Letter to the Editor

The recent article “Weather-Resistant Technologies” (MHN Magazine, August 2013, page 22) contained inaccurate statements regarding wood construction and the Florida Building Code.

The recent article “Weather-Resistant Technologies” (MHN Magazine, August 2013, page 22) contained inaccurate statements regarding wood construction and the Florida Building Code. Particularly, two statements in the article quoting a Florida-based designer imply that wood-frame construction is not permitted in coastal areas. Nothing could be further from the truth. There have been no code changes approved that prohibit wood-frame construction in any Florida coastal areas. Properly designed wood-frame construction is in fact permitted in all areas of Florida, including the extreme southeast portion of the state.
The inaccurate statements create misplaced emphasis on the structural framing materials of buildings, which are least
impacted by wind—the intended focus of the article. Most Florida designers understand this point, and therefore the misstatements take away from what could have been a more effective treatment of an important topic relating to proper
construction, cladding attachment and required fenestration resistance.
The state of Florida has successfully developed responsible building codes that do not discriminate against materials that can meet the demanding performance requirements associated with the high winds of its coasts. The American Wood Council produces design standards, referenced by the Florida Building Code, that encompass all wind speeds and geographic areas in Florida. Wood design and construction, when done properly, is economical, safe, durable, and has specific advantages—such as low environmental impact, aesthetic and health benefits, and economic desirability.

Paul Coats, PE,CBO
Southeast Regional Manager
American Wood Council

Editor’s Note:
We invited Paul Coats to contribute a guest column about wood frame construction. Click here to read Wind Speeds Change, But Little Difference for Design, by Jeffrey B. Stone, Ph.D., Florida Building Commissioner. If you have a viewpoint you’d like to share, send your letter to dmosher@multi-housingnews.com