Quebec Approves 12-Story Lumber Construction

Library Square, Kamloops, British Columbia
Library Square, Kamloops, British Columbia (Canadian Wood Council)

The Quebec government has approved changes to regulations that will provide a much-needed injection of business in the province’s forestry sector. The Hamilton Spectator reports that regulations will now allow for lumber to be used in construction of buildings up to 12 stories tall.

Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters Monday that the regulation changes were developed with consultation with provincial building code agencies and with FPInnovations, a research institute. Couillard said that Quebec is the first province in Canada to allow wood construction in taller buildings. He predicts that the changes will stimulate the use of wood in construction and provide “enormous” potential in a sector that has lost thousands of jobs.

“The new impetus we give today will help revitalize an industry whose potential is huge,” he told reporters.

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Previous rule changes in 2010 allowed wood to be used in framing buildings up to five or six floors. The U.S. currently follows the same International Building Code regulations with consideration for flame-retardant heavy timber construction.

Already, a group in Quebec City has announced plans for a 13-story residential building comprising 12 floors made from wood, The Hamilton Spectator reports. The $25-million, 94-condo project is billed as the tallest wooden building in North America, and is slated to open by the end of 2016.

In recent years, U.S. firms have begun to push for wood-constructed high rise buildings as an effort to reduce a structure’s carbon footprint. Using wood in a structure can help offset the carbon emissions from other parts of the construction process and from the operating of the finished building, a New York Times story says.

Canada isn’t the only country thinking big with wood construction. Vienna, Austria recently approved a 25-story wooden skyscraper set to open next year.


In a New York roundtable discussion of lumber industry influencers in June, engineers at Metsä Wood unveiled the second in its Plan B concepts, which envision iconic architectural designs constructed out of lumber.