Market Overview

The U.S. is BC’s largest export market for lumber and value-added products. The U.S. remains the leading consumer of BC forest products, including lumber and mass timber, as well as a full range of value-added products, such as doors, windows, joinery and finishings, and furniture

With the market moving toward multi-family living, there is growing potential to expand the use of wood into multi-family/multi-storey construction, as well as into non-residential applications (commercial, institutional, recreational and educational).

Opportunities for the BC value-added sector also exist in resort homes, log and timber frame structures, prefabricated housing, cabinetry, shakes and shingles, millwork and finishing, and landscaping and outdoor living.

Photo: The Canyons, Portland, Oregon | Credit: Marcus Kauffman, Oregon Department of Forestry

Key Stats

#

0

global market for BC forest products

0

%
of BC’s value-added products are destined for the U.S. market

0

%
of BC forest product exports go to the U.S. (by value)

Why the United States?

  • The largest market for BC lumber and value-added products
  • Robust repair and remodelling sector
  • Shared interest in advancing wood construction technologies
Photo: TV home-renovation hosts Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan in front of the Real Cedar bunkie, Haliburton, Ontario | Credit: Western Red Cedar Lumber Association

Market Priorities

  • Promote wood use in multi-family and non-residential sectors
  • Target mass timber and value-added product opportunities, including engineered and remanufactured wood, millwork, cabinets, furniture, prefab, log home and timber-frame housing
  • Provide technical advice and education to help architects, builders and developers capitalize on advanced wood technologies and systems, including mass timber and wood-concrete-steel hybrid solutions.
Photo: 1430 Q Street in Sacramento, California | Credit: Greg Folkins

Strategic Approach

FII’s efforts in the U.S. are focused on supporting industry partner-led programming to expand the use of wood in priority segments. A combination of promotion, technical support and education programs have built capacity and interest with developers, contractors and building and design professionals. Value-added programs target the growing repair and remodelling sector as well as the mid-rise, hybrid and mass timber construction markets.

Photo: The 2020 International Builders Show (IBS) | Credit: BC Wood

Featured Projects

Meeting the need—building larger and taller with wood

Despite a short-lived COVID-period desire for more remote living in detached housing, the longer-term trend toward densification has returned. One significant impact of this trend is the increasing demand for multi-family buildings—including larger and taller structures—outside of downtown urban cores. Although wood has become the material of choice for multi-family construction up to six storeys in B.C., designers in many U.S. jurisdictions are still unaware of what is now possible with lumber and mass timber in 4-6+ storey buildings. This knowledge gap underscores the need for WoodWorks’ continued education and outreach across the U.S. to help people understand where wood is allowed by code, the benefits of wood construction, and to assist with the design and constructability requirements of taller and larger wood projects using mass timber and hybrid building systems.
The move toward larger light-frame buildings is one of the most notable trends coming out of WoodWorks’ project portfolio in 2021. For example, in Q2 2021, WoodWorks added 15 new four- and five-storey light-frame projects larger than 300,000 square feet—nearly double its historical average of eight, and the highest number recorded in a single quarter so far. These figures point to an exciting nationwide trend of developers and design teams turning to WoodWorks for help in increasing their expertise with large light-frame projects. Throughout the year, WoodWorks continued its program to provide education and technical support related to the design, engineering and construction of commercial and multi-family wood buildings in the U.S.

*Based on wood volume of direct and indirect influenced projects

In 2021/22, WoodWorks directly influenced and converted 456 projects that went to construction and indirectly influenced an additional 1,732 projects— an increase of 12 percent over 2020/21. Together, these projects represent 90.5 million square feet of wood construction and 1,278 million board feet. The total value of wood influenced, including direct and indirect project support, was $1.22 billion. Approximately two-thirds of the projects reported this year were multi-family

Photo: INTRO, Cleveland, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors

Mass timber grows up

Innovative mass timber products and building technologies are taking wood beyond traditional building types and opening markets previously out of reach for wood solutions. Changes in the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) have enabled the construction of wood buildings up to 18 storeys, opening a potential new market of over 100 million square feet. This makes mass timber construction the largest growth opportunity for the use of softwood lumber in the U.S.
Several tall mass timber projects currently under construction or nearing completion are being supported and tracked by WoodWorks.
Among these are:

  • INTRO, a unique nine-storey, 512,000 square
    foot residential building in Cleveland that will
    showcase an exposed CLT floor panel system
    designed by Fast + Epp of Vancouver;
  • 80M in Washington D.C., a signature
    renovation project featuring three new
    floors of mass timber construction over an
    existing seven-storey building;
  • Ascent in Milwaukee, a 25-storey apartment
    tower that includes 19 storeys of CLT and
    glulam over a six-storey concrete podium
    and, at 284 feet, will be the largest mass
    timber structure in the world; and
  • Lennox, a seven-storey mass timber Passive
    House project in Boston.

Together, this brings the total number of tall mass timber projects in design or under construction that WoodWorks is supporting to 154, which is almost all of the tall U.S. mass timber projects underway.

As design teams have become more comfortable with mass timber and larger wood buildings, the average area of mass timber projects supported by WoodWorks has nearly doubled over the past five years, resulting in a higher average volume of wood products consumed per project.

Photo: Ascent, New Land Enterprises, Korb + Associates Architects

Mass timber construction manual bridges the gap

WoodWorks’ U.S. Mass Timber Construction Manual was developed to support general contractors and installers in increasing their knowledge and capacity to undertake mass timber building construction. The manual fills an important information gap and addresses a recurring issue in the market: while developers and architects have long been keen to pursue the potential of mass timber materials, a lack of experienced general contractors and installers has proven a market barrier.
The manual supports both aspects of WoodWorks’ Construction Management Program—management-level training for professionals who estimate, procure and manage new commercial and multi-family projects, and installer training provided through partnerships with carpenter unions and merit-based training centres. WoodWorks also partners with universities to provide hands-on mass timber experience and resources to the next generation of GC project managers. The U.S. Mass Timber Construction Manual is proving a seminal resource across all of these training elements.

Social media boosts Real Cedar

With YouTube now the second-largest search engine after Google, DIY hosts on the platform have become important influencers offering an expansive social media presence to reach engaged customers.

The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) has worked with several of these influencers to expand knowledge and awareness of western red cedar applications; most recently with Texas-based designer and builder, April Wilkerson. In 2021/22, the association developed four DIY projects with the host, the most recent of which, How to Build a Modern Outdoor Sofa, received over 100,000 views in its first month alone.

Real Cedar’s online impact:

  • YouTube: 213,753,329 views and 1.46 million subscribers
  • Instagram: 271,000+ followers
  • Pinterest: 2.7 million+ monthly views
  • Facebook: 224,621 followers, 99,321 likes
Photo: Courtesy of April Wilkerson

CEU yields 1,000+ enrollments in first month

Launched December 2021, the WRCLA’s most recent Real Cedar Continuing Education Unit (CEU), An Overview of North American Forestry and Implications for Wood Product Selection, received 1,194 enrollees in one month. The course, which is run through the learning center for the American Institute of Architects, covers the tenets of sustainable forest management, the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable wood products and the importance of softwood species like western red cedar to the building industry.
Interest in the recent CEU offering underscores the importance of sustainability in the Real Cedar messaging strategy.
To date, almost 30,000 architects have participated in Real Cedar courses.

BC Wood training builds capacity

BC Wood’s Export Readiness Training Program (ERTP) is a live, interactive webinar-based program focused on growing the exporting and international sales capabilities of B.C. wood product companies. Delivered in nine modules, the ERTP covers topics such as export readiness, researching markets, international finance, building an export plan and finding the right partners. With over 95 percent of B.C.’s value-added exports going south of the border, the program is a crucial component of BC Wood’s strategy to help B.C. value-added manufacturers enter the U.S. market.
An important feature of the ERTP webinars/workshops delivered during the past year were industry guest speakers who provided real-life, sector-specific examples and insights on the topics covered. A number of specialist consultants were also engaged to assist in the delivery of the training modules. Incorporating industry expertise into the program continues to ensure that the webinar and workshop content provides maximum value to participants.