Wood is well-suited to off-site prefabrication, offering cost, quality, and scheduling advantages. Assembling wood buildings as a prefabricated “kit of parts” has the added benefit of being a low-carbon alternative. Light frame and prefab are both well-suited to meet demands from owners, designers, and tenants for better buildings.
Long valued as a building material for its performance and cost advantages, today’s building owners are choosing wood to satisfy these and their value propositions, from environmental sustainability and resilience to creating distinctive buildings that appeal to the next generation of employees and apartment dwellers, all while meeting tight budgets and construction timelines.
Platform is the most common form of light-frame residential construction, where individual floors are framed separately. Balloon and semi-balloon are popular in industrial and retail applications, with vertical structural members extending from the foundation to the rafters, typically two stories. Often used for multistory projects due to its fire-management abilities, semi-balloon framing has floors suspended from the double top plates of the walls below them, with the walls stacked.
This helps project teams economically respond to the growing demand for high-density, mixed-use buildings featuring office or multifamily residential space atop ground-level retail and dining. Updates in the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) allow for multistory podiums, allowing project teams to accommodate ground-floor anchors such as grocery and other retail.
Budget is always a problem for a developer so wood was a cheaper route for us.”
Wood meets and often surpasses prescriptive building code requirements for fire, seismic performance, and wind resistance. Light frame structural systems must employ fire-resistance rated building assemblies to prevent, for a certain period of time, the spread of fire, smoke, and heat from one unit to another and to ensure that the structural integrity of the building is maintained. Fire resistance-rated walls and floors are also required for exit corridors and stairways to ensure that people can safely leave the building in the event of a fire.