Mass timber might be solution for California housing crisis

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A new report in the Architect’s Newspaper suggests that mass timber construction could help California’s gubernatorial candidates in achieving their ambitious goal of adding up to 3.5 million new housing units across the state over the next eight years.

And this could create an opening for mass timber construction to take hold in the Golden State, writes Antonio Pacheco in the publication.

“There’s strong reason to believe that if proposed regulatory changes go as planned, cities in the state could see a flowering of the kinds of four- to eight-story multi-family structures mass timber excels at delivering. With construction times running 15 to 20 percent faster than conventional building, there’s a potential mass timber technologies could help bring new units online very quickly, especially if minimum dwelling standards are set and municipalities streamline permitting and approval,” according to the report.

The report also notes that mass timber is becoming more widely-accepted as a building approach, and the “nascent industry is cheering recent changes to the 2021 version of the International Building Code that will allow mass timber construction for structures up to 18-stories high.”

Further, Pacheco says that new tariffs on foreign-grown softwood and imported steel and aluminum could also push cities to build structures made from regionally-grown timber.

Furthermore, he writes that, because mass timber manufacturing is typically performed indoors with fewer workers and in advance of job site installation, mass timber construction also potentially holds the promise of side-stepping the state’s vexing shortage of skilled construction workers, one of the many unsolved structural repercussions of the Great Recession.

You can read complete report here.

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