World’s tallest timber building tops out ahead of schedule

Brock Commons
Brock Commons

Brock Commons, an 18-storey cross-laminated timber building being constructed in Vancouver, Canada, has topped out in just 66 days, well ahead of schedule.

At 53 metres tall, the student accommodation at the University of British Columbia is expected to become the tallest mass wood high-rise in the world, an honour currently held by the 14-storey Treet tower in Norway, and before that Australia’s own Forté building in Melbourne by Lendlease.

The title might not last too long, however, with a 24-storey tower due for completion in Vienna in late 2017, as well as a concept plan for a 300-metre-tall tower in London recently being put forward.

After beginning construction of the mass wood elements on 6 June, the last CLT floor panel of Brock Commons went in on 9 August, followed by the final glulam column on 12 August – well ahead of expectations, according to UBC Infrastructure managing director John Metras.

“Construction just went really smoothly,” Mr Metras said. “It was well designed and the construction sequence went smoothly.”

Prefabricated elements, including the CLT slab panels, glulam columns, steel connectors and facade elements, helped with the speedy construction. It follows the rapid speed in which a prefabricated building in Melbourne topped out, reported in The Fifth Estate last week.

The $51.5 million building has been designed by architects Acton Ostry, with Austria’s Architekten Hermann Kaufmann as tall wood advisor, structural engineers Fast+Epp and Structurlam providing the mass timber package.

It will house 404 students in 272 studios and 33 four-bedroom apartments.

Construction of a prefabricated steel beam and metal deck roof structure is now underway, with the building scheduled to open in September 2017.

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