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Atlanta Suburb Limits Wood-Framed Buildings

In an era where cities all over the world are allowing larger and taller wood-framed buildings, the city of Sandy Springs just approved sweeping limitations on the construction practice.
September 1, 2016, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Over the objections of the wood products industry, the Sandy Springs City Council has approved a building code change to prohibit wood-framed construction for future buildings taller than three stories and larger than 100,000 square feet," reports David Ibata.

"Supporters of the change cited safety issues, as well as matters of quality, durability and longevity of buildings in turning to steel and masonry," according to Ibata. Objectors include the American Wood Council and Georgia Forestry Association.

Writing for Construction Dive, a construction industry newsletter, Kim Slowey surveys the world for examples of the construction industry finding new, larger-scale uses for wood construction. We at Planetizen have noted the example of Toronto, Ontario, which relaxed its wood-framed building standards to allow for buildings up to six stories high. Paris, France approved a wood-framed building that will reach 35 stories high back in 2015. The T3 project in Minneapolis targets a height of seven stories. The latter project is nearing completion, as is visible on its very own live feed construction camera.

Slowey finds examples from Stockholm, Sweden, and London, U.K, of approved projects that will push the boundaries of previous wood-framed buildings. In the United States, according to Slowey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition last year. 

An article by Ely Portillo for The Charlotte Observer digs more into the implication of the actions of the Sandy Springs City Council by imagining the consequences if the city of Charlotte were to approve similar regulations. If the city of Charlotte instituted the same regulations, writes Portillo, it "would effectively exclude most of the new apartments under construction...except for uptown high rises built with concrete and steel."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 in Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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