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Using wood and mass timber for more builds will have spinoff effects for Ontario


August 11, 2020
By RCCAO

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Vaughan, Ont. – Using wood and mass timber for construction of more buildings in Ontario could help stimulate the economy and create spinoff jobs in manufacturing the products.

That’s the assessment of Carpenters District Council of Ontario president Mike Yorke, who is a director of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, and Steven Street,  a mass timber and wood products business consultant who does work for Moses Structural Engineers.

The two were guests on a podcast, entitled Timber Talk, that was released today by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO). It is the seventh instalment in a nine-part series, called Conversations About Construction, that deal with issues affecting construction.

The podcast focused on the benefits of using mass timber for construction projects. While mass timber has become a global movement, especially among European countries, the uptick in Canada has been slower. However, Yorke and Street noted there are many upsides to using the materials.

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“What we need to do in Ontario is take a look at that and the best practices and say, ‘We can emulate that and we can create wealth in our own communities here in this province,’” says Yorke. “We’re in a scenario right now where we have this huge potential in front of us. We’re coming out of a pandemic and trying to figure out how to drive economic prosperity. A lot of people are hurting, and this for me is an example of what we can explore. I think it has real potential for Ontario.”

Street says that Ontario is in an ideal position to embrace the use of wood and mass timber—not just for building homes but also commercial and office buildings as well—because the province has ample supply of forestry stock in the north and the design community is eager to use the materials.

“We have the resources in this province. We just need to do something with it, and I think the time is right.” he says.

Street notes an added benefit of using mass timber is that carbon is captured through photosynthesis and held within the wood itself, so using it as a building material is helping the planet.

The podcasts cover a wide variety of topics related to the residential and civil construction sectors. Dave Trafford, host of the Weekend Morning Show on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto, leads the discussions. Two more podcasts are scheduled to be released on Mondays over the coming weeks.

RCCAO is a unique alliance of construction labour and management groups whose members build the homes, transportation and water systems that are of critical importance to Ontario residents and businesses.

To listen to the podcasts visit, www.rccao.com.