INDUSTRY Trends By John “Buddy” Showalter, American Wood Council
New codes and regulations boost wood markets
pressure from the economy, environmental regulation, and competing materials, U.S. wood products manufacturers and distributors face a myriad of challenges. The wood products market is constantly evolving due to changes in building codes and the green building industry. The good news is, advanced technologies and the inherent sustainability of wood are encouraging demand for wood products—giving them a leg-up against other building materials. NDER GROWING
Building Codes & Standards
Today, wood products meet code requirements in a wide range of low- and mid-rise building types. New, innovative technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls, and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction. The resulting growth in demand, however, cannot be realized without changes to building codes that embrace wood products. The wood products industry has been working together to engage full-time with the leading construction codewriting bodies to encourage acceptance of wood applications. Over the past year, the American Wood Council collaborated to review more than 2,300 proposed changes to
Building Products Digest
several codes promulgated by the International Code Council, including: • The International Residential Code references guidance for building with wood in newly updated versions of the National Design Specification for Wood Construction, Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic, and Wood Frame Construction Manual, and now recognizes the use of cross-laminated timber. • The International Energy Conser-vation Code continues to reference R-values as a prescriptive measurement versus performance criteria, and maintains the decisionmaking authority of building officials. • The International Fire Code maintains existing fire code requirements for outdoor pallet storage in favor of the wood products industry, in a decision to disapprove a proposal to impose more onerous requirements for pallet builders, recyclers and repair depots. Recognizing the benefits of wood, the industry saw a 95% success rate to incorporate these changes—which means more building designers and construction professionals will be able to opt for wood as the primary material for their buildings. Along with previously-approved changes to the International Building Code and the ongoing 2014 hearings on the International Green Construction Code, the revised codes for 2015 will be published in late 2014.
With the green building market estimated to reach as high as $145 billion by 2015, more attention is also being paid than ever before to how buildings impact the environment, including the choices of materials used in construction and how those materials help conserve energy during operation. As a natural building material that can help buildings achieve energy efficient advantages, wood products should be positioned to customers as a valuable option for reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry. Wood is the perfect green building material because it is renewable, recyclable and stores carbon that reduce greenhouse gases. Building-Products.com