Nathan Sciarra – New Wood-Frame Codes Allow for More Flexibility

Colorado Real Estate Journal

October 18, 2015

Nathan Sciarra, AIA
Studio director, KTGY Architecture + Planning, Denver

From the construction of tenements in the 1800s to the high-rise steel and concrete luxury residential towers built today, for-rent housing has come a long way. But one constant is the use of wood to build rental housing. Over the years, architects and engineers have pushed the limits of what wood can do, and the adoption of the 2015 International Building Code allows this to continue.

Not everyone is happy though. There has been some recent backlash about the number of four- and five-story wood-frame apartments impacting Denver’s downtown. With continued demand for housing, escalating construction prices and the ability to achieve even higher densities under the recent IBC, we don’t anticipate the number of new wood-frame buildings added to the Denver landscape will diminish.

The most significant benefit the new IBC offers wood-frame construction is the ability to design a podium building based on the overall building height. Podium buildings will no longer be restricted to only one level of podium structure below the podium deck.