Wood Products And Sustainable Construction

Ian de la Roche, President & Chief Executive Officer, Forintek Canada Corp., CANADA; Jim A. Dangerfield, Vice President, Western Division, Forintek Canada Corp., CANADA; Erol Karacabeyli, Manager, Wood Engineering Dept., Forintek Canada Corp., CANADA

The remarkable growth of engineered wood products (EWP) in the last decade of the twentieth century constitutes one of the success stories of the wood products industry. The sector’s success has been driven by technology which has broadened the range of usable raw materials, including plantation fibre and previously underutilized species such as aspen. The design, production and building process for North American residential construction has kept pace with the evolution in building materials. Wood platform-frame construction has evolved from a long tradition of conventional practices where housing materials are brought to the building site and assembled in sequence by various building trades and construction workers. Recent developments have been the incorporation of pre-engineered roof, floor and wall systems into the conventional on-site home building process and the rapid growth of manufactured, panelized and modular home construction. In addition to affordability and quality, wood platform-frame construction offers superior performance under earthquake conditions. Recent improvements in design and materials have made wood frame structures comparable to other building systems with respect to durability and fire performance. Finally, life cycle analysis of different building materials has demonstrated unequivocally the environmental advantages of wood construction.

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