Design revealed: 18-storey UBC residence to be world’s tallest wooden building

We came across this Vancity Buzz post that details the University of British Columbia’s plan to construct an 18-storey student residence to help alleviate its on-campus student housing demand. The building will be constructed primarily out of wood, with some concrete components for lateral stability and safety approval. When complete in 2017, it will be the tallest mass timber building in the world. Take a look at the following article for details of this new high-rise construction method.

A new student residence building at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus will become a living experiment as part of an effort to demonstrate the economic and structural feasibility of wood-based construction.

But the building will not be entirely wood: The building’s hybrid structural system of a one-storey concrete podium on the main floor and two vertical concrete cores that reach the rooftop level. According to the architects, the timber structure will carry the vertical load and the concrete cores, containing the exit stairs and elevators, will provide the structure with lateral stability.

“Although construction of the first floor and cores could technically be constructed utilizing mass timber, concrete was used in the interest of familiarity regarding life safety, fire fighting, ad approvals processes,” reads the architect’s building description.

One of the main concerns over a tall wood structure remains with fire safety, even thought timber is a safer material than steel given that charred wooden surfaces protect the sturctural wood underneath. In contrast, steel sturctures are weakest at the points of where it supports a post.

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CHOA Condo Smarts: What is the right amount for strata fees?

We came across this Condo Smarts post by Tony Gioventu from Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia that explains the differences in strata maintenance fees due to several factors such as hot water heat to each strata lot as a common expense versus electric heat paid by each owner individually. “Don’t be fooled by numbers without more information” Take a look at the following article for comparisons.

Dear Tony: Our strata has been struggling with the issue of determining how high our strata fees should be. Since we received our depreciation report, our council have put pressure on the owners to increase contingency contributions, and our maintenance and inspection provisions as part of our budget. As a result we increased our strata fees by 8% in 2014 and are looking at another 12% in 2015. The property across the street from us was built in the same year and their strata fees are $100 a month cheaper and this is having a negative effect on the ability of owners to sell their units. We have many opinions in our strata but few facts and I’m afraid our community is becoming divided over this issue. Is there such a thing as an average strata fee?

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Read More From Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia.

CHOA Condo Smarts: Who Controls Common Property?

We came across this Condo Smarts post by Tony Gioventu from Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia that highlights the limits of a strata lot owner’s right to alter common property without permission of the strata council. Read the full article below to learn more about consequences to unauthorized modification of common property, such as adding new plants or attaching items to the exterior of buildings. 

Dear Tony:

When I bought my home in 2005, I was told by the seller, who was the president of council at the time, I was responsible for my limited common property garden areas around my patio. I have a 2 bedroom ground floor unit adjacent to green space in North Vancouver and the patio area is a significant part of my lifestyle. As a result of our deprecation report and a building inspection, the strata council have recently approached me and advised I had to remove the pond I
had installed and that three trees that I had planted were going to either have to be removed or at least pruned significantly to avoid damages to our building. I am refusing to remove any of the additions that I have made to the area as it adds so much value to my home. Surely I can keep these alterations as they have been there since 2005 and I have always paid for their upkeep?

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Read More From Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia.

CHOA Condo Smarts: Phased Developments

We came across this Condo Smarts post by Tony Gioventu from Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia that highlights important considerations regarding replacing assets of phased developments. Read the full article below to learn more.

Dear Tony:

In March we bought a townhouse on Vancouver Island in a new development. We requested the normal documents and forms that are recommended by the realtors, but we overlooked one significant issue. The strata is a phased development. There are actually 8 phases to our development, and we purchased in the 7th phase which had already been sold by the developer in 2014. Our strata had a town hall meeting last week to talk about major construction that is coming up for the first phase of the development. The first phase is 8 years old and requires a new roof. Turns out there was a design/installation defect to the original roof, and it needs to be replaced before winter at a cost of $126,000. The construction doesn’t bother us, but we’re embarrassed that we didn’t realize this was a phased strata plan, nor did we understand the impact of buying into a phased plan and how that could impact us financially. We are both retired professionals and did everything right and still managed to be exposed. Is there any way of easily finding out if a strata is a phased plan?

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Read More From Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia.


CHOA Condo Smarts: No Construction Approval for Needed Repairs

Dear Tony:  How does a strata corporation get a project to move forward when the owners keep voting against it?

Our strata is a 88 unit townhouse complex in the lower mainland that was built in the 80’s.  It is a typical design of 2 and 3 bedroom units, sloped roofing and wood siding.

Our owners have always kept strata fees extremely low, and as a result we have sadly neglected our buildings.  A neighbouring property identical to ours have paid higher strata fees, maintained their properties and are not facing any crisis.  Our property is not located in an area that is desirable for development, so we have no choice but to maintain our units and dig deep to pay for some major repairs.  We now have some serious leaks to our roofing and several locations where the wood cladding has literally fallen off the buildings.  Even with these serious problems, owners are still voting against the repairs.  We are desperate for some ideas on how to move forward as we cannot seem to get more than 65% of the owners to approve.

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Read More From Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia.

B.C. Lab’s Metallic Glass Creates Potential For Smart Windows

A B.C. engineering lab has created metal-coated glass that transmits up to 10 per cent more light than conventional glass and opens the door to windows that function as electronics.

The most immediate use of the technology is to create windows that can be programmed to absorb or reflect heat, depending on the needs of a building’s occupants, said lead investigator Kenneth Chau, a professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Films like Iron Man and Star Trek provide scientists with inspiration for scientific progress, he said.

“There is a dream that we can make glass smarter,” he said. “These films give us concepts to strive for; the hard work is uncovering the science to make it happen.”

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Australia Embraces Wooden Structure High-Rise Buildings

A change to building regulation codes in Australia means that architects will be allowed to build timber-framed structures up to eight storeys in height for the first time.

The new regulations are more line with buildings codes in North America and Europe, where many seven- to nine-storey wooden buildings have been completed, and a series of timber-framed skyscrapers are proposed.

The research project was led by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), a nonprofit industry organisation. Managing director Ric Sinclair claims the ruling will offer benefits to local residents, property owners and the domestic building industry.

“This initiative will bring Australia up to pace with much of the rest of the world – so that the building property industry can take advantage of the environmental and cost benefits of domestic timber construction,”

View here to read the full article

Cameron Carter, President of Normac, Nominated for Industry Award

We are proud to say that Cameron Carter was nominated for a PAMA award as an “Industry Contributor of the Year”. He was nominated because he displays integrity, reliability, commitment to the industry, loyalty to consumer clients and the ability to interact well with Industry Members, Property Managers, Service Providers and other Industry Professionals.

BC Launches a New Strata Housing Website

Depreciation Reports - Normac

Main page:
Find it Fast page:  (topics are listed as clickable links)

The website provides basic information about certain parts of the Strata Property Act, regulations and Standard Bylaws as a helpful starting point for strata owners, residents, and strata council members.  While the focus is on strata housing, strata legislation applies to all strata corporations.  It is important to note that the website is not a substitute for getting legal advice; it does not provide a legal interpretation of the Strata Property Act, regulations, bylaws and rules or court cases and how the courts have interpreted the legislative framework.


  • The website uses more plain language and more examples.
  • It uses the new government template which is mobile friendly.
  • It has new content and expanded content including:
    • Changes to Legislation
    • Insurance
    • The Role of Government
    • Living in a Strata
    • Bylaws and Rules Explained
    • Buying and Selling Strata” including “First Time Strata Owners

This site also provides links and references to other strata resources including:

  • Strata Associations”: CHOA, VISOA and CCI
  • Getting Legal Advice
  • Strata Legislation” with links to legislation and options for getting printed copies

Click HERE to visit the new strata housing website.