May 31, 2018

Monthly Update: May 2018


Program Updates

AWC Supports and Defends Wood Use in ICC Group A Committee Action Hearings

At the ICC Group A Committee Action Hearings in Columbus, OH in April, more than justtall wood code changes were considered. International Code Council (ICC) codes being updated in this cycle included the International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code (IWUIC), among others. In advance of the hearing, AWC staff reviewed over 1,200 code change proposals and established positions on each. Altogether, AWC identified 190 proposals of direct interest to industry and 88 of those were deemed “significant.” 40 of those were determined to be favorable for the industry and, of those, 33 were recommended for approval (83%) by the respective ICC committees. Equally important, 48 proposals represented a threat to wood markets, and 42 (88%) of those were recommended for disapproval. AWC staff will now be considering strategies to use when all code changes receive a final review at ICC hearings in October.

WoodWorks Blast-testing Research Opens Pathway to CLT Hotels on Military Bases

Blast resistance is a key requirement for military and other high-security construction applications.  To open a larger pathway for wood, WoodWorks pursued CLT blast-testing research with funds from the SLB and US Forest Service in addition to materials donated by CLT manufacturers.  The blast tests provide solid data which eliminates the need for overly-conservative modelling which is otherwise used to justify blast resilience, allowing for a greater use of CLT in military applications.  The first result of this is a 5-story, 1.6 million board feet all-CLT Candlewood Suites hotel currently under construction at Fort Drum, NY.  The developer – Lendlease – has a 50-year agreement to build hotels on U.S. military bases. Lendlease has already built its first CLT hotel at the Redstone Arsenal base in Alabama and has plans for an additional two more CLT hotels scheduled to begin construction this year.  To watch some videos of the blast testing click here.


New Think Wood CEU Teaches Specifiers How to Achieve Thermal Performance Goals by Choosing Wood

Think Wood’s newest Continuing Education Unit (CEU) shows architects and engineers the possibilities of achieving thermal performance requirements of buildings by utilizing wood construction.  Air pockets within wood’s cellular structure naturally provide insulation benefits.  These benefits can be leveraged by architects and engineers to economically achieve thermal requirements in new construction.  This CEU and others developed by Think Wood are an effective mechanism for Think Wood to reach out to architects and engineers while they seek credits toward their professional development.

Think Wood to Host the Wood Pavilion at the American Institute of Architects Convention in New York City

If you attend the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention in New York City on June 21-23, be sure to look for the prominent Wood Pavilion hosted by Think Wood.  The booth will bring together SLB partner programs WoodWorks and the American Wood council along with industry associations including the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, Southern Pine Council, and the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association.

Think Wood: Hines’ Second T3 Building Underway in Atlanta, Demonstrating Commercial Viability of Mass Timber Buildings

Proving the commercial viability and benefitsof building with mass timber, construction of Hines’ second T3 (Timber, Transit, and Technology) building is underway in Atlanta.  The first T3 building – constructed with Nail-laminated timber (NLT) and glulam – was completed just over a year ago in Minneapolis.  The sustainability and aesthetic of its wooden construction appeals to the sensibilities of the modern workforce, helping the building attract top-tier tenants such as Amazon. Following upon the success of the first T3 building, construction of a second T3 building demonstrates that mass timber construction is moving out of the uncertainty of the initial exploratory phase and can be driven by its commercial viability.  To learn more, read Think Wood’scoverage of the building, which also links to an ArchitectChats episode that interviews the architect-of-record for the project, DLR Group.  More T3 buildings are potentially on the way.

Wood, Naturally Promotes Deck Safety Month to Help Homeowners Prepare for Deck Season

It’s almost Summer, and Wood, Naturally helps keep wood deck maintenance straightforward with some quick tips in an article featuring partners Mark Clement of MyFixItUpLife and Simpson Strong Tie.  You can also view Mark’s three minute video on Facebook which walks viewers through the basics of performing an annual deck safety check-up to ensure another season of safe enjoyment of their wooden deck.

Industry News

Seattle Revises its Building Code to Allow for “6 over 2” Wood-Frame Construction

The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance to allow six stories of wood frame construction over two stories of a concrete base.  In a city facing a housing shortage, the Council noted that under previous code, too often developers had to forego additional building height in the 75-foot tall building range because doing so would require switching to concrete, a much more expensive material choice.  The change in allowable heights represents one important facet in the city’s efforts to improve housing affordability in Seattle.


New Study Demonstrates that Mass Timber Provides a Viable Alternative to Reinforced Concrete Construction in High Seismic Regions

A new study took an existing 20-story reinforced concrete building in Los Angeles and reimagined it as being built from mass timber.  The reimagined wooden version would perform at least as well as the existing reinforced concrete building, noting the wood building would have half the mass and twice the flexibility as the concrete building.


Insights on the Competition

Concrete Industry Campaign Tries to Position Itself as the Only Material That Will Withstand Natural Disasters

In addition to its “America is Burning” campaign, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s “Build With Strength” (BWS) efforts have recently been trying to position concrete, especially “Insulated Concrete Forms” (ICF’s), as the only construction material able to withstand natural disasters.  “Only concrete is disaster-proof” reads the advertisement for one case study it has developed.

The Softwood Lumber Board and its programs preempt and respond to such efforts with a well-developed set of research proving wood’s performance in in seismic stability, wind resistance, fire safety, and other adverse situations.   The SLB and its programs have also developed a robust set of tools to deliver this knowledge to architects, engineers, the design community at large, and the public.

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.

February 2018 Reports
Part 1: March 2018 – Main Housing Commentary
Part 2: March 2018 – Economic Conditions