The International Code Council is looking into potential code changes to accommodate taller cross-laminated timber (CLT) structures.
Most building codes limit a CLT structure's height. CLT is being promoted by the timber industry and gaining interest among architects and engineers. The material could provide an economic boost to some struggling communities that have been impacted by a decline in the domestic timber industry.
CLT has also been touted by some as helping to reduce the carbon footprint of urban construction through the use of a renewable building material. Trees as small as 5 inches in diameter at the top, and those damaged by pests and wildfire, can be used in the inner layers of CLT products.
Researchers are still investigating how CLT buildings withstand fire and earthquakes in high-seismic regions. Building codes in some areas including Oregon allow designs using new technology like CLT in some cases, but only after rigorous testing and an intensive approval process.