flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Steel and concrete's take on tall wood

Wood

Steel and concrete's take on tall wood

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.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | January 13, 2017

PIxabay Public Domain

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.

Related Stories

Building Materials | Aug 3, 2022

Shawmut CEO Les Hiscoe on coping with a shaky supply chain in construction

BD+C's John Caulfield interviews Les Hiscoe, CEO of Shawmut Design and Construction, about how his firm keeps projects on schedule and budget in the face of shortages, delays, and price volatility.

Building Materials | Jul 20, 2022

LP Building Solutions celebrates 50th anniversary at NYSE ceremony

LP Building Solutions celebrates 50th anniversary at NYSE ceremony.

Building Materials | Jun 20, 2022

Early-stage procurement: The next evolution of the construction supply chain

Austin Commercial’s Jason Earnhardt explains why supply chain issues for the construction industry are not going to go away and how developers and owners can get ahead of project roadblocks.

Sponsored | Wood | Apr 21, 2022

PDX Gets Back to its Roots with Engineered Wood

Evoking the serenity of a Pacific Northwest forest, this massive airport redesign features glulam timber and mass plywood panels from local manufacturers.

Wood | Apr 13, 2022

Mass timber: Multifamily’s next big building system

Mass timber construction experts offer advice on how to use prefabricated wood systems to help you reach for the heights with your next apartment or condominium project. 

Contractors | Mar 28, 2022

Amid supply chain woes, building teams employ extreme procurement measures

Project teams are looking to eliminate much of the guesswork around product availability and price inflation by employing early bulk-purchasing measures for entire building projects.

Office Buildings | Feb 23, 2022

The Beam on Farmer, Arizona’s first mass timber, multi-story office building tops out

The Beam on Farmer, Arizona’s first mass timber, multi-story office building, topped out on Feb. 10, 2022.

Wood | Feb 18, 2022

$2 million mass timber design competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon (entries due March 30!)

To promote construction of tall mass timber buildings in the U.S., the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and USDA Forest Service (USDA) have joined forces on a competition to showcase mass timber’s application, commercial viability, and role as a natural climate solution.  

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Oct 15, 2021

7 game-changing trends in structural engineering

Here are seven key areas where innovation in structural engineering is driving evolution.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: