Six Storey Wood Buildings; an Innovative Way to Increase Housing Affordability

The City of Calgary announced today it will now be accepting building permit applications for six-storey wood-frame buildings for already approved land use zones. The building code currently limits wood-frame construction to a maximum of four storeys.

“We are looking at innovative ways to make housing more affordable for Calgarians,” says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Six storey wood buildings are easier and cheaper to build than using other materials, which makes for more affordable homes.”

This decision comes after two years of participating in engagement with industry and responding to public review comments for the National Building Code.

“Other jurisdictions have demonstrated that this efficient and cost-effective building style can be done while also addressing fire safety concerns,” says Marco Civitarese, The City’s Chief Building Official. “Our priority is to keep Calgary competitive in the housing market by giving developers more options when they build.”

Calgary joins jurisdictions in Quebec, British Columbia and on January 1, 2015, Ontario, to allow six storey wood buildings. The City is also taking best practices from these jurisdictions to adopt in Calgary which includes enhanced Fire Safety Plans during construction.

“The Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Calgary Region would like to thank The City of Calgary for their leadership in providing this exciting opportunity to bring more mid-rise multifamily construction to Calgary,” says Amie Blanchette, Director of Government Affairs with CHBA. “This new choice in the marketplace will assist our builders in meeting the steadily increasing demand for safe, quality housing in a variety of forms throughout the city.”

The City of Calgary will be accepting building permit applications for six-storey wood-frame structures immediately using an alternative solution process, to meet the minimum requirements of the Alberta Building Code, until the changes are adopted. View the technical guide and examples at