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View Poll Results: How do you feel about building 6 storey wood frame condos?
For 15 60.00%
Against 8 32.00%
Not sure 2 8.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 10:42 PM
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6 storey wood frame?

Looks like these will be approved in certain areas as of Nov. I like the idea if will provide for cheaper units, as long as they're properly fire-proofed.

Quote:
Six Storey Wood-Frame Construction


Starting in November 2014, The City will be accepting building permit applications for six-storey wood-frame for already approved land use zones. The building code currently limits wood-frame construction to a maximum of four storeys.

This decision comes after two years of participating in engagement with industry and responding to public review comments for the National Building Code. The goal of accepting this is to provide more options to the development industry and to address the housing crunch that Calgary is experiencing while considering the safety of its residents.

Allowing for six storey residential wood construction sets the stage for the development community to offer lower cost housing. The savings is much higher between wood construction and building in concrete, approximately 10-15 per cent cheaper, critical as a component of housing costs as the development community has cited Calgary as one of the most expensive places in Canada to construct from concrete.

Safety of these buildings is of primary importance. Similar to four storey wood frame construction, applicants are required to submit an enhanced Fire Safety Plan. These plans vary based on the site and the application, but could include items such as: additional site security during construction, garbage enclosures, additional fire extinguishers, no on-site smoking, etc.

The City has been working with other jurisdictions in Canada that have six-storey wood buildings to learn best practices to be accepted in Calgary including enhanced Fire Safety Plan during construction.

Any comments or questions related to this can be directed to 311.
http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/P...ood-frame.aspx
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 11:17 PM
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Here's some info from the City and a video:

http://www.calgarycitynews.com/2014/...nnovative.html

Video Link
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 12:06 AM
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Can you currently skirt the rules by having some floors concrete, ie can you create a 6 story building where stories 1 and 2 are concrete and 3-6 are wood?
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 12:10 AM
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I've seen a proposal with 2 concrete above ground + 4 wood floors. Not sure if there's any built examples.

Another concern with wood frame would be noise, though I expect these to be higher quality than some of those 70's walk ups.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring2008 View Post
I've seen a proposal with 2 concrete above ground + 4 wood floors. Not sure if there's any built examples.

Another concern with wood frame would be noise, though I expect these to be higher quality than some of those 70's walk ups.
Vancouver developers have gotten around the six storey wood structure maximum, by building the first 2 floors as concrete construction. I know that there is a 10 storey building in Vancouver that is 4 concrete floors plus six wood framed construction above that.

I don't think we have any in Calgary as of yet. I would also be interested if Calgary DP's would allow for this.
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 1:28 AM
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Cheaper for the builder, and higher fees as the insurance is significantly more expensive for these large wood framed buildings. The gains here are not for the average consumer.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 4:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Design-mind View Post
I know that there is a 10 storey building in Vancouver that is 4 concrete floors plus six wood framed construction above that.
Which one is this?
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 3:50 PM
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I think it's a bad idea. See my posts in the construction thread.
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 6:26 PM
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Originally Posted by s211 View Post
Which one is this?
I just know of it because our COO is from Vancouver and has talked about it at meetings, as our company has been tossing around this idea. I don't think anything will come of it though.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 6:44 PM
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There's an example here in Calgary on 17th ave SE...Bella Casa Condos. I'm pretty sure the first two floors were concrete and then wood frame on top.

Edit: nm, it looks like that building is only 4 floors. I must be getting it mixed up with something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzyEdge View Post
Can you currently skirt the rules by having some floors concrete, ie can you create a 6 story building where stories 1 and 2 are concrete and 3-6 are wood?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring2008 View Post
I've seen a proposal with 2 concrete above ground + 4 wood floors. Not sure if there's any built examples.

Another concern with wood frame would be noise, though I expect these to be higher quality than some of those 70's walk ups.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 6:52 PM
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Originally Posted by J-D View Post
Cheaper for the builder, and higher fees as the insurance is significantly more expensive for these large wood framed buildings. The gains here are not for the average consumer.
What types of price differences are we talking about when it comes to higher insurance?
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  #12  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 6:57 PM
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Not a huge fan of this. Wood framed buildings at this height will require far denser stud spacing to support the extra load, this will mean poorer thermal and acoustic performance. The fire rating can be managed, but this is increased risk for massive fires, especially during construction.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Calgarian View Post
Not a huge fan of this. Wood framed buildings at this height will require far denser stud spacing to support the extra load, this will mean poorer thermal and acoustic performance. The fire rating can be managed, but this is increased risk for massive fires, especially during construction.

Like this fire at a Seniors assisted-living building under construction in Vancouver recently?
(under construction - 80% complete before the fire)



Granville & 49th. Only 3 stories tall (4 if you count the roof) and wood construction with a concrete underground parkade.

Chatter at the time was that the fire was bad because "none of the fire prevention features were active yet".

Last I heard it will be a tear-down to the concrete parkade & rebuilt.

more:
http://www.cknw.com/2014/10/03/four-...-seniors-home/
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  #14  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 2:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calgarian View Post
Not a huge fan of this. Wood framed buildings at this height will require far denser stud spacing to support the extra load, this will mean poorer thermal and acoustic performance. The fire rating can be managed, but this is increased risk for massive fires, especially during construction.
I would think you'd see more buildings built like the Attainable Homes project in Mt. Pleasant with the primary structure being steel with wood between, which may actual reduce the amount of wood in the walls (floors would be similar I would imagine) as they only have to support the drywall.
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 2:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealplaces View Post
There's an example here in Calgary on 17th ave SE...Bella Casa Condos. I'm pretty sure the first two floors were concrete and then wood frame on top.

Edit: nm, it looks like that building is only 4 floors. I must be getting it mixed up with something else.
Bella Casa was first floor concrete, but yes only 4 floors.
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 4:22 PM
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I don't really have an issue with 6 storey wood frame buildings. My thoughts are that if they can do a 4 storey one, a 6 storey one isn't a big deal. The risks are the same, regardless of height. I wouldn't want to see any higher than 6 floors, but from the sounds of it, once you get up around 8 floors, concrete makes more sense anyhow.

The fire that we all remember was the Erlton one, but things have changed since then, and also that was a building that was under construction at the time. The neighbouring townhouses burnt down too, but it had nothing to do with height and more to do with having cedar shingles on the roofs.
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 7:51 PM
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I don't have a problem with wood frame being built at any size, I have a problem with them being sold as condos.

If an institutional landlord wants to tackle this and the city thinks the risk-reward-benefit equation works. Go for it, build a disposable building. At the end of it's useful life a vacant lot for redevelopment is an acceptable outcome for that corporate entity. A condo corporation governed by people with mortgages on units in the building can't really say "tear it down", they just go into a death spiral of rising fees and further deterioration. There is no happy ending or even okay ending for the individual owners.

Penhorwood is an extreme example but the end-game for a condo corporation isn't fun:
http://globalnews.ca/news/1562152/ow...rve-jail-time/
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 9:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Policy Wonk View Post
I don't have a problem with wood frame being built at any size, I have a problem with them being sold as condos.

If an institutional landlord wants to tackle this and the city thinks the risk-reward-benefit equation works. Go for it, build a disposable building. At the end of it's useful life a vacant lot for redevelopment is an acceptable outcome for that corporate entity. A condo corporation governed by people with mortgages on units in the building can't really say "tear it down", they just go into a death spiral of rising fees and further deterioration. There is no happy ending or even okay ending for the individual owners.

Penhorwood is an extreme example but the end-game for a condo corporation isn't fun:
http://globalnews.ca/news/1562152/ow...rve-jail-time/
Seems the city (Ft. Mac and here) needs to step up inspections on all buildings, this doesn't necessarily only happen on wood framed buildings.
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2014, 9:46 PM
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I use Penhorwood only as an example of what comes at the end of the road for a condo corporation when a building is at the end of it's life. Whether that is one day or fifty years after construction. I think that is something individual homeowners should be sheltered from when the useful life of one type of building is likely to be significantly shorter than other similar alternatives.

If a landlord wants to built a cheap complex of buildings with the full knowledge that they may only last twenty years, that is a completely valid decision to make from a ROI perspective. By that time the land might be infinitely more valuable or it could be a ghost town. The end of the road scenario for a home owner in a condo situation is unavoidably ruinous.

Even the worst built steel and concrete tower, barring some sort of severe engineering failure or rustbelt level economic depression will always be a viable structure. It might need re-cladding, it might need new elevators, it might need new HVAC. But the concrete, steel and physical plant will always be worth millions. It might not represent the best use of any piece of land but it can be made to work.
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Old Posted Nov 1, 2014, 3:38 AM
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During the "Leaky Condo Crisis" in Vancouver, I remember reading an article in a local magazine (Georgia Straight?) that tried to wake up people to the coming 'end of use' crisis that is already happening with condos built in the 50's and 60's (or apartment -to -condo conversions at the time). Some of these half-century old buildings were causing problems with the current owners who are stuck with major repairs to keep these old buildings functioning, usually caused by previous condo owners / strata councils doing the bare minimum maintenance possible that was still affordable to the owners at the time.

With the shoddy construction (and slap-dash repairs) of the "Leaky Condo Crisis" buildings, the article noted that some leaky condo owners will still be paying off their condo mortgages and the loans for the repairs around the same time that the major components of the building will need their 20 / 25 / 30 year service-life replacement, so strata boards need to be preparing today for the major building maintenance needed 2 or 3 decades down the road.

The article also pointed out that the oldest condos will need to be demolished & replaced after 50 or 60 years because of poor maintenance, but because the building is strata-owned, a small group of condo owners can refuse to sell and move - preventing the building demolition. There is nothing in the law (yet) that I've seen that outlines how a condo building can be vacated and demolished without current owners losing their lifetime investment in their condos.
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