For every product manufactured, there are appropriate and responsible applications where they really shine. Pushing the limits past intended purposes for the sake of saving money and/or time isn’t wise and can be potentially dangerous. Such is the case with the proposed use of timber and timber-related products to construct tall buildings up to heights of 18 floors. In a few short weeks, the ICC (International Code Council) will hold a vote to change the IBC (International Building Code) to approve the construction of tall timber structures. The wood industry has done a remarkable job to market and endorse all the reasons tall timber makes sense for the future of tall buildings. You only need to spend a minute reviewing their research to see that they have made a valiant attempt an at airtight argument for passage of G108. Fact is, the Stop Tall Wood conducted an independent poll that revealed 74% of Americans believe that tall timber structures are unsafe.
Some reasons wood doesn’t make sense of tall structures:
It decomposes and requires more costly maintenance than other products
It BURNS posing a huge risk to first responders and inhabitants
Not as sturdy or durable as steel or concrete to things like earthquakes and hurricanes
It contains glues and adhesives that have not been tested long-term for toxicity
The general population is not aware of the materials used to construct the places they live and work in. Large scale dormitories and assisted living facilities, as well as low-income housing, are the types of buildings that will no doubt be constructed of timber if G108 manages to garner the ⅔ votes needed for passage. Reach out to your local code official today and let them know you are opposed to this wreckless change in the IBC. One only has to see video footage of a multi-story residential apartment building going up in flames to realize, fires are going to happen, but when they do happen, you want to give people a chance to get out alive.
Steel, concrete, and precast are all solutions to wood and provide many added benefits to both the contractors constructing the structures and those who live in them. PCI Gulf South supports precast structures for their durability, sustainability, and resilience in comparison to wood. And if you think precast structures are just square boxes you need to take a look at all the beautiful precast structures in the Gulf South region.