Brock Commons: The Tallest Wooden Building in the World


CLT Construction: Brock Commons now is the tallest buidling in the world

Source: Canada Wood Group

Softwood have less wood grain and stronger structure, which is ideal for construction. Brock Commons Tallwood House is an great example for softwood frame building. The building is an innovative tall wood student residence at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The envelope of the Brock Commons building is a combination of a curtain wall system (ground level) and prefabricated panel system (levels 2 through 18), with a conventional built-up roof.


The newest addition to this portfolio is the first mass hybrid timber residential high-rise building in North America: the 18-storey, 53 m tall Brock Commons Phase 1 building.

Brock Commons successfully demonstrates the main advantages of wood frame constructions:

1. Storage and Reduction of CO2

According to the data report from UBC, Brock Commons uses 2,233 m3 of wood, which can store 1,753 tonnes of CO2 and avoid emissions of 679 tonnes of CO2, meaning the total of 2,432 tonnes of CO2 are reduced within this project, equivalent to an annual reduction of 500 cars.

2. Fast Construction

Brock Commons uses CLT as the basis of the building. CLT panels are arranged in a vertical and horizontal manner, allowing the wood stronger than steel structure and reinforced concrete. The techniques can be used in the external walls, floors and partition walls, etc. CLT is ideal for mass production. If the construction can be processed in repeated applications, the speed of the will be high. In the case of Brock Commons, the main structure of the 53-meter-tall building is finished within 10 weeks, which 2 to 3 times faster than traditional concrete. Lance Tao said that these large, standardized wooden building materials were produced in factories, then transported to the scene. Workers only need to assemble at the scene, making the building progress very simple and fast. As a result, "simplification" and "standardization" are the priorities that must be taken into account when planning a project.

3. Earthquake and Fire-Proof

The capacity of earthquake and fire-proof of Brock Commons exceeds standard specification. This 53 meters high wooden building can withstand 8.0 earthquake. Regards the fireproof capacity of wood, Lance Tao said, many people today still have misunderstanding. The surface of fireproof wood will be carbonized when burned, generating a fireproof layer. It allow people to predict the time that wood building collapse, ensure the safety of people and firefighters. Brock Commons' wooden building provides 2HR fire resistance rating (FRR).