OR First State to Codify Timber High-Rises
The state of Oregon updated its building code earlier this month by becoming the first state in the country to allow timber buildings to rise more than six stories without special consideration.
The New Code
The Building Code Division issued an addendum to the Statewide Alternate Method—an Oregon program that allows for alternative building techniques to be used after an advisory council has approved the method—detailing the new classifications of timber buildings, of which there are three.
The three new types of construction are all organized under Type IV, more commonly referred to as “heavy timber.” They are:
The addendum goes on to say that the “statewide alternate method intentionally reinforces the notion that the state building code is not a barrier to innovation or any method, technique or material of construction that is supported by scientific findings, while further preserving Oregon’s ability to serve as a single place to obtain statewide approval, providing a predictable regulatory system of business.”
“We congratulate the State of Oregon on becoming the first state to provide building code recognition for construction of tall, mass timber buildings,” said American Wood Council President & CEO Robert Glowinski.
“Mass timber is a new category of wood products that will revolutionize how America builds and we’ve seen interest in it continue to grow over the last several years. This action by the Codes Division Administrator helps code officials in Oregon by making provisions consistent throughout the state. In adopting this new method, Oregon has also recognized the significant environmental benefits that accrue from greater wood product use.”
The addendum follows a number of suggestions made by the International Code Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings. Other suggestions included introducing standards and best practices for fireproofing, the load-bearing potential of cross-laminated timber and heavy timber, water resistance, sealing and seismic ratings.