2019 California Mass Timber Building Competition


Complete criteria, application details and an RFP will be released in mid-December. Please check back for updates.

GovOps will award $500,000 in grants to selected design and development teams (commercial and residential) pursuing mid-rise and high-rise mass timber buildings in two California municipalities.



Our goal is to support selected proponent(s) who can utilize existing research, available technical expertise and incremental funding to safely design and construct demonstration projects in California that showcase the application, repeatability and sustainability of innovative wood-based structural building solutions.



Proponent teams must include real estate developers and their design and construction team partners. Proposals must include the following:

  • Information demonstrating that the project is at an advanced stage of design
  • Creative, well-developed mass timber assembly solutions with broad market applicability
  • Clearly outlined building permit approval hurdles that can be overcome with effective presentation of supporting information or peer reviews
  • Clearly demonstrated close working relationship with local and state building officials
  • Narrative regarding sustainability objectives and energy use goals and how they’ll be achieved by using mass timber solutions
  • A statement that non-proprietary information about the design of the project and solutions developed with competition funds will be available and can be communicated broadly by the competition funders and managing partners

By showcasing the architectural and commercial viability of advanced wood products in construction, the California Mass Timber Building Competition is intended to support employment opportunities in rural communities, maintain the health and resiliency of California forests and advance sustainability in the built environment.


Competition Background

California is the largest consumer of engineered wood products west of the Mississippi River, yet almost none is produced in the state. By showcasing opportunities for mass timber, the Government Operations Agency seeks to demonstrate the potential for in-state production while advancing its climate change and green building objectives. Mass timber is more commonly used for construction in Europe, but the last decade has also seen a dramatic increase in use as a structural element in North America; Canada and Oregon, in particular, have experienced considerable success in making these products mainstream. As a construction material, mass timber is favored by designers for its strength, affordability, aesthetics, construction efficiency, structural performance, light carbon footprint, and ability to substitute for or work alongside concrete, steel, or masonry as a structural element. Demonstration projects are needed in California to familiarize local permitting agencies, architects, and developers with these products.

Through the California Mass Timber Building Competition, $500,000 will be awarded to proponent teams submitting public or private – commercial or residential mass timber projects in two California municipalities. Competition funds are designated to support design development, AHJ review, permitting and construction processes. The competition will complement the state-level review of upcoming changes to international building safety codes related to mass timber and Executive Order B-52-18, which directs the Department of Government Services to identify three state building projects to showcase innovative engineered wood products. A similar state program was piloted in Oregon, where a $200,000 grant was awarded for a design competition aimed at encouraging developers to utilize cross-laminated timber in construction in 2015. A similar one-time federal funding opportunity was created in 2014 when the USDA and Softwood Lumber Board held a U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition that resulted in awards to developers in Portland, Oregon, and New York. There may be opportunities to collaborate with USDA through the federal Wood Innovation Grants Program and private organizations to increase funding available in California for mass timber and tall wood buildings.