Wood Council report: Mass timber, design methodology suit buildings up to 30 stories

Source: Canadian Wood Council (CWC), Vancouver, B.C.

The Case for Tall Wood Buildings validates the use of mass timber products as a viable structural building material option, thanks to a new open design methodology. The CWC-commissioned report highlights wood products’ ability to offer flexible tower construction, meet building codes and be price competitive with concrete and steel structural options.

The FFTT methodology uses mass timber panels as primary structural members to achieve building heights of up to 30 stories and open plans. They provide benefits over traditional light wood frame techniques, including stronger fire, acoustic and structural performance. FFTT promotes the use of sustainably harvested wood, CWC contends, which helps address climate change issues currently facing the construction industry.

“The report describes a new structural system in wood that is the first significant challenger to concrete and steel structures since their inception in tall building design more than a century ago,” says co-author Michael Green, principal at Michael Green Architecture. “The market for these ideas is quite simply enormous. The proposed solutions have significant capacity to revolutionize the building industry to address the major challenges of climate change, urbanization, sustainable development and world housing needs.”

Architects are more frequently exploring options to utilize wood in low- to high-rise buildings due to its advantages in terms of material, construction and environmental costs, he adds, while North American building codes plus building technology advances have expanded wood construction options. Among proponents of The Case for Tall Wood Buildings (download) findings is reThink Wood, a coalition of North American industry representatives and forest landowners that aims to raise awareness for wood use in construction. In addition to CWC and the American Wood Council, the initiative is supported by Forestry Innovation Investment, Forest Products Association of Canada, and U.S. Woodworks. www.reThinkWood.com