January 18th 2018, we blogged about Wood Design and Building Materials gaining popularity. Almost 3 years later Timber continues to gain popularity as mass timber engineering is used increasingly in the construction of low and mid rise buildings. Mass timber is growing as an alternative to steel and concrete construction in projects up to 18 floors.
Two important reasons for the growth are mass timber's sustainability and aesthetics. Developers are increasingly looking at the carbon footprint of a building and seeing that it is greatly improved using timber compared to a concrete and steel building. The benefits are environmental and sustainability. Wood is a renewable resource that holds atmospheric carbon.
According to Nina Mahjoub, a structural engineer and principal at Holmes, an international engineering company “wood material is a pre manufactured
material”. “We can be more efficient with timber by doing a lot off site”. “We can save on the construction schedule, which helps cost benefits and there is a little less risk on site”.
Eric Law, CEO and Co Founder of Urban Machine is developing technology to recycle lumber from construction. Law says “we found that construction waste is a huge amount”. A lot of waste comes with concrete projects. Urban Machine plans to work with fabricators which take the wood slabs and can be used for a plumbing duct for example and be assembled like Legos. Law says “It's a great solution for reducing time and cost because they are prefabricated components”. Law continues “there is no form work required like a concrete structure”.
Experts say that properly engineered mass timber produces naturally fire retardant lumber that chars rather than burns completely. The natural properties of wood protect itself to create that fire protection.
The consumer perception is that wood construction will burn. If it's done well, it will not be a greater risk than other type of building. It's just in people's heads more than anything else. Wood, Steel and Concrete all face an array of supply chain, location and demand factors. It depends on how far you are from the trees. Law says “some people now want to start paying a premium for wood construction because it's a beautiful product from an architectural standpoint and you get the green credits on top of that.
According to the prestigious real estate consulting and brokerage firm JLL's Esposito “people really like mass timber buildings. They like living and working there. It's a very compelling type of construction and design”.
To be continued...If you are interested in selling your property or you know someone who is planning to sell their New York or Brooklyn property, whether a single family residential property, an apartment building, a commercial property, mixed use, multi family, coop or condo, vacant land or a development opportunity, call us. You will be very happy that you did.
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