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Surrey Pretrial Centre, Surrey B.C.
Surrey Pretrial Centre, Surrey B.C.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sound abatement wall.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sound abatement wall.
August 2013
Canada
Wood Use in Public Infrastructure

The Wood First Act received Royal Assent in 2009. The Act requires wood to be considered as the primary building material in all new publicly-funded buildings in B.C., when supported by the British Columbia Building Code. Since 2009, many new projects across government have incorporated a large amount of wood into the building design. In 2012/13 FII supported these efforts by coordinating with the Procurement Working Group, a committee of ministry officials involved in capital planning, to share information on building with wood and to build a knowledge base related to design, tendering and procurement guidelines.

A particularly innovative application of wood in public construction was demonstrated in 2012/13 with the use of wood in sound abatement walls for highway construction, including the new Port Mann Bridge. Compared to concrete, the wood barriers are lighter, easier to build, cheaper and preferred by nearby residents who appreciate their natural appearance. Another creative application of wood was demonstrated by the new Surrey Pretrial Centre. While correctional centres require extensive use of reinforced concrete, wood was incorporated in the design to create a better working environment for staff and better living conditions for inmates.