Exploring Beyond Convention: 6 Storey Wood-Frame Construction Workshop

On June 28, Sustainable Buildings Canada hosted the ‘Exploring Beyond Convention: 6 Storey Wood Workshop’ in the downtown Toronto Spoke Club. With sponsorship from Roxul, this event focused on some of the key constructability and engineering issues associated with tall wood construction.

David Moses began an in-depth discussion of wood’s unique absorbing properties and abilities. David also elaborated on wood decay, explaining that with low moisture levels, and when raised from the ground, wood remains incredibly durable.

Alex Lukachko continued the discussion, and explained that keeping wood warm and dry is vital to its long term durability. How buildings change over time is a complex topic, as there are many variables at stake. There are practices in place in Vancouver that are not yet employed in Ontario, which aim to keep wood as dry as possible, which then positively impact the longevity of other building materials and durability.

Rick Roos elaborated on the importance of integrated design, noting how safety layering is an effective strategy for preventing fire from moving rapidly through a building. Rick noted that sprinklers as well as non-combustible insulation are valuable prohibitives, as combustible materials must be prevented from charring.

Dave Petersen followed by discussing the interplay between fenestration, fire safety, and life safety. In keeping with the theme of integrated design and the complexities of building, Dave illustrated the importance of communication with suppliers, as well as minimizing thermal bridges and aligning windows with primary planes of insulation.

The panel then turned to the audience for further points of discussion. Various topics included British Columbia’s success in building with wood, which has seen construction projects building up to two stories per week. It was also noted that wood protection during building is much more common in Europe than in Canada. Wood variability over time was also discussed, with Dave Petersen noting that enough is known about wood to predict and mitigate shrinkage over time, especially by keeping moisture exposure minimal, as well as keeping the complexities of the building as well as the building process itself in mind. Finally, attendees discussed the cost implications with panelists noting that construction and material costs are in line with other materials.  “Soft costs” such as increased insurance premiums during construction can impact overall project cost, however these may be mitigated by shorter construction time.

SBC would like to thank our generous sponsor, Roxul, our expert panel, the organizers including Christopher Marleau and Sarah Jones, and finally all those who attended.  We are pleased to share a link to the slide deck presentations.

Please keep an eye on our website for up-coming events and don’t forget to register for our annual conference. Thank you!

Our Expert Speakers

David Petersen
David Petersen

David has accrued over 20 years of experience in project and client relationship management in the building envelope and fenestration sector, coupled with a formal background in Management Studies through the University of Toronto. David’s hands-on style of project management in Canada, the U.S and Caribbean is balanced with a technical background in building science consulting and allows David to understand client wants and needs and translate these into a comprehensive package focused on meeting design goals while keeping budgets and timelines in check. OIDB’s sister company, Earthshine Bionomics, facilitates companies in developing and building low energy, resilient, homes and light commercial structures. David maintains an active relationship with academia: he teaches course content for the Canada Green Building Council’s Sustainable Building Advisor program, and is a guest lecturer at George Brown College’s School for Architectural Studies. David has been working with the Sustainable Buildings Canada team since 2010 as part of their group of expert designers, modelers and facilitators, enabling SBC to deliver quality results with better-than-code performance (25% or greater) and up to Net Zero Energy performance in residential and commercial buildings.

David Moses

David is the founder of Moses Structural Engineers, a Toronto-based firm whose core purpose is to have a “Lasting Impact” on our cities and communities. David was born in Ottawa, went to Queen’s University for undergraduate and Master degrees in engineering and then left to Vancouver to pursue a PhD in timber engineering. After 10 years of studying, working and skiing in BC, David returned to Ontario and in 2010 opened the doors to his own company. David is a recognized leader, designer, teacher, researcher, writer and invited lecturer. He has over 20 years of experience in timber engineering and has been involved in hundreds of structural engineering projects across Canada and the United States, including many firsts: the first Canadian and Ontario Cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings, the first passive house in Canada and early CNC machining of heavy timber for construction.
 David’s company has designed over 80 prefabricated wood buildings using Structural Composite Lumber, panelized I-joists, CLT and long-span glued-laminated timber. Moses Structural Engineers has twice received the “Wood Engineering – Advocate” award from Ontario WoodWorks, and in 2011 David Moses received the Forest Products Society “Wood Engineering Award”. They also received the 2016 OFIA “Wood Champion” award. In September of 2015 Moses Structural Engineers initiated a new event called TimberFever to bring young student architects, engineers and carpenters together. This 3-day design-and-build event will be repeated again this year at Ryerson University, and is one more way that David’s company is making a “Lasting Impact” on the future of designers and buildings in our province.

Alex Lukachko
Alex Lukachko

Alex Lukachko, M.Arch., is a Principal and Senior Building Science Specialist with RDH. He manages the firm’s Toronto region and consults with clients in Canada and the United States, including building material manufacturers, constructors, and architecture firms. Alex also teaches the integration of energy, building science and design concepts in the architecture programs at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. Alex has active research interests in the development of future building enclosure systems and the design of high performance, low environmental impact buildings. In particular, he is interested in the link between architectural design and quality assurance that ensures high building performance. These interests are part of a long-term pursuit of effective (and measurable) sustainable building practices.

Rick Roos
Rick Roos

Rick Roos, MASc, brings together expertise in fire, acoustics and building science. As Project Manager in Fire and Acoustics in ROXUL’s Technical Innovations group, he undertakes research and development of innovative assemblies, meeting the needs of today’s evolving construction methods. Rick is also actively engaged in promoting life safety and best practices within building codes and technical standards committee work.

We would like to thank Roxul for sponsoring this event.


Natalia Ortiz Moreno

Natalia Ortiz, student of Project Management Environmental (PME) program in Seneca Polytechnic, has an Environmental Engineering background completed at Universidad El Bosque in Colombia. She has always been involved in sustainability roles and projects that included Environmental Management Systems implementation, Water Treatment Systems’ design and operation, Hazardous and Conventional Waste management and minimization practices, as well as Ecosystem’s Conservation and Energy
Efficiency programs.

For the PME – Applied Project Management Course, Natalia developed a Green Roof Assessment Tool for Seneca Polytechnic’s Office of Sustainability, with the aim to provide green roof technology recommendations best suited to a particular scenario, taking into consideration multiple aspects of green roofs and buildings; infrastructure, design, materials, environmental factors, and costs, as well as the Toronto Municipal Code – Green Roof bylaw. Natalia also has a scientific journal publication as the main author of the project “Selection and sizing of industrial wastewater treatment units required at the
new maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) aircraft facility owned by Avianca S.A. in Rionegro Antioquia” in the El Bosque University Journal of Technology.

Natalia strongly believes there are several research topics left to be developed, and the importance of
working towards Sustainability from different backgrounds, knowledge, and cultures to build strong, productive, and resilient communities.
With the vision of growing cities and infrastructure along with nature, always preserving and respecting the ecosystems’ attributes and services, Natalia would like to keep researching and acquiring more experience in Sustainability roles.

Emily Smit

Emily is a second-year PhD student in Geography at the University of Toronto, and a co-operator of a small home renovation company, Magnus Home Improvements. Her research seeks to determine how single-family homes can quickly and best be retrofit to achieve Toronto’s emissions reductions targets – including net-zero by 2040 – as part of the TransformTO climate action plan. Specifically, she will assess the impact of municipal home energy reporting and disclosure programs, as well as produce recommendations for growing the retrofit labour force in ways that attend to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Further, her research seeks to understand how home retrofit activities can be regenerative and produce net-positive impacts for humans and the environment towards transformative, place-based sustainability. When not at her computer, Emily can be found cycling with her kids to and from school or making funky sounds on her analog synthesizer.

Bofa Udisi

Bofa is a sustainability professional with over seven years in the energy and environment industry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Energy and Petroleum Studies from Novena University in Nigeria and graduate certificates in Energy Management and Environmental Project Management from Seneca College in Toronto. In 2020, he graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Environment and Business degree. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Building Science program at Toronto Metropolitan University, researching whole-life carbon reduction in new construction and building renovations.

Bofa‘s work experience is primarily in the built environment, working in the private and public sectors in roles that involve structural and environmental assessment of building structures, HVAC engineering design and sales, and facilities management. Bofa is a member of several industry associations, such as the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the American Society for Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Project Management Institute (PMI). SBC’s bursary will go a long way in supporting Bofa‘s research and his desire to learn.