Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard along with the Minister of Labour, Sam Hamad, recently announced the publication of a wood building construction guide using mass timber called “Construction of Mass Timber Buildings Up to 12 Storeys.”

The guide, meant to inform and outline the technical guidelines for wood construction up to 12 storeys, follows similar steps taken in Europe where structures are permitted to use wood at that height.

Research done in Canada and in other countries has shown that it’s possible to build safe and secure structures with mass timber. Although outside Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario are the only jurisdictions permitted to build with wood up to six storeys.

FPInnovations, an organization specializing in scientific research, helped contribute to the technical guide.

“We are very proud to have contributed the scientific expertise necessary to enable the Government of Québec to develop this manual,” Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations said.

“The Quebec construction industry now has the knowledge necessary to design and construct buildings to the highest possible standards of safety using wood, an abundant and renewable natural resource and a cornerstone of the Québec economy.”

Since the announcement on Aug. 17 the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) has criticized the Quebec government for bypassing the building code development process and siding with research done by FPInnovations which supports the Canadian forest industry.

“All Quebecers have a right to expect that a rigorous process is being upheld and followed when it comes to the development of codes and standards,” said Michael McSweeney, CAC president and CEO said in a release.

“We have long held that governments should not get involved in the choice of building materials and systems and should leave this to the experts,.

“Like the rest of Canada, Quebec has little experience in the construction of six-storey wood buildings — how can we venture into the construction of even taller wood buildings? The government has a duty to protect the health of its citizens, not that of a particular industry,” he added.