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In a seminar at the Toronto Wood Solutions Fair, architect, editor and adjunct professor, Lloyd Alter, discussed the uptick in construction of pre-engineered wood buildings in Canada, and blasted the false claims being made by the steel and concrete industries.

  • In response to the argument that wood lacks “the strength or durability for construction applications in major buildings,” Alter referenced the “medieval timber frame structures in Italy that continue to support masonry structures.”
  • As to the concrete sector’s argument that wood is a fire hazard; Alter pointed to heavy timber and cross-laminated timber studies which show that the material “does not burn well” because a char layer protects the inner wood. “So if you design the wood for the dimension it needs after it burns,” he said, “it is still just as strong.”
  • And contrary to common belief, wood is “favorable to concrete and steel in high-density neighborhoods and infill projects,” says Alter, “because it is quiet, clean and quick to build with fewer trades.” And it requires less complex foundation systems because it is lighter in weight.

Bottom Line: For low-to-midrise buildings, wood has proven itself. And if it is properly designed and properly maintained, “wood can last as long as any concrete building.”

Information source: Daily Commercial News


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