Five Vancouver Island communities are among the first in B.C. to adopt mass timber construction technology which allows for buildings as tall as 12 storeys to be built out of wood.

The new construction method is described as innovative and safe by the province and can be used to create structures faster than traditional steel and concrete materials.

Mass timber buildings are prefabricated off-site then assembled at their final destination, making construction faster for crews upon delivery. Wooden buildings are also considered to be environmentally friendly without sacrificing safety by absorbing carbon through the wood but using fire-resistant materials in other elements of the structure, such as drywall.

"A 12-storey mass timber development proposal in Victoria, which also includes affordable homes, will deliver much-needed housing quicker," said the province in a news release on Tuesday.

"As the mass timber components are prefabricated off-site and can be put in place quickly, the community will also benefit from reduced traffic to the construction site and reduced noise during construction."

The five island municipalities to approve mass timber buildings are: Victoria, Saanich, Langford, Colwood and Campbell River. They join eight other communities across B.C. in adopting the new construction technology, which together represents 35 per cent of all housing starts in the province in 2018.

The emerging mass timber industry is also giving much needed work to B.C.'s forestry sector, according to the province.

“Building with B.C. wood is good for people, communities, our economy and our climate," said Premier John Horgan in a statement on Tuesday. "It will create thousands of jobs, reduce carbon pollution and support forest-dependent communities. These 13 communities will help us get there faster.”