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Alberta

Alberta will now allow wood-building construction for up to 12 storeys

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wood buildings

From the Province of Alberta

Reducing red tape for wood-building construction

Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu announced the change Friday, as part of Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.

While other jurisdictions in Canada, like British Columbia, currently allow for 12-storey wood construction, Alberta will become the first province in Canada to allow the practice province-wide.

“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage. We made this change knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Current Alberta and national building codes allow wood-building construction for up to six storeys, but the next edition of the National Building Code – anticipated for publication at the end of 2020 – will allow for the use of tall wood construction with fire-resistant material for up to 12 storeys.

Alberta will issue a notice – based on technical provisions developed for the next edition of the National Building Code – to allow early use of tall wood or mass timber construction for up to 12 storeys using fire-resistant material in time for the upcoming construction season.

“We commend the Government of Alberta for advancing the use of wood-building construction of up to 12 storeys with this province-wide variance. By building with products that are made locally, we are supporting thousands of jobs in small communities and large cities throughout the province. From people working in sawmills, to value-add facilities, to jobs in construction and transportation, everyone benefits from this change. Moreover, because wood is fully renewable and has a low carbon footprint, our environment benefits, too.”

Paul Whittaker, Alberta Forest Products Association President

New technology makes taller wood construction feasible

Advancements in fire-protection and wood-product technology are allowing for the construction of taller wood buildings without compromising safety.

The building codes will require tall wood buildings to be built as encapsulated mass timber construction, where the solid or engineered wood has been surrounded by fire-resistive material. Buildings of mass timber construction will also be fully sprinklered.

“BILD Alberta is excited to see the Government of Alberta take steps to modernize construction, reduce red tape and address environmental needs by allowing innovative techniques to deliver the homes and buildings people need. This provides our industry and member companies with more options in meeting the housing affordability needs of Albertans.”

Patrick Shaver, chair, BILD Alberta Chair and president of Avillia Developments

Quick facts

  • Wood buildings taller than six storeys have been built in Vancouver (University of British Columbia’s 18-storey Brock Commons), Europe, the United States, and other jurisdictions around the world.
  • Mass or laminated timber has excellent durability and seismic, fire, and acoustic safety performance.
  • The encapsulated mass-timber construction component of the 2020 National Building Code has already been reviewed by the National Building Code committees and fire-safety specialists, structural engineers, architects, scientists, and builders.

Economic impact of tall wood buildings

  • Potential to create about 60 jobs per construction site and up to 400 jobs per new sawmill and production sites.
  • A growth in demand for lumber, for example, 100-million board feet, about $40-million worth of lumber, is the equivalent to about two mills the size of Boucher Bros Lumber.

Minister Madu tours Western Archrib with (L-R) Paul Whittaker, Scott Fash of BILD, Dale Beesley, Municipal Affairs, and Andre Lema, of Western Archrib.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Oilers place goalie Mike Smith on long-term injured reserve

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EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have placed goaltender Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve, and have re-assigned Olivier Rodrigue to the club’s taxi squad, pending quarantine protocols. 

Edmonton announced both transaction on Friday, but did not elaborate on Smith’s injury.

Smith was supposed to start Thursday’s game at home against the Vancouver Canucks but was declared inactive, forcing Mikko Koskinen into back-to-back starts. 

Smith and Koskinen were expected to split duties in the Oilers net this season. Edmonton re-signed the 38-year-old Smith to a one-year contract in the off-season. 

Rodrigue had been with the Graz99ers of the Austrian National League.

The 20-year-old Rodrigue was drafted 62nd overall by Edmonton in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta health minister says vaccine schedule to take hit from manufacturing delays

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says it will take longer than expected to start immunizing seniors over 75 outside long-term care homes due to a delay in manufacturing one of the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Tyler Shandro called the news out of Ottawa on Friday a blow and said it’s not clear how severely the delay will affect Alberta’s vaccine allocation in the coming weeks. 

“This is out of our control, but it will impact Alberta’s immunization schedule,” he said Friday. 

The schedule for seniors over 75, regardless of where they live, and Indigenous people over 65 is up in the air because it will take longer to immunize priority health-care workers, Shandro said. 

“We had hoped to announce the start of these vaccinations in the coming days, but that is now in question.”

Federal officials said earlier in the day that only half of promised Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses will arrive in the next month due to production issues in Belgium. 

“This is unfortunate news and we are all disappointed. However, we will not stop,” Shandro said. “Health officials will continue giving out what vaccines we do have as quickly as possible.”

Senior medical officer of health Laura McDougall said Alberta is still ramping up its ability to administer vaccines and has been able to deliver more shots than expected so far.

 She said the province has recruited pharmacists, retired health-care workers and nursing students to give out shots and pop-up clinics have been set up in emergency departments to reach more front-line staff. 

“We have enough immunizers and more than enough people wanting to be immunized,” McDougall said. “What we need is more vaccine.”

Alberta reported 785 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday along with 13 more deaths. There were 796 people in hospital, with 124 of those in intensive care.

More than 74,000 vaccine doses have been given out so far, and the province still aims to administer 50,000 a week by the end of January if there is enough supply. 

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2020.  

The Canadian Press

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january, 2021

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