Timber Towers Face Key Vote

Filed in Design, Multifamily by on March 29, 2018 0 Comments

lumberProposals for an innovative method of wood construction that could allow 18-story wood residential buildings face their first key vote for incorporation in the 2021 edition of the International Code Council’s International Building Code.

After 18 months of intense deliberations, ICC’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings (ICC-TWB) submitted 14 code change proposals that would add provisions for mass timber buildings exceeding the traditional height and area limits for “heavy timber” construction.

The proposals will be debated at the upcoming ICC 2018 Group A Committee Action Hearings in Columbus, Ohio April 15-23. The key proposals are on the agenda for the IBC-General Committee and expected to be heard either Monday, April 16 or Tuesday. April 17. Registration for the hearings is free.

During recent meetings to review the Group A code changes, members of NAHB’s Construction, Codes & Standards Committee agreed to support the ICC-TWB’s proposals. NAHB believes our multifamily builders may find mass timber an appealing option for mid-rise residential and mixed-use buildings.

Mass timber beams, columns, panels and other elements are fabricated under controlled conditions in a factory, reducing the need for on-site labor. Fire tests conducted last year show mass timber components have inherent fire resistance, reducing the risk from fires during construction.

Mass timber components can also make use of lumber from trees killed by the pine beetle that would otherwise be of limited use in construction.

ICC established the ad-hoc committee at the request of the American Wood Council and other stakeholders following considerable debate over several proposals during the hearings for the 2018 International Codes. The committee consists of structural engineers, architects, building and fire officials, and representatives from the wood, concrete and steel industries.

NAHB staff will attend the 2018 Group A Committee Action Hearings to testify on this and other issues affecting residential construction. Multifamily builders with an interest in mass timber – or building codes in general – are welcome to attend the hearings and testify on these items or other proposals of concern.

For information about the ICC Committee Action Hearings or mass timber construction, contact Gary Ehrlich at 800-368-5242 x8545.

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