Back in early June I shared an email appeal [with the TFEC] being circulated by the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) urging folks to contact their representatives in Congress and defeat the Timber Innovations Act (“Don’t Let Wood Replace Concrete”), there being no rationale offered other than the obvious self-interest. After some discussions with my colleague here in Michigan, architect Chuck Bultman who was examining whether the bill deserved support from the AIA, I thought we in the TAC/TFEC might come up with a more reasoned review of the merits, or not, of the bill.
Tanya Luthi of Fast&Epp kindly offered to take on the role of lead author for an open letter, which you will find attached. Dick Schmidt and I have reviewed and endorse the result and we share this on behalf of the Technical Activities Committee of the TFEC.
We offer this first for your own reading and consideration, and secondly for your possible use should you feel motivated to contact your representative in Congress to urge support of the 2018 Farm Bill, which that includes most of the Timber Innovation Act that was originally proposed in 2017. A list of conferees is included below; if one of them should be in your district, they would be the appropriate person to contact with your concerns.
Borrowing from Senator Jeff Merkley’s (Oregon) website:
Oregon has been at the forefront of developing mass timber products, including cross-laminated timber, nail laminated timber, glue laminated timber, laminated strand lumber, and laminated veneer lumber. However, U.S. building codes do not currently recognize mass timber products as official construction materials, leaving the products without a standard rating system for quality, fire resistance, earthquake resistance, and more.
Provisions from Timber Innovation Act included in the [2018 Farm] bill will establish a new research and development program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that focuses on developing the application of mass timber products for building construction; analyzing the safety of tall wood buildings; identifying building code modification for wooden buildings; and calculating the environmental footprint of wood buildings. The bill also creates a grant program that provides funding to accelerate the adoption of emerging wood technology for building construction.
I feel this all provides a solid basis for support. The steel and concrete industries aren’t going to wither if mass timber were to gain wider acceptance; we will all be winners if we start to build – and live – in more sustainable ways.
House Farm Bill conferees:
Senate Farm Bill conferees:
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Posted Aug 10, 2018 12:10 PM PST. Edited on Aug 10, 2018 12:42 PM.report