Kendall Jane Conroy, Mariapaola Riggio, Chris Knowles


A wide variety of wood products exist for both structural and non-structural uses; however, the material is still underutilized in non-residential construction in the United States. Since architects are one of the key decision makers for material selection in the construction sector, we investigated architects’ familiarity, use, and perceptions of wood products. We contacted American Institute of Architects certified architects on the US West Coast, a prominent area for the forest product industry, to complete a questionnaire. The responding architects’ familiarity with wood products and the use of wood products showed a positive relationship. Durability, fire resistance, and strength were seen as weaknesses of wood products, a common theme from the last two decades of research on this topic. Despite any weaknesses, respondents from Washington and Oregon indicated they predict the use of wood in the construction industry will grow more in the next five years compared to steel and concrete. Lastly, the tools architects’ value most for gathering information about building materials have evolved, which means the way industry communicates with architects needs to evolve as well. It is recommended that the forest product industry improves their internet presence, making information more accessible to architects interested in specifying wood.


architect perceptions; engineered wood products; wood construction industry

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