The Growing Efficiency of Wood in Buildings

Robert J. Hoyle


Over the years significant improvements have been made in the efficiency of wood used in buildings as a result of technological advances by wood technologists and engineers. Some of our achievements are spelled out here because of the concerns expressed by some people prominent in associations and government that such advances are unattainable. Greater understanding of the strength properties of structural sizes of wood members has led to stress-rated lumber grades that allow buildings to be designed for efficiency and for decisions to be made as to size and quality (price) of construction lumber. Building and product design improvements, such as trussed rafters and use of plywood rather than one-inch sheathing boards, have reduced the amount of wood needed to perform given tasks. Wood technology can make future significant improvements in performance of timber in homes, stores, warehouses, stadiums, bridges, and schools. Technological innovations in traditional building industries have been and shall increasingly become available. We need wood technologists with the conviction and perseverence necessary to ensure adoption of these available and developing technological advances through well-thought-out and executed extension activities.


Lumber grades;stress-rated lumber;building design;efficiency;application of technology;applied research;research and development

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