Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock

The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) has approved code changes that will allow for the structural use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories, according to a press release. With the approval, Washington becomes the first state to allow mass timber buildings into its building code.

Washington's code changes will update the IBC 2015 to incorporate all of the International Code Council's Tall Wood Building Code proposals voted on in Richmond, VA in October, 2018. It will permit three new types of mass timber building construction — Type IV A, B, C — allowing for the structural use of mass timber at 18, 12, and 9 stories. The action comes after more than two years of comprehensive research and testing, including full-scale fire tests, completed by the International Code Council Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings. Currently, the building code limits mass timber's structural use to a maximum of 6 stories.

SBCC approval follows passage of state legislation earlier this year that required the Council to adopt new rules for the use of mass timber products for residential and commercial building construction. Senator Marko Liias, sponsor of the legislation, pushed for these changes to assist in the development of mass timber manufacturing, construction and design industries within the state.

The press release notes that several mass-timber projects below six stories have been completed recently in the state, including CLT classrooms.

Read More