SLB’s Impact Exceeds 1 Billion Board Feet

The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) has released its 2017 results, which show continued year-on-year growth across key metrics of value to the industry. The results also stress the importance of the softwood lumber sector to the economy as a whole. Highlights include:

  • SLB-funded initiatives generated 1.02 billion board feet (bbf) of incremental softwood lumber demand in 2017.
  • Since its inception in 2012, the SLB has created more than 3.6 bbf of new demand and resulted in an incremental $1.33 billion of revenue.
  • The SLB has delivered a total return on investment of $19.74 in incremental revenue for every $1 spent since 2012.

Download the 2017 impact report here.



Program Updates


Think Wood Launches New Ways to Share the Benefits of Building With Wood


The new year brought a new name and website to reThink Wood, which is now Think Wood (ThinkWood.com). The new site includes a News and Events section that pulses out key industry events and expands the industry’s capacity to communicate wood’s value proposition.  
Think Wood recently published a four-part series on ways to maximize value in multi-story wood projects, a key area of potential growth for the wood industry. The series is based on content developed by WoodWorks and is an example of how Think Wood elevates partner content to reach broader audiences. The series includes:

  1. Multi-story DensityHow Wood Can Increase the Density of your Next Multi-Story Project
  2. What’s Allowed?: How to Maximize Building Heights and Sizes in your Next Multi-Story Project
  3. Podium Design:  How a Podium Design Can Maximize Value on your Next Multi-Story Project
  4. Case Studies: How Four Multi-Story Projects Boosted their Value Using Wood


AWC Engages as the ICC Tall Wood Building Proposals Begin their Official Journey



The International Code Council (ICC) Ad-hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings formally submitted proposals to the ICC to allow up to 18-story mass timber buildings. Their submissions are the result of over a year of productive engagement by the American Wood Council (AWC) with the Ad-Hoc Committee. The ICC Code Change Committee will consider the proposals in April, and their recommendations will then go forward to a final ICC hearing in October. Working with an industry advisory group, AWC will engage the building and fire code community in advance of ICC action, as only government-employed building and fire officials can vote on ICC proposals.


Wood, Naturally Reaches Out to 85,000 Building Professionals at IBS


Wood, Naturally recently teamed with five species association partners to staff a large, interactive exhibit at the 2018 International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Fla., which welcomed over 85,000 building professionals. To drive attendees to its booth, Wood, Naturally used paid support on Twitter to geo-target home builders, residential developers, interior designers, and contractors within the same zip code as the conference. The tweet ran for two days, generating 23,491 impressions and 33 engagements.
To support the campaign’s corporate partners, including Simpson Strong-Tie, and to amplify species associations’ efforts at IBS, Wood, Naturally retweeted and shared their content on its own Twitter page. Wood, Naturally already looks forward to registering another strong presence at next year’s IBS, which will be held in February in Las Vegas, Nev.


AWC’s Largest-ever Webinar Caps Off Another Banner Education Year

More than 1,100 design professionals and code officials participated in AWC’s final webinar of 2017, the most participants reached to date by a single AWC online event. All told in 2017, AWC’s in-person education events and webinars reached more than 22,700 building professionals—a 35% increase over 2016—and enabled over 34,000 education hours, also a record. AWC will use its education platform throughout 2018 to help influence the outcome of the tall wood code proposals as they make their way through the ICC process.


WoodWorks Helps Developer Achieve First-ever 6-over-2 Building in the U.S


WoodWorks’ support had already helped to transform Sacramento-based D&S Development into a leader in the development of large mid-rise wood buildings, having completed its first five-story wood building in 2014 after years of using mostly cold-form steel. Fast forward two years and WoodWorks had planted the seed for even taller wood buildings among D&S staff and its architecture firm, HR Group Architects. When D&S wanted to go beyond the prescriptive limits of the code to build six stories of residential wood construction over retail, not office occupancy as permitted under code, they called WoodWorks for support.

Recognizing that this project would set precedent, WoodWorks brought in additional code expertise, and together they approached the City of Sacramento to gauge the potential for acceptance. The city agreed that the design worked conceptually, so the next step was to submit a formal Alternate Materials and Means Request (AMMR). WoodWorks provided support throughout the AMMR process, helping to address items such as how to exceed the prescriptive limits for building height and shear walls. The submission included a number of concessions, such as increased fire ratings, additional roof access, and an enhanced sprinkler system.

WoodWorks also provided support throughout the design, including by leading an architect-focused ‘lunch and learn,’ answering questions on topics such as wall and firewall detailing, and with support from AWC, providing information on code sections and detailing rationale.

The end product—1430 Q Street—is currently under construction and features six stories of residential wood-frame construction over a two-story podium.


AWC and WoodWorks Help South Carolina Repeal FRTW Ban

With support from WoodWorks, the Forestry Association of South Carolina, and Clemson University’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute, the State of South Carolina repealed a long-standing ban on using Fire-Retardant Treated Wood (FRTW) in state buildings. AWC had been working behind the scenes with the State Engineer’s office to provide research and data to support the repeal. The change is captured in the 2018 edition of the State Engineer’s Manual for Planning and Executing of State Permanent Improvements , which does not include FRTW as a prohibited material.


Think Wood Communicates the Benefits of Building with Wood to a Continually-Expanding Audience

In January, Think Wood distributed a momentum press release, A natural choice: Architects turn to wood for greener, healthier work spaces, which featured impressive statistics on the increased demand for sustainable commercial buildings and how wood can be used to create healthy, functional, and creative office spaces. The release includes a quote from Ankrom Moisan Architects Executive Vice President, Murray Jenkins, on why the firm chose to use wood in their own office space, 38 Davis.
Think Wood uses momentum press releases like this to foster and grow discussion and excitement among online communities about the benefits of using wood.


Industry Resources


FEA’s Housing Dashboard


This housing dashboard is provided compliments of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA).



Virginia Tech’s Monthly Housing Report

This monthly housing commentary report is a free service of Virginia Tech and is intended to help one gauge future business activity in the U.S. housing market.


Industry News


The United States’ Largest Timber Office Building to Be Constructed in Newark


February 5, 2018

“Plans for the United States’ largest mass timber office building in Newark, New Jersey have been revealed by developer Lotus Equity Group and Michael Green Architecture…The Riverfront Square office building will contain up to 500,000 square feet of Class A office space within its cutting-edge timber-framed structural system. Read more here.

If Urban Densification is Inevitable, Then Let It Be Done With a Material That Makes Us Happy

de zeen
February 8, 2018

“Revolution is in the air. In this year of centenaries – remembering the end of the Russian Revolution and the success of the British suffrage movement in getting votes for women in 1918 – the world of architecture, engineering and construction is experiencing its own, quieter form of revolution: the rise of mass timber as an alternative to the dominance of concrete and steel. Read more here


Lonza Wood Protection Calls Out Wood’s Natural Benefits Over Composite Decking in Advertisement


In the February 2018 issue of LBM Journal, Lonza Wood Protection took out a full page advertisement on “Why Wood?” over  composite decking.

“Wood is naturally grown and responsibly harvested, renewable and beautiful. Oil… is not.

Wood is natural. It’s grown simply with sunlight and water and absorbs carbon, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout its life in the earth and on your deck.

Choose wood: it’s naturally made, naturally strong, naturally beautiful.”

View full advertisement here.


Get to Know Katerra


ProSales Magazine
February 16, 2018

“Katerra figures they can deliver manufactured components to sites up to 1,400 miles away, but the plan is to construct six factories in locations that would put them within 500 miles of 90% of the U.S. population...Katerra says it has accumulated more than $1.3 billion in bookings. Most of that has been in multifamily construction.” Read more here.



Swinerton Builders Self-Install CLT


Portland Business Tribune
February 19, 2018

“The five-story First Tech Federal Credit Union office currently under construction in Hillsboro will be the largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure in the U.S. by square footage…Because wood buildings are back in style now that technology has facilitated its efficiency, it’s common for a subcontrator to install the new material — but Swinerton is one of the few GCs currently self-installing CLT in Oregon.” Read more here.



Three Reasons Why It’s a Good Idea to Build a Skyscraper Out of Wood


February 23, 2018

Wood is Environmentally Friendly, Cost Effective & Renewable. Japanese architects want to turn modern-day cities into wooden forests, quite literally. Japanese firm Sumitomo Forestry unveiled its designs for what would be the tallest wooden building in the world — a 350-meter (1,148-foot) skyscraper, dubbed as the W350 Project. The building, slated to be completed by 2041, would be made of 90 percent specially processed wood, and 10 percent steel.” Read more here.



Why This Bold Architect Loves Building Skyscrapers Made of Wood


Architectural Digest
February 16, 2018

“Vancouver-based architect Michael Green speaks with AD about the role of wood in architecture and why the U.S. is poised for a big movement in sustainable building…Green believes the U.S. can surpass France, and lead the way in the mass timber movement.” Read more here.



Insights from the Competition

Highlights of news and stories released by competing materials


Build with Strength Expresses Disappointment with Georgia Legislative Action

Build with Strength News Release
February 22, 2018

The Coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Build With Strength campaign distributed a news release expressing disappointment with the Georgia General Assembly for passing House Bill 876 which ‘prohibit counties and municipalities from proscribing the use of wood in the construction of buildings when state minimum standard codes are otherwise met.’

“If the state is unwilling to go to bat for residents concerned about the combustibility of their buildings, that’s one thing,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength. “But to proactively prevent local governments from taking steps to strengthen their communities is completely preposterous. The Georgia Senate should reject this proposal and empower local leaders to make the best decisions for their communities in order to keep their constituents free from harm.”