American Wood Council responds to National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s survey

Editor’s Note: American Wood Council (AWC) president and CEO, Robert Glowinski, responds to a recent survey released by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s (NRMCA) recent survey is yet another unfortunate attempt to spread misinformation about fire safety and building materials. Notably, the survey makes two incorrect presumptions:

  1. That construction costs for wood-framed and concrete buildings are the same. According to the International Code Council’s Building Valuation Data from August 2017, the average cost to build wood frame (Type V-A from the report) is $110.87/sq. ft. Comparatively, the cost for concrete is reported as ranging from $127.05 to $158.84 (Types I-A, II-A, and III-A in report), and NRMCA used $140.00, 26 percent higher than the cost of a building with fire rated wood construction.
  2. That it takes the same amount of time to build a wood-framed building as it does concrete buildings. In fact, it does not take 15 months to construct a wood-framed building, as the survey assumes for concrete construction time.

Were the data presented correctly, wood construction would cost approximately 21 percent less. Or, instead of a $14 million construction cost, a wood-framed building would be $11.1 million. This would also reduce the insurance premium the authors calculated on the wood-framed building by that same approximate 21 percent.

Wood is the go-to material for builders in the United States for many reasons: it’s easy to build with, strong and renewable. It also has a lower carbon footprint than alternative materials because the wood continues to store carbon that was sequestered while the tree was growing.

It’s irresponsible – dangerous even — for a building material industry to spread misinformation about fire safety, actively working to mislead stakeholders who are looking for accurate information to effectively do their jobs.

Robert Glowinski
President / CEO
American Wood Council