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Tall Wood: A Viable Option for Todays Building Designers

December 8, 2016 – 9:00 am - 2:10 pm


San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA


Onsite check-in:  8:30 am
Program begins:  9:00 am
Program concludes: 2:10 pm

Tall Wood: A Viable Option for Today’s Building Designers

As an 18-story mass timber student housing project nears completion in Canada, the design and approval communities in the United States are asking themselves if tall wood structures can or should be built domestically—and, if yes, how. The motivation for mainstream use of mass timber is extremely compelling, not just for designers and developers who want to advance modern construction, but for cities and states across the US that want to leverage wood’s benefits from sustainability and economic development perspectives. This workshop outlines potential code path options for design and approval teams considering mass timber projects that exceed the prescriptive limits of combustible construction. In particular, it will provide insight on methods for addressing two of the biggest hurdles in tall timber construction: structural and fire life safety provisions of the code.

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Topics & Speakers

Brock Commons Case Study – Robert Jackson, Project Engineer, Fast + Epp

Robert is one of the structural design engineers for the UBC Brock Commons tall timber building, and has been intimately involved in the project since its inception. He comes from a carpentry background and is the recent recipient of two awards from the Institution of Structural Engineers in London—most notably, the Young Structural Engineering Professional Award, which recognizes diverse and skilled individuals under 30 years old who are driving the profession forward. Robert graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Civil Engineering.

Structural Systems & Approaches – Scott Breneman, PE, SE, PhD, WoodWorks

Scott is a licensed Structural Engineer and Professional Engineer in the State of California and Senior Technical Director of the Architectural and Engineering Solutions Team of WoodWorks-The Wood Products Council. Scott received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida and a doctorate from Stanford University. His doctoral research entailed novel methods to reduce seismic damage to mid-rise and high-rise-frame buildings. Scott has experience with the structural design of new single-family, multi-family and mixed-used buildings; the seismic rehabilitation of institutional buildings in California; and high-end analysis and technology development. Scott is a Director on the Executive Board of the Structural Engineers Association of California, Past President of the Structural Engineers Association of Central California, an Associate Member of the ASCE/SEI 7-16 Seismic Sub-committee and Member of the ASCE/SEI Design of Wood Structures Committee.

Fire Life Safety Approaches – Robert Gerard, Senior Fire Engineer, Holmes Fire

Robert is a licensed Fire Protection Engineer in California. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Master’s Degree in Fire Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Robert’s experience in timber fire safety has seen him involved in timber building research and testing programs around the globe, including secondments in London and Sydney in addition to his home base of California. His participation in a number of research forums, seminars, conferences and projects has made him an authority on fire safety in timber buildings. Robert is currently based in Holmes Fire’s Los Angeles office.

AIA SF Hallidie Building
130 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104

Parking available for a reduced rate of $5 per car with validation

Parking/BART/MUNI info

You can find the event presentations in our Presentation Slides Archive page just prior to the event.

Attendees will qualify for 4 AIA/CES LUs (HSW) or PDH credits.

Professional Development Certificates and AIA CES forms will be available on site.


Contact Jaime Krohn at or 312-841-8272.


8 December 2016
9:00 am - 2:10 pm
Event Category:


AIA SF Hallidie Building
San Francisco, CA United States

WoodWorks offers a wide range of in-person and online training opportunities, from Wood Design Symposiums that include concurrent seminars and a trade show, to half-day workshops, lunchtime seminars and webinars.