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After the International Code Council proposed changes to its building codes allowing structures to be built as high as 18 stories, timber high-rise construction is poised for a resurgence. Fortune reports a mixed-use community breaking ground in Toronto plans to use timber to construct all of its buildings. The infrastructure company favors timber because it can “contribute to people’s wellness, [is] easy to assemble, and strong enough support to build dozens of stories.”

Timber high-rise construction is also favored because it is a very carbon intensive product, unlike steel and concrete, and using timber in buildings can take carbon out of the atmosphere.

According to the article, “Timber Rises Again for Building Construction—and Google Is All for It(Fortune, February 9, 2019), “the push comes as timber becomes more cost competitive as steel prices rise, and the use of pre-fabricated wood panels allows for quicker construction with less labor.

“As opposed to the heavy timber construction from 100 years ago, builders are using so-called mass timber from younger, smaller trees that are engineered together, said architect Michael Green, an early proponent of the material. Unlike traditional two-by-four lumber, cross-laminated timber consists of layers of wood glued together to form solid, thick panels that can be made in custom dimensions for anything from walls and floors to beams and roofs.”

Initial tests, Forbes reports, have shown CLT has good levels of fire resistance even when unprotected, up to three hours in some cases. CLT’s advantage over other building materials, though, comes in the time it saves, according to the American Wood Council.

“Cross-laminated timber doesn’t need to cure like concrete, speeding up construction and reducing the on-site equipment needed,” stated Robert Glowinski, president and chief executive officer of the American Wood Council, in the article.

The article added, “Mass timber design can achieve a 15% reduction in operational costs compared to the baseline, and results in a significant reduction in carbon emissions during operations, according to a November Seattle mass timber tower case study by design firm DLR Group.”

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