Elkford Conference Centre opens
The B.C. forest products industry is pleased to recognize the openings and events of three wood demonstration projects in the province this week - North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre, Elkford Community Conference Centre and City of North Vancouver Civic Centre Renovation.
The important innovations demonstrated in each of these milestone projects are intended to accelerate the adoption of the wood design and engineering systems not only in B.C., but also nationally and internationally.
The wood demonstration projects were selected in July 2010 to expand the use of wood products by applying traditional products in non-traditional ways, or creating innovative wood solutions structurally or architecturally. The demonstration buildings introduce and showcase new workable wood solutions that have the greatest potential for commercial viability. The showcasing of innovative wood products and building systems has been supported by the government of British Columbia through the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation (Forestry Innovation Investment), Wood WORKS! BC, FPInnovations, and BC Wood Specialties Group.
“These outstanding projects demonstrate a blend of leading-edge international technologies and B.C. design concepts,” explained Mary Tracey, Executive Director, Wood WORKS! BC. “B.C. is entrenching its status as one of the global leaders in wood design and engineering, and innovative uses of wood applications. We applaud and thank the provincial government for its vision and support.”
Pat Bell, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, congratulated project teams, forest product suppliers and manufacturers, and the communities on their new buildings.
“The projects are part of the original mandate of the Wood Enterprise Coalition (WEC) to champion the province’s Wood First Initiative, supporting the movement of innovative products from the lab to the market and promoting wood education and culture,” said Bell. “As part of ‘Canada Starts Here - The BC Jobs Plan’, we continue to look for innovative ideas to increase the use of a renewable B.C. resource, creating new jobs in our province through new demand for B.C. wood products and expertise.”
A common component in all three project innovations is the introduction of mass timber, which is a paradigm shift in the possibilities for wood use in construction projects. Mass timber systems are very large, complete wall, floor and roof sections made from engineered wood products, and can be used in a variety of building types and sizes. These products offer significant benefits in terms of fire, acoustic and structural performance, scale possibilities, rigidity, stability and construction efficiency. They are a valid alternative to steel and concrete as they are lighter, more environmentally friendly and easier and faster to install.
The demonstration projects also present “multiple function components” to a new degree, such as floor/ceiling panels that provide a structural floor, a finished ceiling, vibration control, acoustic dampening and the integration of services in a single, shipped-to-site, ready-to-install element. The precision and effectiveness of off-site prefabrication using automated and inter-networked design/fabrication technologies is also demonstrated. For example, none of them would have been achievable without the use of computer-numerically controlled fabrication equipment that ensured absolute precision of structural components and connectors.
“The three projects demonstrate that wood is integral to innovative architecture, design and engineering,” added Tracey. “Building designers already recognize the economic, social and environmental benefits of wood, and are now seeing the expanding possibilities for wood using the leading-edge technologies demonstrated in these building systems. Wood is clearly a responsible building choice, and we are excited by the broad range of new possibilities which can address climate change and other pressing issues we face in the modern world.”