January 30, 2018

Monthly Update: January 2018


Program Updates

reThink Wood Becomes Think Wood

In early January reThink Wood formally became Think Wood.

This change was spurred in part by the proliferation of wood buildings across the U.S. It’s clear that architects, engineers, builders and designers no longer need encouragement to rethink wood, they now Think Wood. Read more here.


Through Think Wood, Wood Dominates Reach and Share of Voice in 2017

By using emergent digital tactics and building strong, long-term relationships with the media, Think Wood helped softwood lumber and the wood industry command a strong share of voice and exposed Think Wood messaging over 617 million times throughout 2017, outperforming competitors by solid margins and despite an increase in negative communications from the concrete industry’s well-funded Build with Strength campaign. Share of voice is calculated as the percentage of content and conversations about an industry compared with competitors, including in key industry publications.

In 2018, Think Wood will continue to elevate wood and proactively promote content that touts the proven benefits of building with wood.

Wood, Naturally Reaches Homeowners in Materials-Decision Phase

Wood, Naturally continues its cost-effective strategy of paid support for digital content, targeting homeowners where and when they are searching for information in order to make informed building material decisions. Reviewing social and search analytics allows Wood, Naturally to constantly optimize and increase performance and the campaign’s overall return on investment.

Given the strong performance of project videos on social media, Wood, Naturally ran influencer Jeff Devlin’s How To Build A Wood Bar video on Facebook in December. The video outperformed other December content in both views and link clicks, producing over 91,000 views, 16,000 link clicks, and 110,000 engagements.

The campaign is also working to enhance search engine results and marketing. For example, “wood projects” was recently the top-performing search term, generating 23% of clicks, followed by “wainscoting” and “paneling for walls,” indicating consumers’ seasonal shift to interior projects. In part by improving search marketing and through social media posts, Wood, Naturally drew over 40,500 visitors to its website in December, a 75% increase from the previous quarter. The website’s Idea Center, with professionally staged and shot images of wood home projects, was the top-performing page.


AWC Launches Publications for One- and Two-Family Dwelling Construction Details

AWC offers two complementary guidelines that can help designers and code officials with conventional construction details for one- and two-family dwellings – Wood Construction Data (WCD) 1: Details for Conventional Wood Frame Construction and the Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM).

WCD 1 touches on the International Residential Code’s (IRC’s) prescriptive framing provisions and offers a comprehensive summary of rules and guidelines for wood frame construction, including a series of figures that illustrate proper framing techniques. Download WCD 1 for free at: http://awc.org/codes-standards/publications/wcd1.
WFCM offers a more rigorous and prescriptive structural design methodology aligned with the loading requirements of the American Society of Civil Engineers load standard, ASCE 7, which addresses wind, seismic, and snow loads across the U.S. WFCM can be used, for instance, when the IRC requires an engineered design for higher wind speed zones. View WFCM at: http://www.awc.org/codes-standards/publications/wfcm-2018.

AWC Launches Construction Fire Safety Coalition

The American Wood Council (AWC) spearheaded the launch of a Construction Fire Safety Coalition, intended to bring together construction sector groups interested in improving construction site fire safety. Coalition partners believe that through heightened awareness and sustained job site fire prevention, the frequency and severity of construction fires can be reduced. The coalition will work to make other stakeholders aware of the many great resources available for training, inspection, and best practices. More information is available at: www.constructionfiresafety.org.


Industry News

Lever Architects Elevates Lumber Construction to an Art Form

January 17, 2018

“In a city long-famed for its environmentally friendly political culture it seems only natural to turn to timber, and for local firm Lever Architects, working with the material has helped bring its energy-efficient projects to national attention.” Read more here.


SoftBank Pours $865 Million into Katerra, a Start-Up Making Buildings in a Factory

January 24, 2018
“SoftBank Vision Fund is leading another out-sized equity funding round, this time pouring $865 million into Katerra, a high-tech construction company.” Read more here | Watch interview here.

A New Generation: How Off-Site Construction Can Help to Attract Top Young Talent

January 11, 2018
“An industry being warned about a growing lack of youth within its workforce is having to assess the way that it approaches recruitment. We look at the changing face of a potential career in the built environment thanks to the rise of off-site construction.” Read more here.

10 Waves of Change for Home Builders

January 2, 2018

After reviewing this fall’s great conferences a couple of observations are appropriate for thinking about where we are and where we are going… Second: Interest in the realm of “off-site solutions” (building either components or all of houses in factories) is white-hot. Nearly every meeting/conference has this as a topic now as builders begin to understand that the old methods are no longer the future methods.” Read more here.


How Mass Timber Can Help Architects Rethink “Basic Services”

The Architects Newspaper
January 2, 2018

“The idea of “Basic Services” is central to explaining traditional practice, in that it’s the way we routinize our efforts through standard stages of effort (schematic design, design development, and so forth), structure decision-making, and, almost as important, create a basis for protecting our limited fees and invoicing the client…Nowhere is this more apparent than in the latest thinking about the use of mass timber as a fundamental building material for cities  Read more here.


Why Wood is Back at the Top of the Tree for Architects

The Guardian
January 28, 2018

“Strong, clean and versatile, engineered timber is the ‘new concrete’. With wooden skyscrapers in the offing, could it be the answer to the global housing crisis?…It’s the material of the future, an architect tells me. Its most ardent proselytisers think it could fix the overcrowding of the world’s cities. At the same time, this stuff – wood – is so ancient that 18th-century theorists believed that Adam built the first house out of it in the Garden of Eden. Mild-mannered, unassuming timber has gone into a phone box and come out as a super-substance.” Read more here.


3D Walk Through of Largest Mass Timber Project

Watch the video here. 


How Forests Make Our Lives Better

The North American Forest Partnership (NAFP) recently released a creative whiteboard video outlining all the ways forests make our lives better.
Watch video here.


Insights on the Competition

Trex Unveils Top Trends in Outdoor Living for 2018

Trex News Release
January 26, 2018

With the popularity of outdoor living expected to hit its highest peak yet this year*, homeowners across the country will be going all-in for the outdoors in 2018. Once again, Trex Company, the world’s #1 brand of premium decking and railing, has gleaned insights from contractors, homeowners and industry experts to compile its annual outdoor living forecast. Following are some of the other top trends that will be dominating the outdoor living landscape in 2018:
  • Minimal Maintenance, Maximum Enjoyment
  • Comfy CozyFun & Games
  • Residential Goes Commercial
  • Hide & Chic
  • Fun & Games

Build With Strength Continues to Make Claims Against Wood Construction Materials

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Build With Strength Campaign continues to send out press releases and announcements claim wood is an “inferior construction material”. The month of January saw six press releases distributed, which reinforces the importance of continued pro-wood messaging via the softwood lumber industry.

Industry Resources

FEA’s Housing Dashboard

This housing dashboard is provided compliments of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA).


Virginia Tech’s Monthly Housing Report

This monthly housing commentary report is a free service of Virginia Tech and is intended to help one gauge future business activity in the U.S. housing market.