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CONTACT:
Chuck Fuqua 202-463-2466, cfuqua@awc.org

American Wood Council Expands Government Relations Shop, Hires V.P. Government Affairs
September 23, 2013

WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) has selected Sarah Ryan Dodge-Palmer as its vice president of government affairs. This is a new staff position for AWC through which the association plans to increase its presence on Capitol Hill on key issues affecting the wood products industry.

Dodge-Palmer will officially join AWC on October 14, 2013 as the principal government affairs representative and lobbyist for the association and will direct, implement, and manage federal and state legislative affairs.

"This is an expanded direction for AWC, and we are excited to have Sarah joining our team to amplify our voice on important issues affecting our members," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "Her experience both as a congressional staffer as well as representing association members' legislative and regulatory interests before Congress and state legislatures make Sarah an ideal fit for AWC."

Dodge-Palmer comes to AWC from the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists in Alexandria, Va. where she served in a similar role. Prior to that, she worked for a variety of trade associations including the Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the American Subcontractors Association, and in the 1990s, she worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Andrew Ireland and House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel.

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AWC Releases New Publication to Aid Code Conformance When Building with Wood
September 4, 2013

LEESBURG, VA – The American Wood Council (AWC) has released a set of new publications summarizing allowable wood use in buildings in accordance with the International Code Council (ICC) 2009 International Building Code® (IBC®).

Titled Code Conforming Wood Design (CCWD), the documents feature an overview of the building code compliant design allowances for wood in commercial occupancy groups, although they should not be considered a replacement for the IBC. The documents are organized to help engineers, architects, and building officials better understand how wood can be used in a variety of applications.

Developed in cooperation with ICC, the free, downloadable CCWD series includes a comprehensive document summarizing wood use in the IBC. A series of smaller documents are specific to eight different ICC use groups such assembly, business and educational buildings.

"We are excited about the partnership with ICC on this project and the potential for this document to really impact how designers approach the building code with respect to wood design and construction," said AWC Vice President of Codes and Regulations Kenneth Bland, PE.

"Explaining building code provisions based on occupancy classification and specific types of construction, as the CCWD has done for Types III, IV and V construction, will assist building officials, designers, and contractors in applying the most relevant code provisions with ease," said ICC Executive Vice President and Director of Business Development Mark Johnson.

Wood construction offers distinct design options typically not found in a single structural material. It is inexpensive, readily available, easy to work with, strong, and adaptable. The economic, environmental, and energy efficiency advantages account for more buildings being constructed of wood than any other structural material.

For more information or to download your free copy, visit http://www.awc.org/codes/ccwdindex.html.

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American and Canadian Wood Councils Release Two New Wood Environmental Product Declarations
July 31, 2013

WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of two new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for laminated veneer lumber and wood I-joists.

This latest announcement brings the available EPD total for North American wood products to six. The previous four (released in May) include softwood lumber, softwood plywood, oriented strand board, and glued laminated timber.

EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories and an independent certifier of products and their sustainable attributes.

“With the U.S. Green Building Council membership’s recent approval of LEED v4 and its point recognition for disclosure and optimization of building product life-cycle impacts, the value of these six industry-wide EPDs in green building rating systems has taken a significant step forward,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. “Additionally, the online version of the Green Globes building rating system also provides points for using products that have third-party verified EPDs.  Clearly, there is a need to provide building teams with science-based information on environmental impacts of products and primary energy consumption so that more informed decisions are possible.”

“The transparency provided in an EPD helps to pinpoint locations in the production and supply chain where wood products exhibit favourable environmental performance, as well as areas where lower impacts can be realized in the future,” said CWC President Michael Giroux. “This type of objective, science-based data will help demonstrate to the design community that the wood industry is committed to full disclosure and will mitigate any false stigmas which may have previously existed without scientific or justified proof.”

Based on international standards (ISO 14025 and ISO 21930), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as use of resources, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

Business purchasing decisions will soon require the kind of environmental information provided by EPDs to account for factors such as carbon footprint.  By choosing wood, builders can reduce carbon footprints from materials used during construction, contributing to a reduction in global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Wood products can displace more fossil-fuel intensive construction materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics, which can result in significant emission reductions.”

For more information and to download currently available EPDs and Transparency Briefs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.html.

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Industry Reacts to DC Circuit Court Ruling on Biomass Energy Emissions
July 12, 2013

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) ruled today in the case Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that EPA provided insufficient legal justification to defer greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation of biogenic emissions and vacated the agency's Deferral Rule.

"The court's ruling creates great uncertainty about the permitting requirements for biomass energy and underscores the need for EPA to finalize its rulemaking on the treatment of biogenic emissions," said American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman.

"In light of the court's decision, we hope the agency moves expeditiously to issue a new rule recognizing the carbon benefits of biomass energy," said American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Robert Glowinski.

AF&PA, AWC and others intervened on EPA's behalf when environmental groups filed their challenge in 2011, supporting the agency's decision to temporarily delay GHG regulation while the agency studied whether and how to regulate these emissions.

In June 2010, EPA released its GHG Tailoring Rule, in which the agency "tailored" GHG regulations to only apply to larger stationary sources of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, in doing so, EPA failed for the first time to recognize the carbon neutrality of biogenic CO2 emissions and did not exclude them from PSD/Title V permitting thresholds. After industry expressed concern, the agency imposed a three-year deferral of regulating biogenic CO2 in July 2011 to allow for a scientific review of the carbon neutrality of the emissions. Environmental groups challenged the legality of the EPA's deferral, which this court ruling addresses.

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AWC Statement on House Passage of the 2013 Farm Bill
July 12, 2013

WASHINGTON – American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski today issued the following statement regarding yesterday's House's passage of the 2013 Farm Bill.

"We commend Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their leadership in providing a mechanism to allow important parts of the 2013 Farm Bill to move forward. We also applaud Reps. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) for their work to include the provisions of H.R. 979, the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013 (FPFA), which clarifies that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred program should recognize wood products as 'biobased.'

"Wood products are by their very nature biobased and should be eligible to compete in the program on a level playing field with other biobased products as was originally intended by the law. We hope that as House and Senate conferees now work out any differences in the bills, they will be mindful of the positive environmental benefits that can accrue from the use of biobased wood products and ensure inclusion of the FPFA provisions in the final bill."

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American Wood Council Responds to President Obama's Climate Change Strategy
June 25, 2013

WASHINGTON – American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski today issued the following statement regarding President Obama's climate change strategy released today.

"While President Obama raised many climate issues today in releasing his Climate Action Plan, one issue that deserves greater attention is for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue recognizing the carbon neutrality of the biomass energy produced by wood products manufacturers.

"The agency is poised to issue a world-leading framework for measuring the carbon impacts of biomass energy. By investing in highly-efficient biomass energy, wood products facilities have continually reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by displacing fossil fuels with woody residues that would have decayed anyway.

"Even some of the greatest critics of carbon neutrality have recognized that the use of biomass residues for energy should be treated as carbon neutral, and we hope that EPA will do the same in its upcoming accounting framework and GHG regulations.

"Further, the president called for cuts in what he called carbon pollution, and greater use of wood products provides just such an opportunity. Their manufacture is steeped in the use of biomass energy, and wood sequesters a considerable amount of carbon not only in forests (as recognized in the plan) but also in finished products."

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Industry Leaders Talk Paper and Wood Products, Sustainable Manufacturing Today on Capitol Hill
June 19, 2013

WASHINGTON – More than 50 forest products industry leaders from across the country are on Capitol Hill today representing the interests of the nearly 900,000 Americans in talking to Members of Congress about the top priorities for paper and wood products manufacturers.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the American Wood Council (AWC) are co-hosting the 2013 Forest Products Industry Fly-In, in which CEOs and senior executives will discuss industry priorities with Congress including:

  • carbon neutrality of biomass;
  • reasonable air regulations;
  • inclusion of paper and wood products in USDA's BioPreferred program;
  • corporate tax reform;
  • postal reform;
  • truck weight increase for federal highways;
  • maintaining paper options for all Americans;
  • recognition of multiple credible green building rating systems; and
  • support for wood in building energy codes.

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Industry Responds to Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act Proposed Regulation
June 10, 2013

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed regulations for the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, in which the statute sets formaldehyde emission limits for hardwood plywood, particle board, and medium density fiberboard.

The legislation – which was passed in 2010 – is supported by the American Wood Council (AWC), the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), and other wood products associations.

"We supported the legislation as consistent with good product stewardship, extending nationwide California's existing rule, and we support reasonable standards that are consistent with our industry's commitment to the safety of our products and the original intent of the legislation," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "We look forward to commenting on the proposal to ensure that the rules implement the full intent of the legislation."

"American consumers should feel confident that products covered by the proposed regulations and made by North American manufacturers are low in formaldehyde emissions and are already certified as having met the requirements of this proposed EPA rule," added AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "North American wood products manufacturers have worked hard to meet these rigorous standards and support their nationwide application."

To the extent the proposed rules implement the State of California's existing performance-based standard, the regulations would create a single nationwide standard and allow those manufacturers that are already complying to not be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

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American and Canadian Wood Councils Release Wood Environmental Product Declarations
May 7, 2013

WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of four new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for North American wood products, including softwood lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, and glue-laminated lumber.

EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from the Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULE), an independent certifier of products and their sustainability.

"Our industry has long been committed to transparency regarding the environmental impact of its products and encourages other building material producers to do the same," said AWC President & CEO Robert Glowinski. "For the first time, users have a science-based and third-party verified tool to understand and weigh what environmental factors are important to them when making their product selections."

"The EPD process is one that is open and transparent, outlining where wood products have optimal environmental performance capabilities as well as areas where various products have a need for improvement," said CWC President Michael Giroux. "This form of comparison data would equal the playing field for competing products and mitigate any past false stigmas that may have existed without scientific or justified proof."

Based on international standards (ISO 14025), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as resources, energy use and efficiency, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

Business purchasing decisions will likely require the kind of environmental information provided by EPDs in the future to account for factors such as carbon footprint. By choosing wood, builders can reduce carbon footprints from materials used during construction, contributing to a reduction in global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "Wood products can displace more fossil-fuel intensive construction materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics, which can result in significant emission reductions."

For more information and to download currently available EPDs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.html.

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AWC Statement on Senate AG Committee Passage of the 2013 Farm Bill
May 15, 2013

WASHINGTON – American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski today issued the following statement regarding the Senate Agriculture Committee's passage of the 2013 Farm Bill.

"We commend Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran for their leadership in providing an exhaustive review of the 2012 Farm Bill, and we appreciate their hard work to improve the standing of wood products in USDA's biobased programs. Wood products by nature are biobased and should be eligible to compete on a level playing field with other biobased products as was originally intended by the law."

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New Southern Pine Design Values Implemented in AWC Standards and Design Tools
May 9, 2013

LEESBURG, VA – The American Wood Council (AWC) has revised several of its standards and design tools in response to upcoming changes to Southern Pine design values. The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) Board of Review approved changes to design values for all grades and all sizes of visually graded Southern Pine and Mixed Southern Pine lumber, with a recommended effective date of June 1, 2013 to allow for their orderly implementation. The changes to AWC standards and design tools ensure they remain consistent with the new design values. Visit www.spib.org and www.southernpine.com for more details.

In advance of the implementation date, AWC has developed addenda and other updates to its standards and design tools as follows:

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AWC Applauds the U.S. House and Senate for Introducing the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013
March 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, March 6, U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and U.S. Reps. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced Senate and House versions respectively of the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013.

If passed, this legislation would modify the definition of "biobased" materials to specifically include all forest products regardless of "newness" or "market maturity" in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Program's voluntary labeling and government procurement initiatives.

"On behalf of the our members and the structural wood products industry, I'd like to thank Sens. Pryor and Blunt and Reps. Thompson and Schrader for their leadership to correct the arbitrary exclusion of wood products from the USDA's BioPreferred Program, and we deeply appreciate the support provided by the co-sponsors of these bills as well," said American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "It's misleading and does a terrible disservice to our industry to say that something made almost entirely from a biobased resource does not qualify, and we are hopeful that Congress will recognize – and correct – this shortcoming."

The USDA BioPreferred Program was originally enacted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to help consumers identify and use biobased products. Products with as little as 25 percent biobased content are recognized under the program's current implementation guidelines, while many traditional wood products that have up to 100 percent biobased content are not.

These bills clarify that USDA should recognize forest products as biobased and will ensure a competitive marketplace for all products with biobased content, including wood.

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US Edition of CLT Handbook Now Available
February 5, 2013

MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC — FPInnovations - in collaboration with the American Wood Council (AWC), the United States (U.S.) Forest Products Laboratory, APA, and U.S. WoodWorks - has published a guide to cross‐laminated timber (CLT) applications in the U.S. Developed for building professionals, the publication provides technical information and illustrates CLT applications adapted to current codes and standards.

The multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed CLT Handbook is designed to provide technical information for the design, construction, and implementation of CLT systems, encouraging adoption and selection of wood-based solutions in general in residential, non-residential, and multi-story construction. The U.S. CLT Handbook can be downloaded at www.masstimber.com and is available for sale at www.awc.org.

"Thanks to partnerships like these, we can demonstrate the viability of innovative technologies, with a view to marketing new products or developing new markets. The CLT Handbook is a green construction jewel and another example of FPInnovations' contribution to transforming the forest products industry. FPInnovations is continuing to assume its leadership role by paving the way to wood‐based, living solutions," says FPInnovations President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pierre Lapointe.

"A proposed code change advocated by AWC to expand the use of CLT through the building code's heavy timber construction classification was approved by the International Code Council in late 2012. The recently approved change will lead the way for new U.S. markets for this emerging wood product in non-residential buildings," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "This classification will allow 50 percent taller and larger CLT buildings than previously permitted and was precipitated by development of the manufacturing standard for the product by APA and demonstration of its fire performance in tests conducted by FPInnovations and AWC."

Developed in Europe and currently being used in Canada, CLT is gaining popularity around the globe for residential and non‐residential applications.

Like other structural wood-based products, CLT is a sustainable product made from a renewable resource that lends itself well to prefabrication, resulting in very rapid construction and dismantling at the end of its service life, contributing to greater reuse and recycling of construction materials.

Among other characteristics, CLT offers outstanding structural, thermal, and acoustic performance and enables new open‐plan designs and faster, cleaner, safer, and less noisy worksites. Its competitive advantages include:

  • more environmentally friendly construction;
  • new architectural possibilities;
  • modular construction;
  • adapted systems for walls, ceilings, floors, and roofs;
  • manufacturing to customer specifications;
  • high fire resistance;
  • swift worksite deployment, generating less construction waste, and limiting nuisances for neighbors;
  • competitive handling, manpower, and shipment costs.
The U.S. CLT Handbook was developed by a team of more than 40 experts from across the globe, and funding for this project was received from the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, Forestry Innovation Investment, and three North America-based CLT manufacturers: Nordic Engineered Wood, Structurlam, and CLT Canada.

In 2011, FPInnovations published the Canadian Edition of the CLT Handbook to facilitate adoption of CLT in Canada, ultimately inspiring development of a U.S. edition. Implementation of CLT in North America marks a new opportunity for cross-border cooperation, as five organizations worked together with the design and construction community, industry, universities, and regulatory officials in the development of this handbook.

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Releases

Briefs

AWC Adds New Engineer!

AWC is pleased to announce that Jason Smart, P.E. has joined AWC as Manager, Engineering Technology.

In his position, Jason will focus on development and support for new and emerging technologies and related changes to design standards and model building code standards. Jason most recently worked for the International Code Council (ICC). He is also a licensed Professional Engineer and a graduate of Virginia Tech, with degrees in Civil Engineering and Wood Science and Forest Products.

Welcome aboard Jason!

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AWC Published in Technical Media

In-depth report on fire protection in wood buildings co-sponsored by AWC now available: Architectural Record Continuing Education Center 

Article by AWC's Ken Bland & Paul Coats on Wood Construction and the IBC in the latest edition of Construction Specifier Magazine 

AWC's Dennis Richardson discusses code considerations for building with wood in this Construction Executive Magazine article, "Reaching New Heights with Wood"

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Adopt-a-University: VA Tech and UMaine by Boise Cascade

Boise Cascade is once again sponsoring the Fall timber design classes at Virginia Tech and the University of Maine. Boise will donate twenty copies of the 2012 National Design Specification® (NDS®) for Wood Construction to graduate and undergraduate students for the fall 2013 Timber Design course Design of Wood Structures and Timber Engineering at Virginia Tech. 

"As a faculty member, I appreciate the industry investment in student learning. The students are impressed by the sponsorship of their books and they are very thankful. This is a great way to encourage students to become more familiar with wood design," said Daniel Hindman, Associate Professor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. 

Boise also donated eight NDS copies to students of Dr. Edwin Nagy, PhD, SE, PE, University of Maine's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who had this to say about the donation: 

"Thanks to the AWC and Boise-Cascade, UMaine's engineering students get their hands on the real-deal reference material for timber design. This significantly enriches their education and helps make sure that they are well prepared for the work-force upon graduation. Using the NDS, the students experience member and connection design as they will see it in the real world rather than as interpreted by text books. Plus, it really makes them smile!"

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Impact Celebrates 25 Years! (May 1998 Issue)

In May 1988, the first issue of Impact was published by AWC's predecessor, the National Forest Products Association (NFPA). Since this year marks the 25th anniversary of that newsletter, with each issue in 2013 we are including a flashback to those early years for a look at codes and standards then and now.

From the May 1988 issue:

Deck Live Loads Reduced
NFPA support of a proposal by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) was instrumental in securing approval by the One and Two Family Code Committee of a code change reducing live load requirements for decks.

The code change presented new definitions for exterior balconies and exterior decks. Balconies are defined as structures cantilevered from a building without additional supports. Decks, on the other hand, must be supported on at least two opposing sides. The change allows a 60-lb live load to remain for exterior balconies and a minimum live load of 40 pounds for exterior decks. An important factor in the committee's decision was NFPA's argument that the Uniform Building Code allows 40-lb live loads for roof decks.

The code change permits traditional lumber grades and sizes for balcony and deck uses, without need for more costly designs.

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Impact Celebrates 25 Years! (August 1988 Issue)

In May 1988, the first issue of Impact was published by AWC's predecessor, the National Forest Products Association (NFPA). Since this year marks the 25th anniversary of that newsletter, with each issue in 2013 we are including a flashback to those early years for a look at codes and standards then and now.

From the August 1988 issue:

Model Building Code Actions - Uniform Code
High Winds/Hurricane Forces Chapter Recommended for UBC -The ICBO Development Committee on High Winds/Hurricane Forces has recommended adding an appendix chapter to the Uniform Building Code. The chapter will specify conventional framing provisions which can be adopted in local jurisdictions experiencing damage due to high winds. The regulations would apply to one-, two-, or three-story conventional light frame construction located in areas with a basic wind speed between 80-110 MPH. The primary difference between these provisions and conventional construction in UBC Section 2517 is the connections between roof/wall and wall/foundations. The committee agreed with the NFPA position that additional wall design or construction changes were not needed.

In a separate action, the committee is recommending a revision to Section 2517 on wood. That recommendation would require a tiedown of roof to wall, consisting of a 1-1/8" x 20 gauge galvanized sheet metal strap 48" o.c. with 4 - 8d nails. It would require two nails to each roof member and the stud below it. If approved, this proposal would be required of all construction, regardless of location. These committee code change proposals will also be heard at the January ICBO Code Development Committee meeting in Long Beach.

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AWC Article in STRUCTURE Magazine

The June issue of STRUCTURE Magazine featured "Height and Area Considerations for Commercial Wood Buildings," an article authored by AWC's Paul Coats and Dennis Richardson. The magazine article outlined allowable heights and areas for wood buildings as prescribed by the International Building Code, provided several case studies developed by WoodWorks, and discussed emerging code provisions for cross-laminated timber. With a circulation to more than 28,000 practicing structural engineers in the U.S., STRUCTURE Magazine is an effective way to communicate important technical information to one of AWC's key audiences.

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Adopt-a-University: WSU by Idaho Forest Group

Idaho Forest Group is sponsoring the Fall timber design class at Washington State University. Eighty complimentary copies of the 2012 National Design Specification for Wood Construction, which is part of the Wood Design Package, are being donated to registered undergraduate students. Dr. Don Bender, Professor and Director of the Composite Materials & Engineering Center at Washington State University stated, "[C]orporate sponsorship from the Idaho Forest Group for design manuals is a huge help to our students. Our timber design classes continue to fill to capacity with waiting lists. Our students are in high demand with industry, and have a reputation as being 'job ready, day one.' We want to be sure that every structural engineering graduate from WSU understands how to design with wood and fully appreciates the advantages of wood construction." 

AWC provides complimentary desk copies of its standards to professors teaching timber engineering and architecture courses. Students also receive the member discount on publications. Since 2003, AWC has annually distributed standards to an average of 55 professors and approximately 2,000 students. In 2012, standards went to 1,650 students at 67 universities. For more information on how your company can sponsor a timber engineering course, contact Lacey Merriman at 202-463-2766.

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AWC's Michelle Kam-Biron Elected Treasurer of SEAOSC

AWC's Director of Education, Michelle Kam-Biron, PE, SE, has been elected Treasurer of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC). SEAOSC is part of the largest National Council of Structural Engineers (NCSEA) state membership organizations and is very active in structural engineering and code-related challenges especially related to seismic performance. 

Under SEAOSC rules, the Treasurer succeeds each year to the office of President-Elect, then President, and finally Past-President. In her role as Treasurer, Michelle will be responsible for the Association's finances and fulfill the duties of President in the absence of the President and President-elect. Congratulations to Michelle for this notable engineering leadership role in SEAOSC!

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Impact Celebrates 25 Years! (July 1988 Issue)

In May 1988, the first issue of Impact was published by AWC's predecessor, the National Forest Products Association (NFPA). Published continuously since, this year marks the newsletter's 25th anniversary, and with each issue in 2013 we plan to include a flashback to those earlier years for a look at codes and standards then and now.

From July 1988 Impact:

RBD Push
Reliability-Based Design Project Begins – [A] historic cooperative effort by the wood industry to produce a load and resistance factor wood design manual began July 1 when NFPA signed a contract with EDM, Inc., of Ft. Collins, Colo. EDM, headed by Dr. James R. Goodman, will produce a reliability-based specification to be the basis for the wood design manual. The $1.6 million project will be completed in three years. Why the need for a new wood design manual? Reliability-Based Design (RBD) is a more accurate method of designing structures which uses probability analysis to predict both design loads and material strength. It is expected to become a more accurate [state of the art] for practicing design professionals. RBD is able to incorporate information about variability in both loads and strengths, resulting in higher design accuracy and efficiency in wood use. The current method of wood design, called allowable stress design, is based on conservatively-assumed constant values for both loads and wood design values. The steel and concrete industries have already developed methods incorporating the new design method, and universities are teaching it. RBD is a necessary tool for expansion of structural wood products into the huge non-residential construction market. NFPA initiated the project and will serve as coordinator. Sixteen cooperators joining NFPA are:

  • American Institute of Timber Construction
  • American Plywood Association
  • California Lumber Inspection Service
  • California Redwood Association
  • Canadian Wood Council
  • MSR Lumber Producers Council
  • Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association
  • Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau
  • Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association
  • Southern Forest Products Association
  • Southern Pine Inspection Bureau
  • Timber Products Inspection, Inc.
  • Trus Joist Corporation
  • Truss Plate Institute
  • West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau
  • Western Wood Products Association

Contributors [representing] composite wood products are: Trus Joist Corp.; Alpine Structures; Boise Cascade Corp.; Fabricated Wood Components; Jager Industries; MacMillan Bloedel Inc.; McCausey Lumber; Mitek Wood Products; Nordel, Ltd.; Standard Structures; Tecton Laminates; Truswal Systems Corp.; Unit Structures; Weyerhaeuser Co.; and, Williamette Industries.

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Markwardt Award Presented to Philip Line

At the April 2013 meeting of ASTM Committee D07 on Wood, Philip Line, AWC Director of Structural Engineering, was awarded the esteemed L. J. Markwardt Award for his distinguished contributions to the knowledge of wood as an engineering material as related to improved utilization of wood as a renewable resource. Phil was specifically recognized for his leadership and efforts in Committee D07 standards activities, particularly those related to development of standards for the engineering use of wood and wood-based materials in building construction. He has been an active member of ASTM since 1995. Congratulations Phil!

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Building Safety Month

Founded by the International Code Council (ICC), Building Safety Month is celebrated by jurisdictions worldwide during the month of May. Building Safety Month is a public awareness campaign offered each year to help individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. The campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement, and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.

AWC is pleased to participate in Building Safety Month and will be providing a series of articles and other information about the standards and design tools developed by AWC that contribute to building safety.

ICC Building Safety Month Week 3: Backyard & Pool Safety

It's that time of year where family's across the country are spending time in the great outdoors, and often on their decks. Unfortunately, "Many (decks) were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers," according to Mike Beaudry, executive vice president of the North American Deck & Railing Association. Beaudry also points out that in 2007 the Consumer Product Safety Commission compiled that some 43,880 injuries happened on decks and porches, which is more than eight times as many as on stairs, and that the number of deck failures and injuries has been increasing (see more in the May/June 2011 LBM Journal).

To help address this issue, AWC has developed Design for Code Acceptance No. 6 (DCA 6) Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide. DCA 6 includes guidance on provisions of the International Residential Code (IRC) pertaining to single level residential wood deck construction. Provisions contained in this document that are not included in the IRC are considered good practice recommendations. It is one of the more popular documents on the AWC website because it provides a safe pre-engineered solution for deck construction.

As part of Building Safety Month, AWC is hosting a free webinar on deck design and construction on May 30, which quickly filled; due to its popularity, a second one will be offered on June 26 (sign up today!). This course will provide an overview of DCA 6 along with its commentary and include several examples showing application of the deck guide.

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ICC Building Safety Month Week 2: Disaster Safety and Mitigation

When it comes to disaster safety and mitigation in wood construction, AWC has many resources at your disposal.

  • Building with wood in high seismic areas: Wood has a high strength to weight ratio. Since wood is lighter than steel or concrete, there is less mass to move – a critical factor during an earthquake.
  • Building with wood in high wind areas: These code recognized documents provide engineers, architects, and builders with the tools they need to design and construct safe wood structures. A series of simplified High Wind Guides is one example of how AWC contributes to building safety.
  • Education & training: For those who want more information, AWC offers live and online training in many areas including design for wind and seismic loads.

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ICC Building Safety Month Week 1: Fire Safety and a New Awareness
By Kuma Sumathipala

Despite a comparatively safety-conscious public mindset and numerous technological advances, the U.S. trails other developed nations in fire safety, at least as measured by per capita fire deaths. However, there have been tremendous improvements over the last few decades. Notably, in 1979, there were 36 fire deaths per million in the United States. By 2009, this number had fallen to 11 deaths per million - a 70 percent reduction.

Although the U.S. cannot rest until this number approaches zero, recognition for this reduction should be given to the fire safety community as a whole, especially because over that period use of new combustible materials such as upholstered furnishings and other plastic items increased exponentially in homes and offices, along with bigger structures and larger open spaces. However, efforts to better educate children about fire safety, modern construction methods with improved building codes, standards for appliance fire safety, and installation of occupant warning systems such as smoke alarms have all contributed to the improved performance.

In the past decade, the opportunity for incorporation of additional fire safety measures such as installation of automatic home sprinklers has become available. The benefits sprinklers provide as a last line of defense for fire safety are well established in commercial structures. However, less well understood is their cost-benefit in residential construction. While the substantial statistical reduction in fire deaths after 1980 has been achieved with little contribution from residential sprinklers, home buyers should always consider automatic sprinklers as an additional safety feature and for their own peace of mind. This is especially true for those in high-risk categories, such as smokers, who represented 15 percent of all fire deaths resulting from inappropriately discarded smoking materials.

The American Wood Council (AWC) is proud to have contributed to fire safety gains by developing and advocating for the adoption of fire safe construction that uses modern wood products. One example is a website and resources developed specifically for the fire service — www.woodaware.info — which provides information to the fire service on traditional and modern engineered wood products used in residential construction. These resources were developed under a cooperative agreement between the Department of Homeland Security's United States Fire Administration and AWC. Wood product training display cases were also developed as part of this agreement, providing industry products to enhance the building construction curriculum taught at our nation's many fire academies.

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AWC Shear Walls Program a Hit

AWC presented a 4 hour seminar to 40 Virginia building officials and engineers on shear wall design comparing IRC braced wall provisions, the Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for One- and Two-Family Dwellings prescriptive and engineered provisions, WFCM High Wind Guides, and Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic.

Chuck Bajnai, code official in Chesterfield, VA and Chairman of the ICC Building Code Action Committee, wrote afterwards, "Thanks so much for your effort and handbooks for our shear wall class. Several attendees told me that your class took the mysteriousness out of 'shear walls.' For the majority of us plan reviewers who had no previous understanding of how the Wood Frame Construction Manual was broken down and how to use it, this was very enlightening."

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Adopt-a-University: UMinn by TECO

TECO is sponsoring the winter term timber design class at the University of Minnesota. The 28 civil engineering students in a Senior-level course on Design of Wood Structures each received a complimentary copy of the code-recognized National Design Specification® for Wood Construction which is part of the Wood Design Package.

"Having an individual copy of the NDS® is critical to success in this course and the support of TECO and AWC for these students is much appreciated. This type of industry support of advanced education in timber engineering will be instrumental in expanding markets in non-residential construction and promoting the wise use and understanding of wood in engineered structures," stated Jerrold E. Winandy, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the Twin Cities Campus.

AWC provides complimentary desk copies of its standards to professors teaching timber engineering and architecture courses. Students also receive the AWC member discount on publications. Since 2003, AWC has annually distributed standards to an average of 55 professors and approximately 2,000 students. In 2012, standards went to 1,650 students at 67 universities. For more information on how your company can sponsor a timber engineering course, contact Lacey Merriman at 202-463-2766.

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