September 28, 2017

Monthly Update: September 2017


Program Updates

AWC Conducts Sound Testing to Improve Modelling

The American Wood Council (AWC) recently conducted new sound transmission tests on wood-framed floor-ceiling assemblies in order to strengthen calculation modeling that enables wood manufacturers to receive building code approval for wood floor assemblies’ acoustic performance. By using AWC’s code-recognized calculation model, manufacturers can avoid running costly floor assembly acoustical tests. This particular suite of tests aimed to improve the accuracy of the model’s prediction of code-regulated Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Impact Insulation Class (IIC) values for floor-ceiling assemblies, particularly for those that include floor coverings such as wood, vinyl, and carpeting.

reThink Wood Outshines Competitor Messaging on Social Media

reThink Wood is achieving deeper influence and levels of engagement with its target audience across social media platforms than concrete’s Build with Strength (BWS) campaign. For example, on Twitter, reThink Wood reaches over 7,300 followers compared to BWS’s nearly 2,700 followers, and reThink Wood posts higher levels of engagement and influence—both key indicators of growth and audience interest—among architects, engineers, developers, and building designers.

Engagement indicates how well you are communicating and interacting with your audience. The higher your engagement, the more valuable your audience will become to your business.
Influence indicates your growth and interest level among your audience. These numbers are commonly low but increasing them over time will result in greater brand awareness and enthusiasm for your business.

Wood, Naturally Videos Resonate with Homeowners

Wood, Naturally released two new, compelling video series—Wisdom of Wood and Moments—to connect with homeowners and influence them to choose softwood lumber products instead of competing materials.

Wisdom of Wood is comprised of three videos that show a professional woodworker carving pro-wood messaging into wood, such as “Wood grains, like fingerprints, can’t be copied.” In only fifteen seconds, each video powerfully conveys that craftsmanship and authenticity can only be achieved with real wood. Moments is also comprised of three fifteen-second videos that showcase authentic moments of connection that happen for people when they are surrounded by nature and real wood. To date, both series have been viewed more than 710,000 times combined. At a cost-per-view of approximately two cents each, Wood, Naturally is yielding a strong return on its use of paid media dollars to distribute the series.

Wood, Naturally has already exceeded its annual target to engage consumers by more than 24-fold, registering more than 4.3 million and counting social media engagements, including likes, comments, shares, and video views. This year’s investment in high-quality content and paid media to support distribution have yielded successful results for the campaign.


Glulam Fire Connection Press Release Ignites Media Buzz

In August, reThink Wood released a SLB-supported fire connections test, which demonstrates the fire resistance rating of glulam beam to column connections in Type IV construction. The findings support mass timber as a safe solution that meets and, in some cases, exceeds stringent fire safety standards for U.S. building design and construction. These tests will remove barriers for architects, engineers, and developers, enabling the construction of a wider range of wooden buildings, including low- and mid-rise offices, apartment buildings, schools, and libraries.

reThink Wood secured quality coverage for these test results, generating nearly 86.8 million online and social media impressions. The story was picked up by almost 200 news outlets, including:

Consistent with its overall strategic approach, reThink Wood leveraged the voices of independent experts to promote the report findings and the benefits of wood. For example, Fire Safety Engineer David Barber of San Francisco-based engineering firm Arup amplified the report’s findings by saying, “With continued interest and investment in mass timber projects, I am confident more solutions will enter the market, making mass timber more viable for a wide range of projects.” Such expert appraisals add depth and credibility to softwood lumber’s value proposition.

AWC Organizes Construction Follow-Up Stakeholder Meeting

Following two wood-frame construction fires in Dorchester and Waltham, Mass. in July, AWC quickly organized a stakeholders meeting in the nearby town of Watertown to bring together affected parties to discuss the incidents and fire prevention at construction sites. Facilitated by Matt Hunter, AWC’s Northeast Regional Code Manager, the meeting sought to create an opportunity for frank and open discussion on how to improve job site fire safety in the wake of a significant upturn in the number of fires in wood buildings under construction. Code officials, fire service organizations, construction industry representatives, as well as staff from the National Fire Protection Association and International Code Council attended.

The media continues to be interested in the issue, and AWC’s Robert Glowinski and Ken Bland were interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for a story on wood construction and fire safety practices. AWC also provided construction site fire safety materials to the The Boston Globe as it developed a story on job site fire safety practices.

Industry News

Wood Products to Bring 150 Jobs to Spokane Valley

A new factory planned for Spokane Valley is part of a California company’s efforts to streamline the U.S. building industry, making construction faster and cheaper.

Menlo Park-based Katerra plans to open a 250,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near Interstate 90 and Barker Road early next year. The plant will make engineered wood products, employing about 150 people initially with potential for growth. Read more here.


Students Move In To The World’s Tallest Timber Tower

September 13, 2017

“Worried about wood? Brock Commons Tallwood House is probably one of the safest buildings anywhere.

We’re not called TreeHugger for nothing, and love the new wave of tall wood buildings. Right now, the tallest of the tall wood buildings is Brock Commons Tallwood House, at the University of British Columbia. It’s a student residence and has just been occupied for the first time. We have shown it before, when it was topped off last year. When built from sustainably harvested wood, these buildings store carbon for the life of the building. Wood is a renewable resource.” Read more here.


London architect fights climate change with timber high-rises

CNN Money
September 25, 2017
“Architects are turning to one of the oldest construction materials to solve a new problem: how to build homes without damaging the environment…”If you look at a building’s climate footprint over 14 years, it is about 80% the building materials that go into it,” Andrew Waugh, a founding partner at Waugh Thistleton, told CNNMoney. “We need to change the way we live for climate change.”‘  Read more here.

Wooden Buildings on the Rise

Stora Enso Podcast
September 2017

“More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas. How do we build housing in a sustainable way? Are high-rise buildings in wood a solution? Can it be done on a large scale? Why do firefighters prefer wooden buildings? We talk to Anssi Lassila, award-winning Finnish architect, Nils Lindstrand, Editor in Chief at Nordisk träteknik, and Gernot Weiss, CLT expert at Stora Enso.” Listen to podcast here.


Insights on the Competition

Build With Strength Campaign Creates Alliance With Firefighters

Build With Strength Press Release
September 1, 2017

“Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association …is pleased to welcome the Brigantine Beach Fire Company as a new coalition member. ‘We are pleased to join this effort with Build with Strength, given our mutual commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of residents across the state, including here in Brigantine Beach,’ said Chief Tiger Platt. ‘As firefighters, we witness first-hand the devastation caused by fires, and are firmly committed to efforts underway to help improve building standards intended to deter fires in the first place and ultimately save lives.’

Build with Strength is working with firefighters, government officials, civic organizations and building trades union leaders to address potential causes of these fires relating to building safety standards. In reviewing current building and fire safety codes, the coalition is working to identify areas in need of improvement, particularly in updating building codes by including the use of non-combustible materials to minimize the risk of fires. Read more here.


Industry Resources

SLB Investors Receive Discount to Housing Innovation, Visions & Economics Forum (hive)

As a valued Hanley Wood association partner, the SLB has been offered discounted passes to offer amongst our investors.

Hive 2017 – Housing Innovation, Vision & Economics – is a two day forum taking place December 6 – 7. This is your opportunity to join the best and brightest construction and design professionals, academics, and thought leaders from an array of industries passionate about design, business strategies, and innovation to stimulate new ideas and shape the future of how people live, work and play. This year’s theme is Trust and Transformation: How Innovation Works.

SLB Members – $695 
This is currently a $100 discount off the “super early bird” registration which lasts until 8/31.

Code: SLB when you register for the event.  Register Now.


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.