July 28, 2018

Monthly Update: July 2018


Program Updates

Think Wood Builds Strategic Relationships With Pro-Wood Experts at AIA 2018

This year’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual conference was in New York City, a high-profile opportunity where Think Wood’s striking new pro-wood displays showed what’s possible in wood construction to a highly engaged audience of architects, builders, and developers. Think Wood helped create a unified wood presence, capturing quality leads for WoodWorks, American Wood Council, NELMA, WWPA, and SFPA to assist and provide detailed answers to specific project questions. High-profile, in-person events continue to be another a strong driver of building trust while maintaining awareness and open lines of communication across these SLB-funded programs.

Expert Hour at AIA

Think Wood hosted a first-ever Expert Hour that proactively brought together 20 experts with experience in building and planning prominent wood structures. This group of architects and engineers discussed and shared their current projects and lessons learned with each other, media, and attendees. By bringing together a high-caliber group of pro-wood experts from the design industry, Think Wood continues to play a role in nurturing critical professional collaborations to seed the design teams that are critical for getting innovative wood structures built.

Think Wood facilitated numerous media interactions, including discussions with ArchDaily to provide story ideas for potential upcoming features and The Architect’s Newspaper to serve as a follow-up to its initial mass timber issue.

Wood, Naturally Influencers Promote Aesthetic and Economic Benefits of Wood Decks

In a continued focus on deck season, Wood, Naturally is partnering with contractors and designers to create credible and authentic content that refutes false competitor claims and highlights wood’s benefits. In June, Jen Woodhouse, a third-party influencer engaged by Wood, Naturally, published a blog post, $10k Deck: Wood vs. Composite, that illustrated in a side-by-side comparison the affordability of a pressure-treated wood deck relative to a composite deck, which was only half the size. Wood, Naturallypromoted it on Facebook, resulting in16k engagements. Her Facebook post drove the most responses of any branded posts in June, as people shared their own wood decks and expressed love for wood over composite, with comments such as “love this! However—never composite—ever” and “I’ve seen far more dissatisfied customers with composite decks than I ever have with wood.”

The campaign also worked with Sandra Powell (“Sawdust Girl”) to publish video, blog, and social content on How to Build a Deck With Pressure Treated Wood. Her content was viewed 295k times and drove 16.4k engagements among her audience, all without any paid support.

Online Resilience Twitter Chat Supports Building Safety

Recently, AWC organized and hosted a Twitter chat on building resiliency. With #AWCResilienceChat as a “handle,” the Q&A format allowed responses from an invited panel of experts to highlight how to protect homes and communities from extreme weather and natural disasters. For this chat, the panel included experts from the International Code Council (ICC), National Institute of Building Sciences, Simpson Strong-Tie, and AWC’s Vice President of Technology Transfer, Buddy Showalter. The chat quickly reached 25,005 individual Twitter accounts, with 297,512 impressions (number of times tweets from the session were seen).

Industry News

Transformation in the Construction Industry: Builders Turn to Offsite Construction to Offset Labor Costs and Lumber Prices

Builder Magazine
June 26, 2018

In central Florida, as in many markets around the United States, builders feel the brunt of both labor capacity constraints and lumber price hikes, playing havoc with input cost pro formas and gross margins.  Additionally, builders are having trouble lining up framing crews to fit tight start-to-completion schedules, all factors that impact their ability to deliver homes within price tolerances of home buyers and still make money.  As a solution, more and more builders are turning to high-volume offsite construction to cut waste, reduce labor requirements, and deliver on time and on budget.  Read more here.


Mass Timber and the Supply Chain: How Developing Changes in Mass/Tall Timber Codes Will Open New Markets

Judging by the outcome of the International Code Council (ICC) Group A Committee Action Hearing, April 15-23, in Columbus, Ohio, it’s likely that we will be seeing more and taller mass timber buildings across the country very soon. At the heart of the committee’s proposals are three new kinds of Type IV mass timber construction, offering design options well beyond the current limits for heavy timber under the code. The ICC code changes, supported by testing, will usher in a new era in the construction of buildings in the low- to mid-rise market, where new options abound. Already, significant investment in the production of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, the most popular mass timber application, has made tall mass timber buildings of up to 18 stories a cost-effective option for builders. Read more here.

How Silicon Valley Plans to Disrupt the Construction Industry

In the last 50 years, productivity has surged across the U.S. economy—from manufacturing to retail, industry after industry has become cheaper, faster, more mechanized, more efficient. But it’s not true of construction—where productivity has stagnated since 1968. Silicon Valley has noticed—and plans to step in with vertical integration of design and construction. Companies like Katerra see how construction efficiencies and economies of scale can be made in both manufacturing and design. Learn more on how this could affect the lumber industry here.


Watch Progress as Soon-to-Be World’s Tallest Wood Building Is Under Way

At 24 stories and 275 feet (84 meters) the HoHo building in Vienna will soon be the world’s tallest wood building.  Watch and follow along while the building is under construction.


Insights on the Competition

Concrete’s Build With Strength Campaigns Turns Focus to Lumber Prices and School Buildings

Build With Strength (BWS), a coalition of ready mixed concrete producers, has produced an advertisement focusing on lumber prices.  Additionally, BWS has developed a campaign that seeks to convince school officials to build with concrete. BWS has developed 11 new videos focusing on the elementary school in Richardsville, KY, which has an Insulated Concrete Form construction. The campaign seeks to convince districts that the safest form of construction is concrete. The campaign may be viewed here.


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.