The city is expected to start permitting six-storey wood frame construction in early 2016. Saskatoon’s current building code limits structures to four storeys.

This initiative intends to satisfy customer interest and increase urban density through the use of mid-rise commercial or residential buildings. Key areas of focus include the downtown, University of Saskatchewan lands, and along the 22nd Street, Idylwyld Drive, 8th Street, College Drive and Preston Avenue corridors.

“This change provides a new opportunity to create beneficial, cost-effective mid-rise options between the current low-rise and high-rise development,” said Kara Fagnou, director of building standards for the city.

“Other jurisdictions have reported cost savings of $30 to $40 per square foot, or up to 20 per cent, when compared to a similar building built with steel and concrete.”

Six-storey wood frame structures are to be accepted in the city through the building standards alternative solution process when the 2015 National Building Code of Canada (NBC) is formally printed.