Justifications for timber dorm don’t hold up

Letter by Chris Bolton
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
November 2, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Chris Bolton

I was shocked to read in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Oct. 23 article about a University of Arkansas dorm to be built of timber. According to the article, this timber framing system will cost $1.3 million more than alternative methods of steel/concrete or concrete framing of the structure. The article then proceeded to justify this decision with more than one-half page of hog-wash trying to explain their decision. …Most of the buildings above three stories in height, their structural frames were either concrete framed or combination of steel framed/concrete. This five-story building, being a “dorm” with such high degree of occupancy (students), would worry me about the safety issue in the event of a tragedy like a fire. I do not understand the reason behind this decision, as to not only why one would spend more money, but “perhaps” add a safety risk due to this type of design.

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