WUI Building Codes and Effects of Wood Products Industry

This isn’t a forest-planning story, but interesting. From the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB). Mentions the American Wood Council (AWC). It makes sense to reduce the use of wood in decks and siding, but using non-renewable products has an environmental impact. OTOH, there are wood products treated to be “fire-resistant, such as this one.


June 2024

SLB Study Reveals Importance of WUI Code Work in Defending Market Share

Up to 150 MM BF of siding and 770 MM BF of decking from the repair and remodeling market are at risk from Wildland-Urban Interface code changes and adoption, according to an SLB-funded study by Forest Economic Advisors. The study quantifies the importance of the AWC and the SLB’s codes and standards work defending the use of lumber in regions with wildfire hazard.


“The FEA study is timely and relevant given recent major wildfire losses and significantly increased WUI code activity as a result,” says Phil Line, Vice President of Codes & Regulations at the AWC. “The study findings that lumber siding and decking are at risk aligns with WUI code requirements that regulate exterior building materials to reduce the spread of fire.”


Wildfires have been on a steady increase in recent years. Between 2005 and 2022, more than 100,000 structures were lost to fires in areas where structures and development meet undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. More jurisdictions are considering implementing building codes to mandate wildfire-resistant construction in these areas.


FEA’s analysis shows that while the use of lumber and structural panels is not affected by WUI codes when used structurally in roofs, walls, and floor systems, lumber volumes in the repair and remodeling market, especially decks and siding, are at risk. While the higher end of the estimates is not likely to be lost over the short to medium term, the potential volumes represent between 7% and 17% of total consumption for siding and 4% and 14% for decking.


The AWC is active in the development process for WUI codes including ICC 605, the new standard for residential construction in regions with wildfire hazard. The AWC is also using full-scale fire tests of hardened wood-frame buildings to demonstrate the viability of fire-resistant wood construction versus noncombustible materials alone.

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