Officials in Oregon have made changes to the state’s building code to allow for mass timber construction in highrise buildings. The West Coast has been the hotbed of mass timber innovation so it is no surprise that Oregon the first state to codify changes that recognize the potential for timber towers.
Mass timber is a category of construction that has been popular in Europe for more than 20 years, and is just starting to take off in North America. This technology is also commonly known as cross laminated timber (CLT). The tallest timber tower in the United States is the Carbon12 eight-story building in Oregon. It is constructed glulam and CLT with a steel core.
These new code changes could create a model for other states to follow. Oregon follows standards set by the International Code Council (ICC), which investigated the potential for mass timber construction in recent years. An ICC panel earlier this year suggested some changes to proposals for mass timber in regards to fireproofing components, water resistance, seismic ratings, load potential for mass timbers and more. And all of these amendments were accepted.
Three new building classifications were introduced as result with maximum structure heights ranging from nine to 18 stories high.
“We congratulate the state of Oregon on becoming the first state to provide building code recognition for construction of tall, mass timber buildings, said American Wood Council President and CEP Robert Glowinski. “In adopting this new method, Oregon has also recognized the environmental benefits that accrue from greater wood products use.”