With environmental sustainability becoming the focal point of national discourse, and extreme weather intensifying and occurring more frequently, our buildings need to be sustainable and resilient to mitigate damage to both the built environment and surrounding ecosystem. Researchers are continually developing and refining techniques to increase resilience of the built environment to account for both natural and man-made hazards, occupancy levels, location, and importance in both new and existing buildings. The International Building Code (IBC) sets a regulatory standard for resilient design and is updated every few years to account for the most up-to-date innovations and technology.
This month, the American Wood Council (AWC), alongside the International Code Council (ICC), is celebrating Building Safety Month, with the theme, “No Code. No Confidence.” This year’s Building Safety Month will recognize the importance of building and fire codes and the building and fire officials that aid in the development of the code. AWC celebrates the important role of the IBC to the health and safety of building occupants and the surrounding environment.
Throughout the month of May, AWC will be sharing resources and expert commentary on, as well as promoting through social media, three weekly themes:
- Preparing for Disasters: Build Strong, Build Smart
- Ensuring a Safer Future Through Training and Education
- Innovations in Building Safety
Adopting the most up-to-date building codes, including the IBC, is essential to ensure safe construction. AWC’s consensus-developed design standards provide guidance on how to design wood structures to account for extreme weather and natural disasters. They include procedures for designing to withstand high wind and seismic events, and these AWC standards are referenced for proper design by the building codes.
AWC staff experts develop state-of-the-art engineering data, technology, and standards for wood products and systems to assure their safe and efficient design. Our experts work to train and educate building and fire officials and designers on how use this information effectively. AWC offers online webinars, self-study, and live training courses to industry professionals on the most recent developments in timber technology and how to use our publications to design code-compliant wood buildings. The most popular live and self-study webinars in 2018 detailed the significant changes related to wood construction in the 2018 IBC and International Residential Code (IRC).
AWC’s publications aren’t just for building and fire officials and designers. The ever-popular Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide provides builders and homeowners with guidance on how to appropriately design and build residential decks in accordance with the IRC.
Further, as opportunities emerge with mass timber, resulting from the approval of new ICC building code provisions allowing construction of these buildings up to 18 stories, AWC is supporting the new 2021 IBC code provisions by educating code enforcement officials, members of the fire service, and engineers so that they can better understand them. These code adoptions were due, in part, to the resilience of mass timber under fire conditions as verified by years of research. Mass timber elements are so large that, when exposed to fire, an insulating char layer forms, helping the timber maintain its structural integrity.
AWC recognizes the importance of modern building codes and what they mean to the built environment. In both large-scale commercial projects and smaller-scale residential construction, following current building codes is essential for protecting building occupants and the surrounding areas. That’s why AWC celebrates all those who work hard to develop new building technologies and construction methods, and the trusted code development process to provide “Great Codes. Great Confidence.”