The Case for Mass Timber Buildings
Architects and other proponents call out a host of benefits to building with masstimber:
it’s cost-e cient because it’s lighter, easier to work with and goes up quicker than concrete and steel; it’s innovative and great to look at; and mass timber is an environmental showpiece due to its carbon-retaining properties.
The benefits for lumber producers like Interfor are significant. “Currently in Canada and the U.S. combined, just 10 percent of one-to-four story non-residential buildings are built with wood. If we can grow that to 25 per cent, it’s a 3.5 billion board foot opportunity,” says Cees de Jager, General Manager of the Binational Softwood Lumber Council.
De Jager and other mass timber proponents on both sides of the border are focused on updating building codes to allow for taller mass timber buildings. They’re also advancing their cause with developers.
“Developers need to know just two things to start building with wood over concrete,” says de Jager. “The first is the incremental benefits to their bottom line, and the other is an assurance that they can mitigate risk.”
Those risks include building without delay, available product supply and crew knowledge of new building materials. All of these factors can hold up a construction project.
De Jager compares today’s mass timber drive to the bygone innovation of steel. “When we built the Ei el Tower it wasn’t about building a tower. It was about demonstrating what steel could do. We need a few Eiffel Towers – built out of wood.”