05 Oct Engineered Wood
No one can deny the importance of engineered wood in the LBM industry today. That’s why it’s important to take note of some observations and trends throughout the industry.
A need for green
There’s an ongoing demand for energy efficiency and there’s no sign of it slowing down. As engineered wood is a renewable building material and a good choice for the environment, for green building, and for long-term life cycle performance, there’s no wonder that the product is in high demand.
The USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, and APA–The Engineered Wood Association co-sponsored The Inside View Project, a demonstration house in suburban Chicago by Beechen & Dill Homes.
The house served as a learning tool for builders, architects, and code officials. The home incorporates Advanced Framing techniques that use familiar building materials and methods to maximize materials usage and energy efficiency, and was specifically designed using the feedback Beechen & Dill received from their buyers.
As the demand for engineered wood continues to evolve, the purpose of the home is to give building professionals—including architects, builders, code officials, and building designers—a look at energy-efficient framing practices that conserve energy, speed construction, reduce labor, decrease waste, exceed structural requirements, and save homeowners money on their energy bills—all things that homeowners are said to be paying more attention to.
Ed Kubiak, director of construction for Beechen & Dill, noted that what was once a rare thing to build energy-efficient homes is now an industry standard.
Wood can too
Canadian architect Michael Green spoke at the Oregon Logging Conference recently and was very optimistic when it came to cross-laminated timber and it being used more frequently to build multi-family projects and other tall buildings.
Noting that the Empire State Building could technically be built out of wood, Green also wanted to make note that buildings made out of cross-laminated timber are slated to go up soon in Portland and at the Oregon State University campus. There are also talks of wanting to see the material used in other projects around Oregon. He predicted that we are only going to see more of this.
Where did all the framers go?
While handling engineered wood requires advanced skills from a more experienced installer, something that’s being noticed throughout the industry is a dire need of skilled carpenters. Tim Debelius, of Boise Cascade EWP, Boise, Id., has noted that there continues to be a growing shortage of framers and carpenters in most regions.
In an industry that requires efforts from many players, all you need is to be short one trade or one contractor at the time that you need them and it can back up everything. According to Doug Bauer, CEO of Irvine-based homebuilder Tri Pointe Group Inc., the average age of framers, as well as electricians, and plumbers is about 50, and there needs to be more efforts made to persuade young people to train for construction trades to reduce the shortage.