Status of Tall Wood Buildings and Next Steps
As the dust from the ICC Public Comment Hearings settles, we wanted to share a few key actions coming out of the hearings related to the proposal to incorporate high-rise, cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings into the next edition of the International Building Code...and request your help.
Throughout 2018, countless hours have been consumed presenting technical arguments (pro and con) regarding the addition of tall wood buildings into the IBC. With this testimony behind us, the next step in the process requires governmental representatives (building code officials, fire marshals, etc.) to formally vote on the inclusion of tall wood buildings into the IBC. This voting will be online and is scheduled to start within the next week.
As this online voting begins, reach out to your code officials and encourage them to vote NO on G108-18 (tall wood buildings). The reason is simple: as a new construction material, cross-laminated timber (CLT) hasn’t been tested, scrutinized, or demonstrated to provide the same level of life safety as current code-recognized materials. CLT simply isn’t ready for the IBC.
For those that want to know more about the shortcomings of the tall wood building code changes, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Association of State Fire Marshals have summarized their opposition to these code changes highlighting why CLT simply isn’t ready for the IBC here:
Some code officials may view opposition to tall wood buildings as simple material bias. This issue shouldn’t come down to wood versus concrete, masonry, or steel – or which system has market share advantages. This is simply a question of preserving life safety and property protection through our building codes. As with all other forms of code-recognized construction, proponents of CLT construction should:
- Finish their testing and research on the structural and fire performance attributes of CLT;
- Allow the design and regulatory communities to vet the results of these investigations; and
- Make appropriate and well-informed decisions on how CLT construction is reflected in the building code.
Until then, CLT isn’t ready for the IBC and its addition now is simply premature.
As always, thanks for your efforts!
About the Author
The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), established in 1918, is the national trade association representing the concrete masonry industry. For more information visit www.ncma.org.