While most all Canadian provinces have not yet adapted their building codes for wood buildings beyond six and eight stories, wood continues to gain ground as an efficient construction material. Statistics from the Canadian Building Bureau confirm this trend. While the number of residential dwellings built using wood has decreased slightly over the past decade, commercial building codes have been keeping a close eye on the industry to minimize the possibility of serious safety concerns. Whether the concern is from regulations meant to protect the public or because of the perceived aesthetic value of wood, the end result is the same: wood structural integrity is being put into question more with each new development.
When it comes to commercial wood buildings, it is important to understand that regulations are often tailored to the particular industry in question. In the building industry, building codes are designed to ensure the safety and protection of the public when natural disasters such as fires are caused by poorly installed wood roofs or other similar issues. While Canada’s building codes for wood buildings are almost always designed with the safety of the general public in mind, they do allow for flexibility in terms of the height of roofs and other design elements. However, it is important to keep in mind that the wood structure of your future establishment may very well require some type of local permission in order to go up on a roof.
Beyond the potential hazards inherent in wood structures, another significant concern lies in the fact that wood has virtually no insulation and has therefore become a fire hazard in itself. Furthermore, most wood buildings are prone to infestation from termites and other pests, who can easily infest the wood used in building construction and serve to bring down the cost of your establishment to a great extent. With the prevalence of these two issues as well as the high costs associated with purchasing and maintaining additional insulation for your new building, many new wood buildings wind up sitting abandoned and unused on the property of another owner. Regardless of whether you are building solely as a business or as a residence, you will want to make sure that your plans involve meeting all of the building codes for wood structures in both your state and your country.