Earlier this year the Province of Ontario revised building code requirements to allow for more wood frame buildings, up to six storeys. Prior to this the code rules only allowed four storeys as the maximum allowable height. This new update will give developers and contractors alternatives to the traditional steel frame construction that has become all too common. Ultimately, it will increase the supply of apartment rentals and condos, which is food for the market and future buyers…providing more options and aesthetics to choose from. In British Columbia, they have already adapted the rules to allow multi-level wood frame construction into their provincial building code, and nearly 50 wood frame buildings have already been built since 2009.
The addition of wooden elements to the designs of mid-rise buildings will let architects create more interesting and visually appealing buildings in modern urban developments. The last 20 years have seen an increase in design with buildings like the Marilyn Monroe in Mississauga, and many other unique condos across the GTA. Originally, apartments were built to accommodate large numbers who needed to live in urban centers close to places they worked. Back then, design was based on functionality not aesthetics, but now all that has changes and new construction buildings are designed to attract buyers and enhance streetscapes. New wood construction buildings provide the much needed style that many older condo and apartment buildings are lacking, giving potential buyers an array of architecturally stunning options in years to come.
The question of fire safety always presents itself when changes are made to building regulations, but with the new mid-rise construction update, builders are required to provide the highest fire safety requirements in Canada. Wood frame buildings must be constructed with non-combustible and combustion-resistant materials in the roofs and stairways.
With this change you can expect to see more aesthetically inspired developments and communities lining city streets. With the ability to use new materials designers will be less inclined to use the popular steel and glass facades and will add more natural elements. Versatility is a benefit for everyone, both developers and consumers, and these new rule changes will allow condo projects to adapt to a fresh new look at a more affordable cost, great for buyers and investors alike.