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The case against six-storey wooden apartment buildings

February 1st, 2009 · 12 Comments

I’m a few days late in linking to this story, but it’s, as they say, timeless. Sean Holman at Public Eye in Victoria has taken a closer look at the provincial government’s move to change the law to allow wood-frame construction for apartment buildings up to the five- and six-storey level.

Currently, the limit is three, which is why you see so many apartment buildings of that height around the Lower Mainland. They’re cheap and easy to put up. Once a builder goes over three storeys, the current rule is that the construction has to be concrete. (Note: Tessa corrects me in her comments on this post, noting that B.C. actually allows four storeys.)

This is all academic now, since no one is building anything, but it will be relevant once things get going again. If it’s allowed at the same time that cities are under some pressure to allow greater density on sites by developers saying they need it to be able to break even in the current economy, the province could start sprouting six-storey apartments.

Thoughts from all my experts out in the industry?

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