Wood First Initiative

Advancing wood use in British Columbia

Home to one of the world’s most sustainable and globally-competitive forest sectors, B.C. is actively taking steps to advance the use of wood. Maintaining B.C.’s forest sector leadership requires continued effort to develop innovative products and to diversify markets.

Through its Wood First Program, the Province encourages the forest industry, researchers and design professionals to explore innovation in B.C.'s built environment and through value-added wood products, helping to grow local and global markets, while promoting climate-friendly construction and supporting our forest-dependent communities.

By advancing the use of wood across the province, community leaders are helping residents benefit from new, functional and innovative facilities. Supporting innovation in manufacturing and increased uses of wood in building design and construction ensures that the province’s forest industry is vibrant and globally competitive, proving benefits for current and future generations, and strengthening B.C. communities.

Highlights of B.C.’s leadership in advancing wood use:

  • B.C. was the first province to adopt building code changes in 2009, permitting six-storey wood frame residential buildings. Through the Wood First Act and updates to provincial building codes, B.C. leads Canada in positioning wood as a building material of choice
  • Wood use in B.C. is building taller and larger with wood, accelerating innovative design and building solutions. Brock Commons Tallwood House is an innovative tall wood hybrid building at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Successful construction of the mass timber structure - completed four months ahead of schedule - is showcasing the potential for mass timber building systems in B.C. At 54 metres in height (18 storeys), it is one of the tallest contemporary wood structures in North America

Why Build With Wood:

  1. Wood is sourced locally. Building with wood supports our economy and local communities
  2. Wood is strong, lightweight and flexible. Wood building systems have been proven to be seismically safe
  3. Wood comes from renewable, certified and sustainably managed forests
  4. As one of the most durable and safe building products, wood creates optimal living and working environments while meeting code and safety requirements
  5. Wood buildings are easy to renovate, expand and adapt to changing uses
  6. Wood is a responsible choice that helps reduce our environmental footprint due to the reduced energy required to create wood building products and through carbon storage in the wood itself