Justin Brown’s joy in building with wood started as a kid in Trail, BC. …Now at StructureCraft’s headquarters in Abbotsford, B.C., he is a project structural engineer. …The panel approach, explains Brown, means structures go together “just like an Ikea project. You drop one in place, then go get the next one, with a purpose-built set of instructions on how it goes together.” That makes for fast on-site construction. …“We were able to use mass timber on a much larger scale than was ever done in Europe,” said Tobias Fast, director of digital practice at Fast + Epp’s Vancouver office. “I’d say B.C. is still probably the hotbed of design and knowledge,” he observed, though U.S. building codes have allowed quick adoption of similar-sized projects. “Now the Europeans are also trying to go taller.
Considering that construction accounts for 13 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, proponents of mass timber say it offers a sustainable building solution, as wood stores carbon and trees are a renewable resource. Oregon environmental groups are among those who’ve urged caution about such claims… But Brown offers a calculation of the possible gains by citing a tower in Minneapolis that showed “what the new office building could look like in North America.” Called T3, the building designed by Vancouver’s Michael Green Architecture used 3,600 cubic metres of wood, which will sequester about 3,200 tonnes of carbon during the building’s life. …In 2016, there were only four manufacturers in North America, according to an RBC report. By 2022, that number had risen to 22 and it is expected to more than double in five years.