Building Construction, Codes & Standards

CA Building Standards Commission Approves Tall Wood Code Change Proposals

Brock Commons exterior
Brock Commons, a tall mass timber building in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The state of California Building Standards Commission unanimously approved the entire series of change proposals for the design of tall wood buildings, according to reports.

The proposal, approved by the International Code Council (ICC), mark an early adoption of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC), with California being the fifth state to do so, according to a report on softwoodlumberboard.org.

“The early adoption of mass timber codes can be a benefit to California in many ways, but I would like to highlight three of those advantages in this proposal,” said Chief Mike Richwine, State Fire Marshal, in a quote. “Number 1, it has the potential to increase the market demand for mass timber production in California to meet the needs of the construction industry. Number 2, it will increase the pace and scale of our wildland fire prevention and forest management goals of treating 500 thousand acres per year by thinning the forest of smaller diameter trees that can be used in the production of cross laminated timber and other mass timber assemblies. And while wood products provide the benefit of storing carbon, another benefit or advantage is that mass timber construction can also help reduce the carbon footprint of concrete and steel production.” 

The move allows for the development of wood buildings ranging from nine to 18 stories tall. The tall wood building code provisions would be codified and published in January 2021 and become effective in July 2021.

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