3 Questions About the Use of Manufactured Wood for Construction in BC

The construction industry is abuzz with excitement over recent amendments to the BC Building Code. These changes now permit the use of mass timber in buildings up to 18 storeys, a significant increase from the previous 12-storey limit. But what exactly does this mean for the future of housing, and why is it so important? Let’s explore the answers to three key questions about manufactured wood housing.

What is Manufactured Wood?

Manufactured wood encompasses a variety of engineered wood products that go beyond traditional stick framing materials like 2x4s and 2x6s. Here are the main types of manufactured wood products you should know about:

Mass Timber: This is an engineered wood product made from multiple layers of lumber bonded together with adhesives, nails, or dowels. Think of it as plywood on a much larger scale. Two common forms of mass timber are Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (GLT). These materials offer the strength and stability needed for large-scale construction. A notable example of mass timber construction is the roof and supporting structure of the Richmond Oval, built for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Panelized Wood: Often referred to as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), these are wall, floor, or ceiling panels manufactured in a factory and then assembled on-site. They provide excellent insulation and structural integrity, making construction faster and more efficient.

Modular Housing: This involves pre-building entire room segments in a factory and then shipping them to the construction site for assembly. This method significantly reduces construction time and allows for high precision and quality control.

Why is Manufactured Wood Important?

The push for manufactured wood comes at a crucial time when Canada faces a housing affordability crisis. Here’s why manufactured wood is gaining traction:

Efficiency: With a pressing need to build more homes quickly, factory-built elements save on-site construction time and reduce labor demands. This can help address the current shortage of skilled tradespeople in the construction industry.

Sustainability: Mass timber structures are made from renewable materials and have high fire resistance. They also use significantly less concrete, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions due to its high embedded carbon content. By reducing the use of concrete, mass timber construction helps lower the overall carbon footprint of buildings.

What’s Coming in the Future?

The future of manufactured wood housing looks promising, especially with growing support from both federal and BC governments. Here’s what we can expect:

Scaling Up: While we may not reach Sweden’s level, where 84% of new residential construction includes some manufactured wood elements, Canada is poised to increase its use of these materials. The number of local manufacturers of mass timber, construction panels, and modular housing elements will need to grow significantly to meet our housing needs.

Government Support: Increased investment in the sector from the federal and BC governments is a positive sign. This support is essential for expanding the capacity of local manufacturers and fostering innovation in the industry.

Innovative Construction: As more builders adopt manufactured wood products, we’ll see more innovative and efficient construction projects. Imagine future construction sites where buildings come together like life-size LEGO sets, assembled in a fraction of the time required for traditional large buildings.


The amendment to the BC Building Code marks a significant step forward for the construction industry, opening up new possibilities for efficient, sustainable, and innovative building practices. Manufactured wood products like mass timber, panelized wood, and modular housing are set to play a pivotal role in addressing Canada’s housing challenges. As we embrace these advancements, the future of construction looks brighter than ever, promising quicker builds, lower environmental impact, and a new era of architectural possibilities.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore and report on the latest trends and innovations in real estate and construction!