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Notes on the Geography of Oklahoma: Core Norman, 2017: Photo 50

world pictures Oklahoma: Core Norman, 2017

Would you guess that such a building has a wood frame? Here's your proof. Apparently, framing is at least 10-20 percent cheaper with wood than steel, but until walls and sprinklers are added the buildings are vulnerable to fire. Boston's fire commissioner has been quoted as saying, memorably, "You have nothing but a vertical lumber yard with very limited protection." How high can you go with wood? International codes permit five stories atop a concrete base. How high is this building? Guess.

Multi-story wood-framed buildings are now almost 10 times as common as steel-framed ones, except in super-expensive markets like New York and San Francisco. A builder says, "Quite simply, to build buildings where the rent is affordable to a market-rate renter and most certainly an affordable-housing renter you almost need to make it out of wood frame." (Jon Kamp and Luara Kusisto in WSJ, 17 Aug 17)

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