Concrete Products

AUG 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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It has been a tough summer for advocates of combustible materials-rich construction methods that stretch the limits of relaxed building codes and are pitched as environmen- tally friendly alternatives to concrete or steel. A charade bolstered by a 2015 U.S. Department of Agri- culture program appeared to run its course last month in Portland, Ore. Proponents of Framework, a 12-story residential and commercial structure designed with cross laminated timber (CLT) load-bearing members, placed their project on hold. A development, design and construction team cited "changing market conditions over the past two years including infla- tion, escalating construction costs, and fluctuations in the tax credit market." Framework stakeholders had secured state and city permits for what they packaged as the first U.S. timber high rise. Project prospects climbed three years ago with a $1.5 million Tall Wood Building Prize in a USDA and Softwood Lumber Board competition. It supported what the team called "a rigorous, two-year research & development phase and performance-based review process. The result was global breakthroughs in structural, fire, and acoustical performance testing that proved tall mass timber buildings can comply with U.S. building code and paved the way for mass timber construction across the country." The Framework decision followed abandonment of efforts to build the second 2015 Tall Wood Building Prize subject, 475 West 18 th , a 10-level New York City residential development designed with emphasis on load-bearing wood members. The 475 West 18 th and Framework outcomes have not deterred the USDA from pursuing additional Tall Wood Building competitions, although concrete industry stakeholders have pushed back on agency attempts to budget for any program promoting one building material at the expense of competitors. The CLT assemblies for the Portland and New York tower concepts differ sig- nificantly in load-bearing potential from the standard wood 2 x 4s that builders and developers are increasingly using for three- to five-story residential and commercial developments. But no amount of industry promotion, engineering and technical support, or environmental spin will relieve CLT of the combusti- bility traits inherent in 2 x 4s or any established wood product. Wood-fueled fires burn building occupants, their possessions and, in some instances, first responders and neighboring properties. The list of parties at risk in the face of cheap wood construction is even longer. In a new cost-benefit analysis centered on Los Angeles County, Columbia University Adjunct Assistant Professor Urvashi Kaul calculates wood-framed residential building fires' economic impact on citizens and local governments. Over the next 15 years, he concludes, Los Angeles could incur more than $22 billion in wood-framed residential fire losses. Beyond roughly $20.5 billion in property damage, city expenditures could exceed $132 million—factoring direct police, fire and sanitation department costs, plus indirect remediation, insurance and planning costs. Professor Kaul analyzes the 2011 Renaissance City Center and 2014 Da Vinci Apartment fires in the Los Angeles area. The former destroyed five buildings, required 100 firefighters to extinguish, and displaced 100-plus senior citizens and other residents from nearby homes. Fire consumed the Da Vinci property, damaged four neighboring buildings, required mobilization of 250 firefighters, and prompted shutdown of the California Highway 101 northbound lanes. A familiar source for this column, the Build With Strength coalition, high- lighted the cost-benefit study findings as part of its national campaign to strengthen building codes. Officials responsible for adopting codes and setting state or municipal budgets can fulfill their duties to building occupants, first responders and taxpayers by questioning any one peddling combustible materials to bear loads in bigger, taller buildings. Professor Kaul has run the numbers. EDITORIAL BY DON MARSH SEMCO PUBLISHING CORPORATE OFFICE 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B-1 Denver, Colorado 80231 U.S.A. P: +1.303.283.0640 F: +1.303.283.0641 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Peter Johnson, EDITOR Don Marsh, ASSOCIATE EDITOR Josephine Patterson, PRODUCTION MANAGER Dan Fitts, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Florman, PROJECT MANAGER Tanna Holzer, CIRCULATION Juanita Walters, SALES U.S., CANADA SALES Bill Green, Tel +1 414 212 8266 GERMANY SALES Gerd Strasmann, Tel +49 2191 93 1497 SCANDiNAVIA, UNITED KINGDOM AND WESTERN EUROPE SALES Jeff Draycott, Tel +44 (0) 786 6922148 Colm Barry, Tel +46 (0) 736 334670 JAPAN SALES Masao Ishiguro, Tel +81 (3) 3719 0775 AUSTRALIA/ASIA SALES Lanita Idrus, Tel +61 3 9006 1742 Concrete Products, Volume 71, Issue 8, (ISSN 0010-5368, USPS 128-180) is published monthly by Mining Media Inc., dba Semco Publishing, 10 Sedgwick Drive, Englewood, Colorado 80113. Periodicals postage paid at Englewood Colorado, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40845540. Canada return address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calander, are available online at SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA and Canada, 1 year $72.00, 2 year $119.00, 3 year $161.00. For subscriber services or to order single copies, write to Concrete Products, 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B1, Denver, Colorado 80231 USA; call +1.303.283.0640 ext. 207 (USA) or visit ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and ProQuest. 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