[Washington DC] – The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) reiterates its support for tall wood building construction following the approval on Wednesday, October 24, of 14 tall wood building code change proposals at the International Code Council (ICC) Public Comment Hearing (PCH) in Richmond, Virginia.
The proposed code changes, focused primarily on fire safety and building height, must still be voted on through the ICC’s Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV) that will start two weeks after the conclusion of the Public Comment Hearing. If the tall wood building proposals are approved through the online voting process, the changes will be incorporated into the ICC’s 2021 edition of the International Building Code (IBC).
Updated every three years, the IBC is considered a baseline for building codes, although the building code landscape is uneven and jurisdictions do use older versions of the IBC. The 2018 IBC was published in November 2017, and the 2021 IBC, which may include the tall wood building proposals, is scheduled to be published in November 2020.
The ICC established an Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings in December 2015 to study the science of tall wood buildings and take action to develop and submit code change proposals. After studying the issue for two years, including conducting fire prevention tests at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Fire Research Laboratory, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended 14 code proposal changes.
“NLBMDA is pleased that support is growing for the construction of tall wood buildings,” said NLBMDA President and CEO Jonathan Paine. “Research is proving that taller mass timber buildings are a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective method of construction.”
The action taken at the ICC Public Comment Hearing comes as tall wood building construction is starting to make inroads in the United States. Earlier this year, Oregon became the first state to adopt language allowing for construction of tall wood buildings between eight and 18 stories.