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Weekly Roundup: Mass timber’s positive outlook, US Steel’s $1B investment, & more

Weekly Roundup: Mass timber’s positive outlook, US Steel’s $1B investment, & more

May 21, 2019

Supplier Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights relevant to construction suppliers.

Outlook for mass timber industry looking good in the US

Data from technical support group Woodworks show that mass timber has been increasingly gaining traction in the American construction industry. ProSales

  • A reported number of 545 projects in residential, commercial, and institutional sectors have been or will be constructed out of mass timber, according to data gathered by Woodworks.
  • Mass timber is a popular choice in other countries, including Canada, which has numerous high-rise wooden buildings. Only recently has it started picking up steam in the American construction industry, with states like Oregon and Washington taking the measures to issue permits allowing the construction of wooden high-rise structures.
  • The 2021 International Building Code is set to include 14 mass timber code changes that were approved by the International Code Council.

US Steel to invest $1B in Pennsylvania operations and facilities

US Steel Corp. announced its plans for a major facilities upgrade worth $1B in their Western Pennsylvania operations. Yahoo Finance

  • An endless casting and rolling facility will be constructed at US Steel’s Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock and a cogeneration building will be built at the Clairton Plant in Clairton.
  • US Steel is looking to optimize its operations without increasing its overall steelmaking capacity. The goal is to reduce the time and cost of the company’s steelmaking operations.
  • The cogeneration facility will include advanced emission control systems that will convert generated gas into electricity that will power the company’s steelmaking operations.
  • US Steel stated that the new facilities will be designed to conserve resources and improve air quality by incorporating the most advanced emission control technologies.

Sales of softwood lumber slowly improving

Softwood lumber prices have been low in recent months but a slight improvement could be observed in May. Madison’s Lumber Reporter

  • A fair amount of lumber is being traded and bought but the overall demand is still not looking favorable. Compared to its price in April, softwood lumber has recently been priced at -$16 or -5%.
  • Lumber suppliers already have enough lumber on hand but buyers are not looking to buy a significant bulk that could improve lumber’s market performance. Reports say that plywood prices have hit rock bottom.
  • Sawmill closures are becoming more frequent. One of the recent closures was of Tolko Industries, which permanently closed its sawmill operations in Quesnel, BC and reduced its production in Kelowna, BC.