Sandy Springs bars wood framing in mid-rise construction

Over the objections of the wood products industry, the Sandy Springs City Council has approved a building code change to prohibit wood-framed construction for future buildings taller than three stories and larger than 100,000 square feet.

The city noted it had asked the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to review the ordinance amendment; the state said it had no comments on the proposal and that it was a local decision to adopt the change.

Supporters of the change cited safety issues, as well as matters of quality, durability and longevity of buildings in turning to steel and masonry. But the American Wood Council and Georgia Forestry Association objected, saying wood construction was more sustainable and that adoption of the ordinance could hurt the industry.

Mayor Rusty Paul said wood continues to be widely used in local construction. “I know how important wood products are for the state and region,” he said, “but this change is not going to result in long-term damage” to Georgia’s lumber industry.

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