The new head office for internationally-renowned structural engineering firm, Fast + Epp, is being recognised by the Canadian Wood Council and the BC forest industry for its innovation and ingenuity in wood design and building, and for being selected for funding support under Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood (GC Wood) Program. The hybrid mass timber building, located near downtown Vancouver on Yukon Street, is among the first office buildings in Vancouver to use mass timber as a structural material, and will showcase the same structural innovations and technologies that are at the forefront of their consulting practice. The GCWood Program aims to broaden the awareness of wood as a sustainable and renewable construction material and to increase the domestic capacity for wood in Canadian construction.
“It’s a really special moment in our Fast + Epp company history to have the opportunity to move into a custom-built mass timber office building. It features a robust, sustainable structure, warm exposed wood interiors and the latest in seismic technology using self-centering, energy absorbing connectors,” explained Paul Fast, partner at Fast + Epp.
“The building will serve as living lab with ongoing thermal, moisture and vibration monitoring. It will also house Fast + Epp’s Concept Lab where physical testing of mass timber components and software development will take place,” he added.
The Fast + Epp Home Office will showcase how a well-designed mass timber building can be constructed quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. It will feature an exposed hybrid mass timber structure and leading-edge seismic design technology, and will provide the broader construction and design industry with learning opportunities through monitoring performance results.
“Mass timber products have the strength, versatility, and sustainability attributes to meet the needs of a fast-changing commercial construction market sector. From long spans and open spaces, to demanding fire resistance ratings, wood and mass timber designs meet what the market demands. We’re excited to see the extensive benefits of building with wood recognised by leading designers,” explained Kevin McKinley, president and CEO of the Canadian Wood Council.
“This project is an excellent example of an innovative, sustainable and high-performance wood building. It showcases technologically advanced wood products and systems, and how mass timber components work together for optimal designs that can be easily replicated,” stated Lynn Embury-Williams, executive director of Wood WORKS! BC. “Projects such as this will address today’s urgent demand for more efficient construction using sustainable building materials, toward a goal of carbon neutral structures that will positively transform our built environment.”
“Today’s announcement is another positive step in expanding the use of sustainably harvested, low-carbon wood products in construction, helping to fight climate change and get more people back to work,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of BC Council of Forest Industries. “Building with wood products is fast emerging as a safe go-to solution globally as we all look to reduce our GHG footprint and make good choices for the planet.”
The GCWood program was announced as part of the Government of Canada’s Budget 2017 with $39.8 million in funding available over four years, starting in 2018–19. The funds will support projects and activities that increase the use of wood as a green building material in infrastructure projects. GCWood provides non-repayable contributions to a project’s eligible incremental costs for the demonstration of innovative wood products and systems. Knowledge and information developed using GCWood funding falls under a Creative Commons license and will allow for future knowledge sharing among the design and construction communities.