BC Housing is looking to mass timber as a potential way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions when building affordable housing.
The province’s affordable housing agency put out a request for proposals (RFP) on March 11, seeking a contractor to perform a study on the economics of using mass timber for multi-unit projects between seven and 12 storeys high.
Mass timber is a renewable resource with a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional concrete construction methods.
The study will provide BC Housing with “an understanding of options and solutions for delivery of new housing units” at a time when cities in B.C. and across Canada are facing affordable housing issues, according to the RFP.
According to the RFP document, there is limited awareness of mass timber construction and knowledge of costs, benefits and other considerations with the building method.
“Research is needed to develop and communicate the suitability of this new approach to a wide array of housing sector audiences,” reads the document.
By getting a more objective picture of the possible outcomes if mass-timber technology were to be adopted more widely, the agency is hoping to create more “competitive and efficient housing alternatives” that could help bring down rent and mortgage rates.
The successful bidder will be required to look into, among other things:
- Environmental costs and impacts, including Life Cycle Assessment considerations such as construction waste and waste mitigation strategies;
- Supply chain considerations;
- Impacts on residents who live in mass timber buildings;
- Geotechnical considerations and the applicability of mass timber in areas of poor soil;
- Impact to pre-construction and design coordination activities, including local authority approvals for new forms of construction.
The contractor will also need to consult with industry members, as there is “a growing cross-section of professionals who are working with mass timber and have valuable experience and insight that can inform this study.”
The RFP is open for proposal submissions until Wednesday, April 28. Evaluations of the proposals will wrap up May 2, and a contract will be awarded in June 2021.
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