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VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

The 2022 crop of students at the University of Victoria will get a first-hand lesson in sustainable construction techniques.

In September 2022, 398 UVic students will be living in the largest passive house building in Victoria. The sustainable student housing and dining construction project is taking shape on the outside of Ring Road, just south of the Student Union Building where Cadboro Commons used to stand.

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The state-of-the-art building constructed of concrete and mass timber will be designed with the industry’s most rigorous sustainability and energy efficiency requirements. In the fall of 2023, the second building will be ready to welcome 385 more students into the dorms.

“When complete, these buildings will be gathering places on campus for students to live, learn, share meals and connections,” said Joel Lynn, executive director of UVic Student Services. “The facilities will enrich the student experience by creating a community gathering space on campus, and we’re very excited for our students to have access to this kind of facility during their studies at UVic.”

When complete, Building One will have six storeys on its south wing and eight storeys on its north wing. It will house the dining facility and student residences. Building Two is 11 storeys and will be home to student residences on its upper floors and classroom space, study and meeting space, conference facilities and an Indigenous student lounge on the lower two levels.

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Recent work has been focused on the concrete structure, interior framing and exterior stud framing. The recent arrival of mass timber from a new state-of-the-art facility in the Kootenays allows for the installation of mass timber columns and slabs, including work on the mass timber podium — a feature that wraps around the exterior of the south wing of Building One.

Mass timber is made by adhering smaller pieces of wood together to form pre-fabricated larger building components such as beams. Using B.C.-sourced wood for the mass timber features allows the university to lower the carbon footprint for the entire build.

While construction is progressing on schedule, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the project. Work safe plans and procedures are in place and strictly followed, being updated to follow current provincial health orders. Because the campus is quieter than usual, with students, faculty and staff learning and working remotely, construction has progressed efficiently with fewer constraints as vehicle and foot traffic on campus is currently very low.


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This architectural rendering shows the new student housing and dining building at the University of Victoria. The first building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022, with a second building expected to open in 2023. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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