Worldwide, there’s a trend toward the construction of taller wood buildings, from the Stadthaus in the UK, which includes eight stories of cross laminated timber (CLT) over one story of concrete, to the four- and five-story wood buildings now common throughout the US.
It’s being driven to a large degree by cost. While material prices fluctuate, wood almost always costs less. Plus, wood construction is fast and wood’s relative light weight reduces demand on the foundation design.
At the same time, wood offers other benefits. Wood buildings are safe. Building codes require all building systems to perform to the same level of safety, regardless of material used, and wood meets code for a range of mid-rise building types. Wood-frame buildings are also lighter and have more repetition and ductility than other structures, which means they perform well during earthquakes and high wind events. Wood buildings are versatile and adaptable. Innovative technologies continue to expand the possibilities for taller walls, longer spans and higher wood buildings. And wood is inherently green. It’s renewable and sustainable, contributes to a building’s energy efficiency, and can be used as a low-carbon alternative to steel, concrete and masonry in many mid-rise applications.
Tools & Support
If you’re working on a multi-story wood building and could use some free technical support—or you want to learn more about innovative mid-rise wood construction—email .
- Emory Point: Mixed-use complex used wood to save money and speed construction – WoodWorks
- Maximizing View and Value with Wood: Taking wood to new levels with a 5½-story podium design – WoodWorks
- Stella Apartments – Marina del Rey, CA – Luxury development includes five-story (Type IIIA) and four-story (Type VA) buildings on one podium.
- University of Washington uses of wood-frame construction to meet ambitious design goals in this award-winning five-story project – WoodWorks
- Wood Buildings Aim High: Benefits and engineering challenges of podium design – WoodWorks
- Structural, Fire Protection, and Building Envelope Professional Engineering Services for 5 and 6 Storey Wood Frame Residential Building Projects. – Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of
BC Technical and Practice Bulletin
- Multi-story Wood-frame Construction – Kevin Cheung, Western Wood Products Association (WWPA)
- Multifamily Developers Turn to Wood-Frame Construction to Cut Costs – Multifamily Executive
- Deflection Limits for Wood Studs Backing Brick Veneer – Structure Magazine
- Engineering Considerations for Taller Podium Buildings – Structural Engineer Magazine
- Use of Wood Podium Helps Cut Costs, Reduce Construction Time – Retail Design and Construction Today
- Multi-Story Wood Construction (1.00 HSW/SD AIA Credit) – Architectural Record
- What to Build Now (Wood Podium) – Multi-Housing News Online
Presentations & Videos
- Wood Podium Mixed-use Design: Lessons from an Architectural Case Study – Michael F. Malinowski, AIA, Applied Architecture Inc.
- Six-storey Wood-frame Buildings in BC Interior of Capstone Shake Table Test Kobe, Japan – CWC
- NEESWood Capstone Shake Table Test –
Naohito Kawai, Building Research Institute
- Advanced Wood Framing– Scott Nyseth, PE – Miyamoto International
- Designing the World’s Tallest Mixed-use Wood Building – Andrew Waugh – Waugh Thistleton Architects, UK
- European Experience: Construction and Testing of a Six-story Wood-frame Building – Dr. Vahik Enjily, BSc, PhD, CEng, FIStructE, FICE, MIMechE, FIWSc – Building Research Establishment (BRE), UK
- 5-over-1 – High-rise Podium Structures – Dominic Matteri, PE, Project Manager, Miyamoto International, Portland, OR
- Lateral Systems for Multi-unit Construction – Doug Hohbach, SE, Principal, Hohbach-Lewin, Inc., Palo Alto, CA
- Continuous Tie-down Systems for Multi-story Construction – Lisa McGurty, PE, Senior Engineering Project Manager, Simpson Strong-Tie, Pleasanton, CA
- Mixed Media: Four Stories of Wood over Concrete Podium Slab – Douglas S. Thompson, PE, SE, SECB,
STB Structural Engineers, Inc.