Penticton Lakeside Resort used mass timber for its west wing expansion. (File photo)

Penticton building manager says more mass timber options a positive

Penticton and Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen back up to 12 storey mass timber buildings

A building code update allowing up to 12 storey buildings to be made of mass timber will mean less red tape for developers, Penticton’s building manager says.

Ken Kunka, building and permitting manager, said the city has an alternative solution process when it comes to those wanting to build outside the building code.

“We as a municipality work with engineers and professionals in the alternative solution process, but it’s can be a cumbersome process,” he said.

Related: Lakeside Resort wins at commercial building awards

Kunka said the largest mass timber project in the city so far was the new wing at the Lakeside Resort. The “West Wing,” features wood-primary construction in the six-storey, 70-unit expansion. The glulam beams, columns and cross-laminated panels were built and supplied by Structurlam.

He noted at this time there were no building applications in that used mass timber for a large scale project of more than currently allowed in the building code.

“We’ll wait for the building standards to do the official change. It should come in the next couple months until then we’ll use the alternative solution process and who knows what might come in.”

Brad Dollevoet, general manager of development services for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said the changes are positive.

“In the regional district we don’t have a lot of applications coming in to build large buildings, but I think it’s still a positive change. It definitely helps our region and Structurlam in Okanagan Falls. There is more demand from architects and builders wanting to use this type of process and wanting to be environmentally friendly.”

Premier John Horgan made the announcement Wednesday at Structurlam that B.C. will be the first province to move to allowing up to 12 storey buildings be constructed of mass timber.

Related: Lakeside Resort wins at commercial building awards

The current building code allows for six storeys to be built but the National Building Code is expected to be updated in 2020 to 12 storeys.

“Normally B.C. would assess those recommendations and then they would implement a year or two after that. We believe that the work has been done we’ve got a practical example of more than 12 storeys at Brock Commons of 18, so we’re prepared, we’re confident that the work has been done on safety. The work has been done on the fire stuff,” he said to media and workers at the mass timber plant.

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