Concrete Products

JUL 2019

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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Page 5 of 103 4 • July 2019 The bill of goods that purveyors of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels and companion, engineered wood assemblies pitch to building design and construction interests con- tinues to baffle. A campaign to legitimize CLT as viable for mid- to high-rise building is taking shape substantively and symbolically: Recent International Code Council hearings saw mass timber proponents look beyond an 85-ft. height threshold for local building code-sanctioned application of their products. Wood product cheerleaders, meanwhile, skirt matters like occupant safety but stress environmental or building practice milestones when presenting a mid- or high-rise structure for which mass timber is the primary load-bearing material. CLT and glue-laminated timber building practice could receive a substan- tive and symbolic boost with an eastern Toronto waterfront development plan unveiled last month by Sidewalk Labs LLC, an urban environment-driven business under Google parent company Alphabet Inc. CLT and glulam are the structural components on deck for low- to high-rise buildings in Sidewalk Toronto, whose Master Innovations and Development Plan tracks millions in residential and commercial space square footage through 2040. "Across nearly every dimension of urban life—mobility, sustainability, public realm, buildings, and digital innovation—the plan breaks new ground," includ- ing "the first neighborhood built entirely of mass timber," notes Sidewalk Labs, which characterizes the material as "easier to manufacture and better for the environment than concrete or steel, yet just as strong and fire-resistant." With an adjacent water source on the order of Lake Ontario, why not pile combustible building materials on a sprawling urban development? Sidewalk Labs would help underwrite a mill sourcing Canadian timber to fabricate "a library of building parts. Such a factory would catalyze a new Ontar- io-based sustainable timber industry and create roughly 2,500 jobs over 20 years." The firm would participate with local developers and agencies in a 20-year Sidewalk Toronto build out, to include a new Canadian headquarters for Google. Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff cites a $1.3 billion commitment to building investment and project support functions. In a late-June blog post announcing the 1,500-page "Toronto Tomorrow: A New Approach for Inclusive Growth" plan, he describes "a project that generates an extraordinary number of jobs and eco- nomic benefits for Torontonians, while achieving new levels of environmental sustainability and establishing a new model for urban innovation." "Toronto Tomorrow" samples discredited claims about the carbon merits of wood versus competing building products, and suggests the factory aspect of mass timber components will translate to cost savings and a higher volume of affordable housing units in Sidewalk Toronto. A rosy outlook with mass timber production viewed in economic, project deliverable and sustainability terms begs: Did Sidewalk Labs officials confer with Concrete Ontario, the Canadian Precast/ Prestressed Concrete Institute or Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Associ- ation on how a) Cast-in-place, precast and block construction practitioners are responding to developer requirements driving shorter project schedules; and, b) Ontario's cement and aggregate producers—longtime contributors to the local and regional economies—anchor a sustainable concrete material or product value chain whose environmental metrics pace or surpass those of mass timber? Sidewalk Labs has an impressive plan for a cutting edge urban environment. A few Google searches on noncombustible building materials and plausible carbon accounting for concrete, steel and wood products will serve Sidewalk Toronto residents and tenants well, especially if the algorithms yield results ranking safety, quality and integrity higher than timber industry job creation. 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 & CIRCULATION Juanita Walters, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Florman, PROJECT MANAGER Tanna Holzer, SALES U.S., CANADA SALES Bill Green, Tel +1 414 212 8266 GERMANY SALES Gerd Strasmann, Tel +49202 28146483 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 72, Issue 7, (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. 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