How To Avoid Risks In Multi-Family Wood Construction

By: Pillar Technologies

Building multi-family condominiums and apartments with wood is a fast-growing trend. Depending on who you talk to, there are different reasons for this movement. Let’s look further into what’s fueling the growth, the potential risks of using wood, and effective risk mitigation.

Advantages of Building With Wood

  1. Cost-Effective — compared to concrete, lumber is much less expensive, which makes it appealing to developers.
  2. Sustainable — wood grows naturally in most areas of the country, so not only is it sustainable, there’s generally no long-distance transporting, making it good for the environment.
  3. Safe — all building codes require a certain level of safety regardless of the materials (wood, steel, concrete, etc.). The advantage of wood in construction is that it can meet and exceed safety for seismic, winds, and fire.
  4. Easy to Use — most construction workers know how to build using wood. Plus, many sections can be prefabricated off-site, making it safer for workers.
  5. Faster Construction — compared to heavy beam steel construction, wood is much easier to work with, which makes building quicker.

The Rise of Multi-Family

This increased need for multi-family housing has developers looking at both high-rise condominiums and apartments instead of single-family homes.

Tall Wood Building Trends Is Growing

The Dangers of Wood Construction

Wood is less expensive to build with, which makes it appealing to commercial builders, but on the flip side of the cost savings are the dangers and potential hazards of this building material which include:

  • Fire Risks — over the last several years, there have been massive fires like AvalonBay’s 235-unit development in New Jersey, which was under construction for 18 months.
  • Moisture Problems — too much humidity, broken pipes, or even a small leak over a weekend can wreck a project. Besides fire, water and moisture pose significant problems with building with wood.
  • Mold Growth — fast-growing mold can take a project that’s on schedule and throw it completely off and turn a profitable job into an unprofitable one.

Advantages of Concrete Over Wood Construction

Detecting Problems Before They Occur

  1. Temperature
  2. Humidity
  3. Carbon monoxide
  4. VOCs
  5. Particulates
  6. Noise
  7. Light
  8. Pressure

Increased Safety For Multi-Family Wood Construction