Construction Practices in Nonresidential and Multifamily Buildings in the U.S.

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Nonresidential and multifamily construction are the next largest opportunities for wood construction, whether it’s light frame or mass timber. This report details where wood is used, the main drivers for wood construction, and which buildings are most likely to be built in wood.

Based on analysis of 2000 construction plans, this report presents market shares and construction area for steel, concrete and wood across U.S. regions and building categories. The report also includes a nationwide survey of architects to identify the role, importance, and future of wood solutions in design practices.

This report is essential for anyone trying to understand trends in major building practices across all structural building materials.

Topics Covered

  • This new study reviewed over 2,000 sets of building plans to identify what the structural framing materials used were for 6 building types:
    • Multifamily (Apartments/Condominiums)
    • Hotels and Motels
    • Amusement, Social and Recreational Buildings
    • Offices and Banks
    • Education (Schools, Libraries and Labs)
    • Retail (Stores and Restaurants)
  • The focus is on buildings 1-12 stories tall. Results are also reviewed by building story ranges 1-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12.
  • The analysis also looks at the US by four major regions: Northeast, South, Midwest and West.
  • A major focus of the study is the evolving market for wood, specifically mass timber. While currently holding a small share of the market it is increasingly accepted as an up-and-coming framing choice for taller and taller buildings. The study reviews the current market results across the above frame types and delves into what the wood frame materials are today and where wood is penetrating the US market.
  • In addition to understanding construction practices, the study provides an investigation of the place, role and future of wood solutions in modern design practices. A nationwide, comprehensive survey of practicing architects involved in the selection of structural materials was conducted.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Summary
    • Current developments in wood construction
  • Methods
    • Takeoff Analysis
    • Survey of Architects
  • Construction Practices

    For each individual building type, and in total, sections are present for:

    • Building area and characteristics
    • Main structural material by floor area
    • Main structural material by region
    • Main structural material by story class
  • Wood Use: Perspective from the Design Community
    • Influential Factors in the Selection of Building Materials
    • Current and Anticipated Use of Wood as the Main Structural Material
    • Project Outcomes which would Encourage the Use of Wood as a Structural Material
    • Challenges of Designing Wood Buildings
    • Level of Effectiveness in Reducing Buildings Carbon Footprint
    • Availability of Information, Education and Designed Tools for Designing Wood Buildings
  • Appendix: Wood Products Definitions
    • Wood products for mass timber construction
    • Wood building systems