Wood buildings have structural, economic, green, and aesthetic attributes that make them a fantastic choice for commercial and residential buildings.
But how tall you can build a wood building is a complex subject not easily answered in a short blog post.
Under the 2015 and 2012 International Building Code (IBC) it’s possible to build timber frames structures up to six floors and 85 feet tall. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, and different cities or states or provinces may have other rules that are more or less stringent that the IBC.
In 2019, British Columbia raised the height limit of newly constructed wood buildings to 12 storeys. The national building code in Canada is expected to change and reflect this same height.
In 2017, about 30 percent of all the lumber produced in Canada came from British Columbia. So, using wood as much as is reasonably possible is important for the British Columbia economy.
The International Building Code statutes have allowed the timber building to expand beyond low-rise, and Type IIIA structures can be constructed up to 85 feet above grade in a sprinklered structure.
International Building Construction section describes five dissimilar construction types (I-V) with numerous levels of fire protection needs and permitted use of combustible materials.
Construction types III, IV, and V have been grouped exclusively with timber framing. These different types specify what materials can be used for exterior and interior structures and where you are allowed to use wood.
In many cases, it’s not that you can’t use wood; it’s just the materials have to exhibit a certain extent of fire retardancy and engineering strength depending on the type of structure.
So, in order to answer the question in the title of this article, it really depends on where the structure is being built to determine what building codes apply. If you need some help regarding the proposed height of your Big Wood building, contact us, and let us help you.
Seagate Mass Timber is leading the revolution in “Big Wood” being used in all areas of construction. Seagate has offices in British Columbia, Canada and the US in Washington state.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about your construction project, please call us at (604) 296-1171.