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NLBMDA stands up for tall wood buildings

The dealer association applauds the adoption of tall wood building construction standards.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association on Dec. 20 issued the following statement applauding the approval of new codes governing tall wood buildings:

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) applauds the announcement yesterday from the International Code Council (ICC) that all 14 tall wood building code change proposals passed through the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV). This means that the mass timber code changes will be incorporated into the ICC’s 2021 edition of the International Building Code (IBC). NLBMDA supports building codes that allow for tall wood buildings and has advocated for increased research and development of mass timber construction.

Updated every three years, the IBC is considered a baseline for building codes, although the building code landscape is uneven and jurisdictions do use older versions of the IBC. The 2018 IBC, which is the current edition, was published in November 2017, and the 2021 IBC that will include the tall wood building code changes, is scheduled to be published in November 2020.

The ICC established an Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings in December 2015 to study the science of tall wood buildings and take action to develop and submit code change proposals. After studying the issue for two years, including conducting fire prevention tests at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Fire Research Laboratory, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended 14 code proposal changes.

“The announcement today by the ICC is an important step in giving builders, designers, and jurisdictions the confidence to pursue mass timber construction projects,” said NLBMDA President and CEO Jonathan Paine. “Tall wood buildings have been thoroughly researched and proven to be a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective method of construction.”

Although the ICC announcement will not cause most jurisdictions to adopt the mass timber construction changes right away, they can begin the process of adopting the changes into their local building codes. This year, Oregon became the first state to adopt language allowing for construction of tall wood buildings between eight and 18 stories.

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