The Wood Use Matrix


Where can I use wood in this type of building?

For which specific building elements is it preferable to use wood components?

Are there existing buildings that have already done this successfully?

Will it require an "Alternative Solution"?

Which designers, builders and consultants have experience?


The Wood Use Matrix is a tool that summarizes the current best practices in the use of wood building materials and systems for various building elements of a wide variety of building types.

Guiding Principles for the Wood Use Matrix

Designers must attempt to use wood structurally and architecturally, within the guiding principles stated below:

A. Building must be functional;

B. Building must be life-cycle cost effective (including capital costs and ongoing operational costs);

C. Building must have a minimal environmental footprint (e.g. LEED, GreenGlobes, etc.).


Wood Use Matrix

As an objective-based Code, the BC Building Code provides two avenues for Code compliance. One is prescriptive through meeting the "Acceptable Solutions" in Division B.  The other is by "Alternative Solutions", which often requires technical substantiation to demonstrate that a proposed design will achieve a level of performance that meets the minimum required by the Building Code.

The attached Wood Use Matrix contains appropriate guidance for wood use in accordance with the BC Building Code in terms of "Acceptable" and "Alternative" solutions.  The Matrix is a guideline that shows where:

1. An Acceptable Solution with wood is permitted;

2. An Alternative Solution with wood is relatively easy to implement;

3. An Alternative Solution with wood will require advanced analysis;

4. An Alternative Solution with wood will require extensive research.

While the matrix gives guidance on the use of wood it is not intended to supersede the judgment of the responsible design professionals.

Matrix Development Panel for Local Government Buildings:

Larry McFarland (MMAL), Eric Karsh (Equilibrium Consulting), Andrew Harmsworth (GHL), Jim Weber (City of Port Moody), Erol Karacabeyli and Roland Baumeister (FPInnovations), Sukh Johal, Bill Billups and Peter Moonen, Werner Hofstatter (Wood WORKS! BC).  The Panel will reconvene on a periodic basis to consider changes.  

Matrix Development for Provincial Government Buildings by the Procurement Working Group:

For projects developed directly by the Provincial Government, Wood Use Matrix values were provided by representatives from each area to the Procurement Working Group.  The Ministries relied on a combination of internal expertise and their architectural, engineering and code consultants. The results and links to example projects were coordinated by Wood WORKS! BC.

Recommendations for improvements to the Matrix should be sent to:

or .


Click here to access the Wood Use Matrix.