Over 3,000 delegates will attend the next Woodrise conference awarded to Vancouver yesterday.
The conference highlights the benefits and use of mass timber in construction, which will occur from September 22 through September 26, 2025.
Vancouver is the home to more mass timber buildings per capita than any other city on Earth. British Columbia has 11 times more projects than the rest of North America and is recognised as a hub for timber design and engineering.
The push towards mass timber adoption has been driven by the province’s “Clean BC” procurement strategy, which has seen extensive investments in retrofitting production facilities, changes to building requirements, and subsidies to get more timber in buildings.
For Sean Pander, Manager of Green and Resilient Buildings for the City of Vancouver, “innovation in wood pre-fab construction is key to building affordable, climate-friendly housing.”
He said the conference will help show off made-in-B.C. solutions and foster solutions exchange between BC and global leaders.
Reflecting on the announcement, British Columbian Premier David Eby said he was proud Vancouver will host the event, “BC’s entrepreneurs and construction industry professionals are excited to showcase their work and our local talent.”
“Our province is a leader in wood and mass timber construction,” he said, with “this being a perfect match between event and location.”
“Mass timber is a strong, clean building technology at the centre of our province’s future construction blueprint,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.
“Through our Mass Timber Action Plan, the BC government, First Nations and industry are taking a leadership role in wood construction.”
Minister Bailey said the opportunity to be involved came through FP Innovations (or Forest Practices Innovations), a nonprofit organisation helping global competitiveness.
“They’ve been very involved in this conference for quite some time and are one of the co-organisers.”
They are part of the international organising committee, along with FCBA, a French technological institute and the Japan International Association for the Industry of Building and Housing.
“Canada has a rich portfolio of projects in mid- and high-rise timber construction,” stated Stéphane Renou, CEO of FPInnovations.
“The construction of the Brock Commons Tallwood House building, an innovative 18-storey hybrid building, which was the tallest mass-timber building in the world, was just the beginning of innovative leadership for BC in the mass-timber industry.”
According to Minister Bailey, the province is “gung ho” on developing the mass timber sector in part because the growth of that sector will help BC.
Minister Bailey said her father was a logger, and she remembers much talk about adding value to timber in BC when she was growing up.
“This is part of addressing that challenge: How do we ensure that the value added to our timber supply happens in BC? BC and those jobs happen here, and that additional value gets unlocked here,” she said.
Sceptics of using mass timber in construction might fear that the structures would be more heavily damaged if there were to be a fire.
Bailey said that she has heard of studies from a centre in Prince George’s that tests mass timber construction.
The experiment raised the temperature on mass timber to about 815 degrees Celcius while concrete and rebar were separately heated to that level.
“Each of them had a weight attached,” she said. “The metal beam melted and bent, and the weight fell. The wooden beam didn’t.”
She added that another advantage of using mass timber is that construction can be quicker than concrete because more time is needed to wait for the concrete to set.