On-Site Magazine

Mass timber office building opens in Vancouver

New high-performance cross-laminated timber office building welcomes occupants.

June 17, 2022   Adam Freill
Commercial
Construction
Green Construction

The oN5 mass timber office building recently opened in Vancouver. (Photo: KK Law, courtesy naturallywood.com)

A four-storey, mass timber office building in Vancouver, the oN5, recently marked official occupancy with the help of local dignitaries and project partners.

Named for its location near the intersection of Ontario Street and East Fifth Avenue in the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood of downtown Vancouver, the top three storeys of the building are constructed entirely out of cross-laminated timber (CLT). Its construction required sophisticated building information modelling and virtual construction work due to the challenging zero-lot-line site.

oN5 incorporates several sustainable building technologies — including its mass timber construction — enabling it to be comfortable, affordable and ecological at the same time. The building meets Passive House standards for energy efficiency and also employs state-of-the-art seismic devices for resisting earthquakes. The build also has an advanced adhesive system that joins the CLT panels together without the need for beams, making the material comparable to concrete in terms of interior clear heights and flexible layouts.

The installation of the CLT building structure was completed in 15 days due to the use of prefabricated panels, which helped minimize the impacts of construction on local residents and businesses while delivering the same benefits. The building includes instruments that monitor its performance, creating a living case study on the possibilities for urban infill projects built with innovative mass timber.

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In a statement, Natural Resources Canada said that the Canadian government is committed to advancing Canada’s role as a world leader in innovative wood construction technologies and in making better and more effective use of our forest resources.

To that end, a Low-Carbon Building Materials Innovation Hub has been created, and mass timber construction projects are being supported across the country. At the oN5 project, more than $1.2 million in funding was provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction Through Wood (GCWood) Program, which encourages low-carbon construction through innovative uses of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as low-rise non-residential buildings, tall wood buildings and bridges.

“By making effective use of Canada’s forest resources through low-carbon building systems, Canada is becoming a world leader in sustainable wood construction practices, increasing energy efficiency and climate resilience in our communities while simultaneously enhancing the global competitiveness of our forestry, wood manufacturing and construction sectors,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources. “That’s why our government is pleased to support projects like oN5 — to help lower emissions, create good jobs for workers and build better neighborhoods for everyone.”

“We feel that, as engineers, we have a responsibility to put our money where our mouth is,” added Robert Malczyk, owner of the building and engineer of record on the project. “We want to provide an example to society while doing something good for the environment by using mass timber. The City of Vancouver and British Columbia are leaders in wood excellence, and we’re proud to be part of it.”

 

www.nrcan.gc.ca