Alignment with engineered wood innovation

Solid wood panel building systems have been widely used in Europe as environment-friendly substitutes for concrete slabs and steel structures. The solid panels up to 12 inches thick, 10 feet wide and 50 feet long are unlike any other wood-based building material. Offering two-way tensional stiffness and impressive fire resistance, they are a great complement to traditional North American structural wood members, like glulam, laminated veneer lumber, and parallel and laminated strand lumber products, many of which have a strong foundation in BC.

Although there are thousands of solid wood panel structures throughout Europe, the most famous is the Murray Grove Stadt Haus, in London, UK. This nine-storey, 29-unit condominium complex is built entirely of wood panels. Though this technology is still being introduced in North America, several buildings in BC have already been constructed with solid wood. These include the Austria House at Whistler, the iHouse in Vancouver, the Dowling residence in West Vancouver and four major projects currently underway, including the five-storey wood/concrete hybrid panel Earth Sciences Building at the University of British Columbia.
Much effort is being made to establish BC as the premier site for solid timber panel design and production in North America. This includes cross-laminated timber steering committees, fire committees, recent symposia in both Vancouver and Toronto, and significant amounts of panel testing. Canadian Product and Manufacturing Standards and other design values were recently announced by FPInnovations and there are active programs being pursued by the Wood Enterprise Coalition, FPInnovations, Natural Resources Canada, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia and the APA – the Engineered Wood Association in the US. Manufacturing plants have been established in New Westminster, Penticton and Quebec.
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The 9-storey Murray Grove StadtHaus contains a commercial ground flood plus 27 affordable and market housing units. The wood building was constructed in nine weeks by a crew of 4 carpenters.