Mass Timber bill introduced in the US

Ascent, a mass timber building in Milwaukee, US, currently holds the “tallest” mass timber structure in the world (Image: Thornton Tomasetti)

Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley and Idaho’s US Senator James Risch announced the introduction of the bipartisan Mass Timber Federal Buildings Act to promote the utilisation of mass timber in federal building projects and military construction.

According to the Jeff Merkley website, “The Mass Timber Federal Buildings Act would create an incentive for the use of mass timber building materials by providing a preference in federal building contracts for mass timber products”.

This will give mass timber companies the ability to compete for federal construction, renovation, or acquisition of public buildings and for military construction.

The bill creates a two-tier contracting preference for mass timber. The first tier preference applies to mass timber that is made within the U.S. and responsibly sourced from state, federal, private, and Tribal forestlands. The second tier, which is optional, applies to mass timber products that are sourced from restoration practices, fire mitigation projects, and/or underserved forest owners.

Additionally, this bill contains a reporting requirement for a whole building lifecycle assessment. The results of this assessment will help provide additional evidence of the carbon sequestration benefits of mass timber buildings.

The Mass Timber Federal Buildings Act is endorsed by the following: the American Wood Council, Sustainable Northwest, American Forest Resource Council, Forest Landowners Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Weyerhaeuser, Freres Engineered Wood, Oregon Forest Industries Council, and Oregon Mass Timber Coalition, which includes the Port of Portland, Oregon Department of Forestry, Business Oregon, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, TallWood Design Institute, and Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

Source: ITTO