Wood Framing

What You Need to Know about Wood Frame Construction

Wood has been used to build structures for centuries, yet in the early 20th century, steel took over as the king of building materials, particularly for framing. However, in recent years, we’ve seen somewhat of a wood frame construction revival, especially in a society that craves cost and time effectiveness. With the appropriate engineering, wood can be used in most all applications. In fact, some of the latest products in engineered wood have similar properties to that of steel. Wood frame construction is experiencing a resurgence, and we’re ahead of the game, leading the way.

What are the benefits of wood frame construction?
Wood frame construction is sustainable and economical. Properly managed forestry practices makes wood a renewable resource, and advances in technology with engineered wood allow for much taller wood structures. As of 2017, the tallest timber structure is a student housing project at the University of British Columbia that is 18 stories tall and utilizes cross laminated timber. In addition to being sustainable and economical, wood also absorbs carbon and offsets greenhouse gas. According to the American Forest Foundation, “If we significantly increased wood use in construction, we could store up to 30% more carbon which would be the equivalent of taking 4.4 million cars off the road every year.”

Why is wood frame construction a preferred method?
There is a constant demand to build things faster, cheaper, and in more compact areas. Wood is light and strong, so it reduces the need for cranes and the associated footprints for them in dense areas. Additionally, wood is cost effective and is a readily available resource. For a steel building, detailing and fabricating all the materials is time consuming. As a result, steel lead times become excessive. By contrast in stick built construction, the wood arrives in standard lengths and can be field modified as needed.

When is wood construction appropriate (or inappropriate) for a building?
With the appropriate engineering, wood can be used in most all applications. The height allowed by code is dictated by each municipality. Georgia currently does not allow wood structures over 5 stories. However, as more technological advances are made, we may see these codes change over time.

What aspects of wood construction are important for others to know?
We assume the largest fear behind wood construction is the risk of fire. However, consider this: fire codes have improved significantly since the great fires of the 19th and 20th centuries. With the aid of sprinkler systems and fire rated lumber, wood structures are just as safe as their steel and concrete counterparts. In fact, building codes are in place to ensure that all buildings perform the same. You might be surprised to learn that wood actually fares better than a rigid steel building in earthquakes due to the deflection properties wood possesses. Think about a log burning in your campfire. That log takes a very long time to burn completely, and the char actually protects the wood. Put your mind at ease. In the rare event of a fire in a wood building, there would still be time for a safe exit.

What makes Evergreen’s method stand-out from the crowd?
One of our most common phrases around our offices and jobsites is, “Manage the process, don’t let the process manage you.” We have proven practices to manage the wood process. Our extensive background in self performed concrete and masonry work has taught us how to manage materials, and we see wood as just another material on our roster. We are currently working on a 5 story, wood frame construction hotel in Alpharetta.

With rising construction costs, wood framing can be a viable option for those looking to stay on or even under budget. It is, however, a delicate balance between time, budget, and other constraints. Each project should be reviewed to see which approach will work best for its specific needs. We pride ourselves on seeking intentional solutions that place the best interests of your project first. Contact us for your next project, so we can help determine what product type works best for you.

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