The Coast Redwoods in California can live more than 2,000 years. Their trunks can grow up to 24 feet wide. And some reach higher than a 30-floor skyscraper.
It is these miracles of Mother Nature that have people asking … why are wooden buildings limited to four storeys?
Wood science and building technology are inspiring builders. For the first time in 100 years, builders are looking at new ways to build skyscrapers. In fact, more and more architects are experimenting with wood building techniques. New technologies and building systems have enabled longer life spans for wood, taller walls, and higher wood buildings. The load strength and span-width capabilities of new wood products, coupled with the lighter weight of wood, are enabling architects to design dramatic vaulted ceilings and long span bridges.
One such innovation includes timber panels. Instead of using typical 2 x 4 wood studs, builders are creating massive timber panels—pieces of young wood glued together to make larger and longer panels. This allows builders to “tilt up” these larger, systems of wood to build buildings six storeys at a time, safely.
But the most innovative features of wood are inherent in its nature. Wood is the only building material that is grown naturally, from the power of the sun. It stores carbon and reduces emissions. It costs less, is better for the environment, and offers performance and versatility.
Wood also meets building code, and with the current push to increase wood buildings to six storeys, measures are being put in place to ensure this continues. There are, however, many valid concerns about the true safety of taller wood buildings. Are wood buildings fire hazards? Are concrete and steel more durable?
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Learn more in the next Salefish newsletter: The Hot Debate: Are Timber Towers Really Safe?