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New Law Library Report Examines Mass Timber Construction in Selected Countries

The following is a guest post by Michael Chalupovitsch, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress covering Canada and Caribbean jurisdictions.

A recently published Law Library of Congress report, Mass Timber Construction, examines the use of mass timber, also known as cross-laminated timber, in the construction of buildings in ten countries. According to Natural Resources Canada, mass timber is “a transformative technology made by affixing or gluing together many pieces of wood veneers, flakes or dimension lumber to form larger, stronger pieces such as panels and beams.”

The report consists of a comparative summary followed by individual country surveys for ten countries. The countries surveyed are Australia, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Title page of the Law Library’s report “Mass Timber Construction”

The surveys revealed different approaches taken when regulating the use of wood in general and mass timber in particular in the construction of buildings. Some countries such as Austria, Japan, and Switzerland have legislation promoting the use of wood in new construction. The Canadian province of British Columbia has a law promoting the use of wood in government buildings, while the federal parliament is considering similar legislation. Australia, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom all have policies recognizing the use of wood as part of clean growth plans. Italy, on the other hand, discourages the use of wood in tall buildings due to seismic conditions. With respect to the use of mass timber in tall building construction, most countries’ requirements are contained in local or national building codes, while European Union (EU) member-states must additionally comply with EU legislative directives.

Country surveys contain multiple references and links to legal and non-legal sources of information in English as well as in relevant vernacular languages on the subjects discussed.

The report is part of the Legal Reports (Publications of the Law Library of Congress) collection which contains to date more than 3,000 reports, current and historical, authored by the Law Library of Congress specialists and analysts on a variety of legal topics.

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