Steel and concrete manufacturers and their trade groups oppose changes in U.S. building codes that would allow mass timber for tall buildings. Their arguments center on fire safety, strength, and durability, while making the case for the environmental benefits of their products.
The American Institute of Steel Construction contends that the steel industry is a “world leader” in using recycled material and end-of-life recycling, and has made strides to lower greenhouse gas emissions below regulatory requirements. At a webinar on resilience in November, the National Ready-Mix Concrete Association and the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub presented research which claimed that enhanced concrete design is more cost- and energy-efficient than non-engineered wood design.
Concrete and steel both beat mass timber on price, although that advantage is narrowing. StructureCraft Builders’ Lucas Epp says that by using nail laminated timber, the Building Team got construction costs for T3, in Minneapolis, to within 5% of steel.
Paul Fast, of Fast + Epp, says his team got the cost of Brock Commons, at the University of British Columbia, “very close to the price of using concrete.” He concedes that wood construction “groans on the cost front” for buildings with bigger apartments or wider interior spans. In markets like Washington, D.C., where building with concrete is relatively cheap, “wood has less hope,” he says.
Prices should come down as new innovations emerge. Freres Lumber Co., Lyons, Ore., is refining its new product, mass plywood panels, as a lower-cost alternative to CLT. MPPs require 20–30% less wood because they use engineered veneer and custom plywood layups as base materials. The panels can be fabricated in sizes up to 12x48 feet, and in thicknesses up to two feet.
Mass Timber | Mar 19, 2023
A 100% mass timber construction project is under way in North Carolina
An office building 100% made from mass timber has started construction within the Live Oak Bank campus in Wilmington, N.C. The 67,000-sf structure, a joint building venture between the GCs Swinerton and Wilmington-headquartered Monteith Construction, is scheduled for completion in early 2024.
Contractors | Mar 17, 2023
Skanska hires first Director of Mass Timber & Prefabrication
Global construction and development firm Skanska USA has hired Dean Lewis as its first Director of Mass Timber & Prefabrication. Lewis will be responsible for the company’s work on prefabrication and mass timber projects across the United States,
Codes | Mar 2, 2023
Biden Administration’s proposed building materials rules increase domestic requirements
The Biden Administration’s proposal on building materials rules used on federal construction and federally funded state and local buildings would significantly boost the made-in-America mandate. In the past, products could qualify as domestically made if at least 55% of the value of their components were from the U.S.
Mass Timber | Jan 27, 2023
How to set up your next mass timber construction project for success
XL Construction co-founder Dave Beck shares important preconstruction steps for designing and building mass timber buildings.
Mass Timber | Dec 1, 2022
Cross laminated timber market forecast to more than triple by end of decade
Cross laminated timber (CLT) is gaining acceptance as an eco-friendly building material, a trend that will propel its growth through the end of the 2020s. The CLT market is projected to more than triple from $1.11 billion in 2021 to $3.72 billion by 2030, according to a report from Polaris Market Research.
75 Top Products | Nov 30, 2022
75 top building products for 2022
Each year, the Building Design+Construction editorial team evaluates the vast universe of new and updated products, materials, and systems for the U.S. building design and construction market. The best-of-the-best products make up our annual 75 Top Products report.
Wood | Nov 16, 2022
5 steps to using mass timber in multifamily housing
A design-assist approach can provide the most effective delivery method for multifamily housing projects using mass timber as the primary building element.
University Buildings | Nov 13, 2022
University of Washington opens mass timber business school building
Founders Hall at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, the first mass timber building at Seattle campus of Univ. of Washington, was recently completed. The 84,800-sf building creates a new hub for community, entrepreneurship, and innovation, according the project’s design architect LMN Architects.
Building Materials | Nov 2, 2022
Design for Freedom: Ending slavery and child labor in the global building materials sector
Sharon Prince, Founder and CEO of Grace Farms and Design for Freedom, discusses DFF's report on slavery and enforced child labor in building products and materials.
Wood | Nov 1, 2022
A European manufacturer says its engineered wood products can store carbon for decades
Metsä Wood, a Finland-based manufacturer of engineered wood products, says its sustainable, material-efficient products can store carbon for decades, helping to combat climate change.