Going up: ICC passes Round 1 proposal for Tall Wood buildings in the USA


May 1, 2018News

As global warming continues to pose a threat to our society, a significant announcement has been made that will alter the future of construction across the United States. In a vote of 13-1, the ICC Code Committee Board in Columbus, Ohio passed a proposal for Tall Wood buildings, which will soon allow U.S. cities to build higher wood buildings than ever before. Approval of the proposal will allow three new mass timber building types to be built in the United States:

  • Type IV-A – Wood buildings up to 20 storeys tall
  • Type IV-B – Wood buildings up to 12 storeys tall
  • Type IV-C – Wood buildings up to 9 storeys tall

In order to overturn the vote, members are required to vote in a two-thirds majority in the next General Member session; a highly unlikely scenario. This is a significant step towards tall wood building in the United States. If fully approved, the proposal will come into effect in 2021.

Portland, Oregon is currently home to the tallest mass timber tower in the United States. Rising to 8-storeys, Carbon12 is a mixed-use residential building. In Canada, the tallest wood building is Brock Commons Tallwood House, an 18 storey LEED certified residential building. Both structures were constructed using cross-laminated timber and glulam beams, supplied by mass timber manufacturer Structurlam.

Read more about the ICC announcement here: https://www.iccsafe.org/codes-tech-support/cs/icc-ad-hoc-committee-on-tall-wood-buildings/.