Private Member’s Bill Passes to Allow 6 Storey Wood Structures in Alberta

(March 16th), MLA for Whitecourt-Ste.Anne, George VanderBurg was successful in passing Bill 203, the Safety Codes (Sustainable Structures) Amendment Act, 2014.

This Private Member’s Bill would amend the Safety Codes Act, under which the Building Code Regulation falls, to allow buildings of wood construction to be built to a maximum of six storeys or 18 metres.

“Infrastructure is a key priority and we must ensure we are meeting the needs of Albertans now, and into the future. Adequate housing is one of the many challenges we face as our population continues to increase. I believe that consumers should have access to a variety of choices when it comes to housing in Alberta.

“Bill 203 reflects a commitment to safe, sound and affordable infrastructure development and by making more options available, will enable the continued growth and prosperity of municipalities and communities across the province.”

– George VanderBurg, MLA for Whitecourt-Ste. Anne

“Sustainable wood structures are great for Albertans. They have a lower carbon footprint than other materials and use Alberta’s only renewable building resource. Building with wood also supports 50 communities throughout the province that rely on the forest industry for investment and jobs.”

– Paul Whittaker, President and CEO, Alberta Forest Products Association

Cost is often a prohibitive factor for potential home-buyers and builders. As wood is approximately 10 to 20 per cent less expensive than other materials, this Bill also allows for significant potential cost savings to be passed on to Alberta consumers.

Bill 203 aligns with the National Building Code and the changes made by the City of Calgary last November to accept building permit applications for six storey wood-frame buildings in approved land use zones.

Wood mid-rise buildings must meet the same requirements as buildings of other materials, such as steel. Similar to four storey wood-frame construction, building applicants are required to submit an enhanced Fire Safety Plan.
By collaborating with industry and other jurisdictions, Bill 203 is another way our government is working to make sure Alberta stays the best place to live, work and raise a family.