The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 17 December 2018 00:00cat

High wooden buildings approved in Washington

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High wooden buildings approved in Washington High wooden buildings approved in Washington

Washington has become the first state to allow the construction of high (up to 18 stories) wooden buildings.

The new code alterations were recently approved by the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC). Three new types of mass timber constructions will be applied for the design of 9, 12 and 18 stories buildings. Mass timber refers to a large category of wood products, with the most popular of them being Cross Laminated Timber. This material is very effective as it is durable, lightweight and behaves well when subjected to fire or earthquake shocks. It is made by wooden layers being placed on top of each other bonded with a powerful adhesive.

International Code Council's Ad Hoc Committee conducted extended research and testing, including full-scare fire tests, for more than 2 years in order to investigate the feasibility of the attempt to establish such constructions in industry.

Michelle Connor, President and CEO of Forterra, a non-profit company that boosts the utilization of Cross Laminated Timber, stated: "These code changes will allow for greater use of mass timber here in Washington, and position our state as a leader in the nation. As mass timber becomes more widely utilized, it has great potential to support employment in rural areas, improve forest health on public lands in need of restoration, and enable new and affordable approaches to building for fast-growing urban populations."

In the past years, numerous Cross Laminated Timber buildings (below 6 stories) have been constructed in Washington. The implementation of the news codes will expand the potential of wood building technology and impressive projects will be realized.


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