Over 900 architects, engineers, and construction specialists have completed a new course by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on creating high-density wooden buildings.
The institute believes that by utilizing fire retardant-treated wood, it is possible to build large-scale wood constructions that are not just safer from fire and smoke, but are also more affordable to insure.
AIA’s new course was introduced last November, led by fire suppression expert Stephen Conboy, and was presented through the institute’s accredited GreenCE education platform. A release said that the course “offers critical historical review of wood-frame residential construction and illustrates to architects, engineers, and construction specialists the advances in building technology that are now available for such structures.”
“Using fire-defended lumber products changes the game regarding safety, improves affordability and is unquestionably more environmentally sustainable,” commented Conboy. “Today, cities and states around the world are struggling with a lack of affordable housing. We cannot meet their goals with steel and concrete alone.”
Conboy added that although untreated wood has led to numerous catastrophic fires, driving up insurance costs and causing many cities to prohibit the building of large wood-frame buildings, the latest in fire inhibiting technology could change the game.
The new cost-effective fire resistance layer technology allows all types of wood-constructed buildings – such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and nail laminated timber – to become much safer for even densely-populated residential and commercial development.
Already making waves in Australia, Europe, and the UK for the past 20 years, CLT buildings are just now attracting more attention in the US. Recently, a mass timber high-rise CLT in Portland, OR received the requisite approvals and permits.