Washington State legislators changed building codes in new legislation, a move expected to increase in the use of mass timber products in commercial and residential construction.

The Washington Forest Protection Association says the move will boost business for rural communities and forest landowners and will lead to an increase in the use of mass timber products in commercial and residential construction.

Mass timber products like cross-laminated timber (CLT) have been on the upswing in Washington in recent years, with Vaagen Brothers Lumber of Colville. Wash., and Katerra, a California company both announcing CLT factories in Eastern Washington. The material is increasingly being used in buildings around the state, according to the Washington Forest Products Association.

For Katerra, founded in 2015, CLT is an element in a broader strategy for resetting the building and construction industry. The company announced $865 million Series D funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund to fund its new plant in Washington, and it has already accumulated more than $1.3 billion in bookings for new construction, spanning the multi-family, student and senior housing, and hospitality sectors. It already has a fully operational manufacturing facility in Phoenix.

“The $12 trillion construction industry is extremely fragmented with tens of thousands of companies using minimal levels of technology. While labor-productivity growth has skyrocketed in the overall global economy, the construction industry has averaged only 1% annual productivity growth over the past two decades,” said Jeffrey Housenbold, managing partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers. New investors in Katerra’s latest the round include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC, Tavistock Group, Navitas Capital, DivcoWest, and others.

Read more on this from Woodworking Network at https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/washington-state-wil-revise-building-codes-okay-mass-timber.