Hybrid Mass Timber High-Rises Now Nearly as Cost-Effective as Concrete, Study Says

Building a hybrid mass timber high-rise is now nearly as cost-effective as building a comparable concrete tower, according to a new study co-authored by PCL Construction, DCI Engineers, and Weber Thompson.

The study examines the decreasing costs of mass timber construction and its potential to expand residential space in densely populated urban regions.

Intermediate high-rise towers (those 180 feet or shorter) are often under-built in urban areas due to an unfortunate intersection of construction cost and code requirements.

The study found that when factoring in cost-savings from the reduced schedules associated with using prefabricated mass timber, combined with an improved material supply chain, an 18-story residential high-rise built using a hybrid of mass timber and concrete could cost as low as $74.45 per square foot to build. While slightly more expensive than the cost of $71.09 per square foot of a concrete building of the same size, it’s a competitive price that may influence developers to think twice about the materials used in their next project, especially to differentiate their product in a competitive leasing market.

This shift is particularly relevant as the push for low-carbon construction is increasingly legislated via new carbon taxes and mandates, the authors said.

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