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Construction milestone for UBC Brock Commons


The final wood panel has been installed on the Brock Commons building at UBC. The university’s new student residence will be the tallest mass timber building in the world when completed in 2017.

The mass wood structure at Brock Commons was completed in just 66 days. The building required the assembly of 1302 Glulam columns and 464 CLT panels. The last CLT panel was placed on the 18th floor on August 9th and the last glulam columns were erected the following day, marking a major project milestone for the world’s tallest mass timber building. Construction of the mass wood structure began on June 6th and was completed on August 10th. Construction of the steel roof structure is now underway.

Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, the 18 storey student residence building will stand 53 metres tall and provide housing for 404 students with a mix of studio and quad units. The structure is a hybrid system comprised of CLT floor slabs, glulam columns and steel connectors—all atop a ground floor of concrete with concrete cores rising the full height of the building. Use of a hybrid structure was investigated to assess the technical and economic viability for the project to demonstrate the applicability of mass wood in British Columbia’s development and construction industries.

Key project team members include Structurlam, Urban One Builders, Seagate Structures and structural engineers Fast + Epp.

“We pushed ourselves relentlessly over months of work with the design team and the CLT manufacturer to simplify the structure — think LEGO,” says Paul Fast, founder of Fast+Epp. “The building blends the simplicity and modularity of LEGO with the concrete-like strength of cross laminated timber to help ensure structural efficiency which in the past has been one of the major barriers to building tall with wood. Our solutions effectively address that concern.”

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