Could taller wood frame buildings bring more affordable housing to Toronto? The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) and the Canadian Wood Council all think so.
Last week the groups held a press conference advocating for a change in the Ontario Building Code that would allow for the construction of six-storey wooden builds, instead of the current limit of four storeys.
A new report, Unlocking the Potential for Mid-Rise Buildings: Six Storey Wood Structures, commissioned by BILD and authored by former City of Toronto Chief Planner Paul Bedford, lays out the case for building up.
Bryan Tuckey, BILD President and CEO, pointed out these structures would “help unlock the immense potential in neighbourhoods that have underutilized land on major avenues and corridors.”
Since woodframe buildings are less costly to build then their concrete counterparts, the savings would be passed on to the buyer. For a 1,000-square foot home, the estimated savings would translate to about $20,000 to $25,000.
The changes to the Ontario Building Code would be similar to ones made to BC code in 2009. Based on the after effects in the province after the amendment, Ontario can expect to see job creation, increased tax revenue from the addition of new residences, more affordable options for new homebuyers and a minimized carbon footprint in the construction of these buildings.
A number of representatives from the City of Toronto were also on hand to lend their support, including Jennifer Keesmaat, the Chief Planner. She said the amendment could help the city’s congestion issues as well.
See our pictures of the conference, held near the growing River City community and Underpass Park.