flames, etc.), the contents of their home (furniture, etc.)”
How would you feel about living in a 6-storey wooden building?
I’m all about progression, but making higher wooden buildings sounds like going backwards to me. What’s next, wooden scaffolding, wooden ladders or going back to wooden carts? We could also switch our stainless steel knives and forks for ones made of wood.
Keep in mind The Great Fire of London began on the night of Sept. 2, 1666, as a small fire. At that time, most London houses were of wood construction, were dangerously flammable, and it did not take long for the fire to expand.
The lesson I believe is: If building wooden homes, make sure they are set well apart from each other; and maybe builders will have to change their practices of squeezing so many homes onto a postage stamp.
CARAHS is a not for profit association www.carahs.org Toll free 1-866-366-2930
Alec CaldwellAlec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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