Last week, BILD held a seminar to discuss the technology, challenges, and benefits of 6-storey wood construction. Architects and builders have been grappling with some of these issues since the amendments to Ontario’s building code to allow mid-rise wood frame building took effect in January of last year. It’s without question a huge improvement in our industry, as building similar structures using concrete is both expensive and grossly inefficient. Mid-rise structures are desperately needed along many of the major streets here in Toronto. Currently, many younger families are forced to move outside of the city to find affordable homes.
Wood is natural, strong, durable, renewable, and – of course – greener. 99% of every tree is used in the manufacturing process, and it takes much less energy to manufacture, meaning a reduced carbon footprint. Challenges, though, include logistical construction issues, concerns around fire, and some of the physical properties of wood. For example, wood shrinks over time, which could cause potential issues with the structural integrity of the building. However, these concerns haven’t stopped developers such as FieldGate Urban and Hullmark, who are behind Heartwood The Beach, Toronto’s first wood 6-storey residential building located in the Beaches. Curated Properties and its top-tier architecture and design team are also developing a similar project called Cabin, located at 45 Dovercourt. Both of these projects are currently featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Toronto Builder Magazine.
With Cabin now 70% sold, it’s clear that the demand for affordable mid-rise homes in the city is real; it’s only a matter of time before more developers begin to line the streets of our city with funky, innovative, 6-storey wood designs.