A new report commissioned by the Canadian Wood Council has highlighted the viability of wood for use as a building material in the construction of tall buildings.

Titled The Case for Tall Wood Buildings, the report notes the ability of wood products to:

  • offer flexible tower construction
  • meet building codes; and
  • be price competitive with other building material options.

When combined with responsible and sustainable harvesting practices, these attributes highlight the cost effectiveness of wood as a structural material in mid-rise and tall buildings.

The report also introduces FFTT, a new open design methodology for designing and constructing buildings. FFTT utilises mass timber panels as a primary structural material to achieve building heights of up to 30 stories and open plans that accommodate diverse architectural forms.

FFTT also assists in addressing climate change issues by promoting the use of sustainably harvested wood. As it uses mass timber, FFTT provides benefits over traditional light wood frame techniques, including:

  • stronger fire, acoustic and structural performance
  • material stability; and
  • construction efficiency.

Michael Green, principal at Michael Green Architecture and co-author of the report notes that the FFTT methodology is the first significant challenger to concrete and steel structures since their inception in tall building design more than 100 years ago.

"The market for these ideas is quite simply enormous. The proposed solutions have significant capacity to revolutionize the building industry to address the major challenges of climate change, urbanisation, sustainable development and world housing needs," he explains.

The Case for Tall Wood Buildings report can be obtained from the Wood Enterprise Coalition website.

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from liz west's Flickr photo stream.