Structurlam President Bill Downing talks mass timber on BNN
The University of British Columbia’s Brock Commons is a structure that has challenged the conventional construction landscape. Standing at 18-storeys, UBC’s newest student residence was named the world’s tallest timber tower in 2016.
Structurlam supplied the building’s primary structural components: cross laminated timber (CLT) panels and glue laminated timber (glulam) pillars. Recently, Structurlam President, Bill Downing, sat down with BNN to discuss how the tall timber tower came to be and why the prefabricated mass timber package allowed for structural completion in record time.
Downing touched on a number of topics including cost, safety, efficiency and sustainability.
“Wood is the only renewable building material that we have, so it does capture carbon and uses less energy to actually make the products,” explained Downing. “From a carbon emissions side, it is a superior product, no doubt.”
Brock Commons was erected in a remarkable 69 days. The cross laminated timber panels and glue laminated timber beams were prefabricated off-site in Structurlam’s South Okanagan plant. They arrived in Vancouver ready to be assembled like puzzle pieces, allowing for swift construction.
“We loaded it on the truck in exactly the same way the installer was going to pull it off, so basically, they pulled the panel off the trailer on the site, and put it in place.”
The prefabricated mass timber materials allowed one floor (measuring 10,000 sq. ft.) to be placed every three days – much faster than a typical concrete or steel building.
UBC Brock Commons will welcome approximately 400 student residents in September of 2017.
Watch Downing’s full interview with BNN below.