Conceptual Reference Database for Building Envelope Research Prev

Rotting wood framed apartments -- not just a Vancouver problem

Chouinard, K. L. and Lawton, M. D.


Chouinard, K. L. and Lawton, M. D.Rotting wood framed apartments -- not just a Vancouver problem, ---.
This link was checked on Dec. 2006Source (


It has been well documented that there has been a major crisis with the durability of woodframed condominium buildings in the lower mainland of British Columbia. The extent andseverity of problems have been widely publicized and many of the stakeholders have initiatedactions aimed at minimizing exposure to past and future problems. It is widely believed that theproblems arise because of the Vancouver's unique climate, which is deemed to be abnormallywet and warm. Our experience belies this belief.

Rotting wood framed buildings can and do exist across Canada. We have investigatedmany wood-framed buildings in Ontario and Nova Scotia that have required major renovationbecause of rotting structural members. The design details and level of construction seen in thesebuildings has many similarities with those exhibited by buildings in Vancouver. Inadequatemanagement of water is the cause of the problem and water leads to rot. In this paper, we willdiscuss a number of the problem buildings we have investigated and redesigned. The similaritieswith Vancouver will be reviewed, and the fatal flaws introduced by the design and constructionprocess will be explored. A renewed appreciation of the necessity for adequate design ofmoisture control will be the goal.

Related Resources:

Related Concepts

Author Information and Other Publications Notes
Chouinard, K. L.
Kevin L. Chouinard P. Eng. Senior Project Engineer and Principal of Morrison Hershfield Limited (
Lawton, M. D.
Mark D. Lawton, P. Eng Building Science Specialist and holds the position of Technical Director of Building Engineering of Morrison Hershfield Limited.
  1. A comparison of airborne ergosterol, glucan and Air-O-Cell data in relation to physical assessments of mold damage and some other parameters
  2. An evaluation guide for performance assessment of air barrier
  3. Convective processes in loose-fill attic insulation--metering equipment
  4. EASE demonstration project: APCHQ's advanced house
  5. Moldy houses - building science lessons from the Wallaceburg project
  6. Rain penetration control - applying current knowledge (rpc-00)
  7. Reacting to durability problems with Vancouver buildings
  8. Stucco-clad wall drying experiment
  9. Testing of air barrier construction details
  10. The influence of house characteristics in a Canadian community on microbiological contamination  

CRDBER, at CBS, BCEE, ENCS, Concordia,