Cowichan’s new RCMP detachment will now be constructed out of structural steel instead of mass timber, as originally planned, as a cost saving measure. (File graphic)

Cowichan’s new RCMP detachment will now be constructed out of structural steel instead of mass timber, as originally planned, as a cost saving measure. (File graphic)

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment to be constructed in structural steel instead of mass timber

Change will result in a savings of $1.8 million

The construction of the new $48-million RCMP detachment in North Cowichan will be done in structural steel, instead of mass timber as originally planned, as a cost-saving measure.

The decision was made after staff at the Municipality of North Cowichan reported the costs of mass timber, a category of framing styles characterized by the use of large solid wood panels for wall, floor, and roof construction, have increased approximately 150 per cent since the municipality conducted an Alternative Approval Process to borrow the money for the facility in July.

There is also a shortage in the supply of mass timber due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“In modelling our facility after the new Fort St. John RCMP building, staff have been able to watch and learn from their experience,” a report from North Cowichan stated after a closed council meeting on Oct. 7.

“The challenges and escalating costs Fort St. John has faced using mass timber demonstrated a need for our staff to work with the construction manager to determine if this was the best material to use in the construction of our facility.”

The report said the construction manager of the project determined that structural steel would be a feasible alternative to mass timber and would cost approximately $1.8 million less to use, thus creating a saving in the capital budget for this project. “Council was assured that the building will still have a ‘West Coast look’ with the use of wood trim and other features,” the report said.

The new RCMP facility will be a hub detachment that will bring together the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, Forensic Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, First Nations Policing and some services of the Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment under one roof.

It is currently under construction on a five-acre property owned by the Municipality of North Cowichan bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road.

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