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Wood associations provide expertise in a growing market

Jean Sorensen
Wood associations provide expertise in a growing market

With B.C. playing a large role in wood construction, there are specific organizations providing support to Western Canadian contractors, sharing their expertise in this growing area of the market. This is part two of a series exploring the various organizations and the role they play helping contractors. This final article will feature NEWBuildS, FPInnovations and Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd.


NEWBuildS is an organization worth watching for new developments in wood use as it is a multi-discipline, Canada-wide research network that focuses on developing new means of using wood in mid-and-highrise construction. It is utilizing 23 university professors and 19 researchers from FPInnovations, the Institute for Research in Construction of the National Research Council and Canadian Wood Council to supervise more than 60 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working on projects.

The research program at NEWBuildS is organized into four linked research themes: cross laminated timber (material characteristics and performance), hybrid building systems (structural performance), building systems (fire performance, acoustic and vibration serviceability) and building systems as they relate to durability, sustainability and enhanced products.

What NEWBuildS can do for contractors:  It can provide new technical research data that may help an integrated construction team achieve objectives in wood design and construction in high-or mid-rise buildings. Currently NEWBuildS has posted online the research report of a new hybrid system developed by the University of B.C. that can be used to build 20 storey structures.

Entitled Force Based Design Guidelines for Timber-Steel Hybrid Structures, the report’s research was funded by the Forestry Innovation Investment’s Wood First program to be used as a next-generation construction method for utilizing mass timber wood.

Another report found online is a field study of hygrothermal performance of cross laminated timber wall assemblies with built in moisture.

The site also provides an events list. Visit the NEWBuildS website at


FPInnovations, a Canada-wide research body, is the B.C. forest industry’s main research arm. Its reports range from sawing efficiencies through to earthquake rating of building systems.

It represents the major lumber manufacturers and tackles challenges or market goals that these producers want to achieve with customers both domestically and internationally by performing product testing and innovative solutions.

What FPInnovations can do for contractors: FPInnovations has reports available online for those interested in building with wood.  Current publications available include: the Mid-Rise Wood Frame Construction Handbook, Build Tall with Wood, Wood as a Restorative Material in Healthcare Environments and Pathway to High-Performance Housing in B.C.

The research body has also developed a Midply (TM) sheer wall system which it says can withstand twice the loading of a normal sheer wall and is effective in areas where there is an earthquake threat or buildings are subject to severe winds. The system has been used in one of Japan’s largest wood buildings. Visit for more information.

Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd.

Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. (FII) is behind B.C.’s Wood First program, which attempts to encourage more wood inclusion in ICI structures. Vice-president of market outreach Sonya Zeitler Fletcher said: "We promote to the world by showing what we are doing at home."

It showcases manufacturers, wood products and sustainable forest management practices and provides information on certification of sustainable forests and the latest building trends and innovation in B.C.

What FII can do for contractors: FII works collaboratively with many of the forest industry associations and research facilities. Reports available at its website include: several performance reports issued in 2015 on the Prince George Wood Innovations and Design Centre, plus Fire Resistance of Long Span Composite Wood-Concrete Floor Systems and Fire Performances of Cross Laminated Timber Panel-to-Panel Joints.

It also has a website that offers a supplier directory of more than 500 manufacturers, short profiles on wood buildings and information on the chain of certification for lumber sourced from sustainable forests and the types of wood certification available in B.C.

The site also provides information on wood species and green building.

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