New Joint Guidelines on Mass Timber Buildings for Registrants, Architects

Posted on April 7, 2021
In recognition of the growth in innovative wood engineering and architecture in British Columbia, and to support the safe design and construction of larger mass timber buildings, Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) have published new guidelines to clarify the expectations for professional practice for architects and engineers designing mass timber buildings up to 12 storeys.

The Joint Professional Practice Guidelines - Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction up to 12 Storeys cover minimum qualifications, professional practice, roles and responsibilities, and quality assurance for encapsulated mass timber construction projects. They also identify issues to be taken into consideration, provide sources of information, and, in some instances, design options when providing architectural, building enclosure, fire protection, acoustical, structural, mechanical, and electrical design services.

“BC’s engineers are leading the way in wood innovation, and these joint guidelines outline the necessary standards of professional practice to ensure that engineers working in mass-timber construction are doing so in a way that keeps the public safe, while also demonstrating the social, economic, and environmental benefits of wood infrastructure in creating a more resilient province for future generations.” Ann English, P.Eng., FEC, FCSSE, CEO, Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

The new guidelines were developed in response to BC Government changes to the BC Building and Fire Codes to allow construction of mass timber buildings up to 12 storeys based on the new classifications of building size and construction relative to occupancy: Article 3.2.2.48EMTC. Group C, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered, and Article 3.2.2.57EMTC. Group D, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered. The guidelines provide guidance on architectural and engineering considerations relating to these significant changes to the 2018 BC Building Code (BCBC), the 2019 Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL), and the 2018 BC Fire Code (BCFC). 

Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the AIBC will offer a continuing education webinar in the summer of 2021 to provide engineers and architects with an overview of the guidelines and information on how to meet their professional obligations.

The development of the guidelines was made possible with the funding and support of Forestry Innovation Investment, National Research Council – Construction Research Centre, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, and the AIBC.

These guidelines, and other professional practice guidelines and practice-related resources, are provided at egbc.ca/Guidelines.

Photo: KK Law, courtesy naturallywood.com
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