Tall Wood Buildings in the 2021 IBC – Up to 18 Stories of Mass Timber
In January 2019, the International Code Council (ICC) approved a set of proposals to allow tall wood buildings as part of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). Based on these proposals, the 2021 IBC includes three new construction types—Type IV-A, IV-B and IV-C—allowing the use of mass timber or noncombustible materials. These new types are based on the previous Heavy Timber construction type (renamed Type IV-HT) but with additional fire-resistance ratings and levels of required noncombustible protection. The code includes provisions for up to 18 stories of Type IV-A construction for Business and Residential Occupancies.
Based on information first published in the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) 2018 Conference Proceedings, this paper summarizes the background to these proposals, technical research that supported their adoption, and resulting changes to the IBC and product-specific standards.