PENTICTON - A desire on the part of Penticton Lakeside Resort’s managing group to create a meaningful piece of architecture that could contribute to the quality of the community is reason behind new construction technology being put to use in the resort’s expansion, says CEI Architecture architect Nick Bevanda.
The resort plans to use wood construction to build a six-storey annex on its Lakeshore Drive hotel.
Bevanda says new technology developed mainly in Europe now offers greater opportunities for wood, especially cross-laminated or CLT timber panels.
The technology happens to be locally available through laminated timber manufacturer Structurlam, whose production facilities are located in Penticton and Okanagan Falls, one of three manufacturers of CLT timber panels in North America.
Wood provides less of an environmental footprint than a concrete or steel building, Bevanda says, noting half of wood’s composition is made of carbon, which remains in the material rather than being liberated into the atmosphere.
He says the lakeside annex’ wood construction will save the equivalent of approximately 1,000 vehicles emitting carbon for one year.
Bevanda says the technology behind multi-storey wood buildings isn’t completely new, pointing to multi-storey wood buildings in Europe such as the 12th century Borgund Stave in Norway which has stood for centuries.
“These hundred year technologies are still relevant today. The greatest hurdle right now is public perception and North American building codes,” Bevanda says.
Heavy timber performs differently in a fire than traditional North American stick-frame construction, Bevanda says. Heavy timber chars in a fire, it slows burning by 50 per cent. New sprinkler technologies have also made fire suppression more reliable.
Much of a wood building can be prepared off site, which helps speed construction. Bevanda says a wood building can be built in a fraction of the time compared to a concrete building.
The B.C. government has adopted a wood first policy which encourages the construction of larger buildings out of wood. Bevanda says the University of B.C. is currently building an 18-storey wood structure.
“With present technology, a wood building can match concrete or steel. This project is a good news story — a building conceived in wood, designed by local consultants, fabricated and constructed by local manufacturers and builders. It’s a project that people all over North America will be watching,” Bevanda says.
Penticton city council approved a development permit for the Lakeside Reort project at its council meeting on Jan. 18.
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