WoodWorks for non-residential constructionOn March 13th, the three principals of Ascent Architecture & Interiors made the trek to Portland to attend a full-day seminar presented by American Institute of Architects (AIA) and WoodWorks Wood Products Council.  Our goals were to not only earn some of the twelve health, safety, welfare professional learning units required each year, but to truly learn something new, to be inspired, and to connect with other design professionals and wood-products representatives.

We found the fair well organized and listen to some very informative classes and speakers. At the waiting area of our conference rooms, a gorgeous display of hand-made hardwood frame bicycles by Renovo Bicycles of Portland, Oregon, taunted two of us.  For cyclists such as Stacey and Rachel, having these sleek, expensive bikes displayed all day and not getting to ride them up and down the Convention Center concourse verged on torture!

Highlights of the 22 different sessions were numerous.  Rachel attended a very informative class on Wood Fasteners (ooh, fasteners….) No, really, it was interesting!  Many reference manuals are now online for download, including the 2012 NDS (National Design Specification for Wood Construction) and the APA Wood Frame Construction Manual. Instructor Brice Hereford went on to explain differences in wood species, wet/dry conditions, loading directions and screw strengths. He also discussed uses of case-hardened screws, through-bolts, and structural wood screws, which most manufacturers (including RSS, Simpson, USP and FastenMaster) all have ICC evaluated fasteners.

Stacey attended a session on Cross-Laminated Timber Construction, a new method of using a sustainable material in an innovative way.  Cross-laminated timber has the ability to use smaller pieces of wood to create strong, stable structural panels.  Other advantages include quiet, low-impact on-site construction.

Seth focused on sessions related to building envelope design and evaluation, including the use and specification of preservative treated wood, evaluation of in-service wood performance, and recommendations on insulating wood structures to exceed current energy codes. He also picked up a free copy of the AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute) handbook, which will be a much-needed reference guide when specifying any finish carpentry materials.

Other great classes including learning about the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, the world’s largest wood structure; RISA software for structural wood engineering and design; Insulation Technologies and Installation Specifications for Better Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings; a technical examination of wood construction; energy-efficient building envelope design and building science; life-cycle analysis study of wood as sustainable building product; and a review of the recent changes to the International Building Code’s non-structural provisions for wood design.

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