Dr. Anne Koven
Executive Director, Mass Timber Institute
Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
Canada’s mass timber construction industry is in the spotlight, with plans for the construction of demonstration tall wood buildings in Toronto (located at the University of Toronto and George Brown College) among other exciting mass timber projects across Canada. These follow the construction of Brock Commons in Vancouver – at 17 storeys (53 metres), the world’s tallest mass timber building at the time of its completion (since surpassed by the 18-storey/85.4-metre high Mjos Tower in Brumunddal, Norway in autumn 2018). While the tall buildings are defining the iconic reputation of mass timber for the public, it is the the low to mid-rise buildings that will experience the fastest market growth.
Buildings such as these demonstrate the potential for tall wood construction and the positive effects it has with regard to carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas reduction through efficient heating & cooling, and reduced waste in the construction phase. Moreover, the structural integrity of these buildings (particularly regarding resistance and resilience to fire and seismic events) has been highlighted, as evidenced by building code changes in many jurisdictions that now permit building with mass timber to greater heights. For example, Canada will permit mass timber buildings up to 12 stories beginning in 2020, and the International Building Code up to 18 stories tall.
With its supply of sustainably grown and harvested timber, Canada is well-positioned for success in mass timber construction. The federal and provincial governments’ endorsement for mass timber construction should be a catalyst for greater demand for investment in mass timber manufacturing in Canada.
Since launching in October 2018, the MTI has discovered that despite the high level of activity and interest in mass timber sector knowledge, there is still disconnection between those producing the research, and those in need of the knowledge – designers and architects, engineers, and the construction industry – produced by that research. There is, therefore, a tremendous opportunity for the MTI network to help “connect the dots” by helping to link research needs with research efforts, and well as to assist funding organizations prioritize research funding according to sector needs. We are working with our partners in industry, research, and academia to develop a national, uniquely Canadian mass timber research network that best satisfies the needs of the industry.
I invite you to contact the Mass Timber Institute and our partner organizations to learn more about mass timber in Canada, and become involved in this exciting shift in how we construct our cities across the globe.
Dr. Anne Koven
📧 E-mail Anne Koven