Maybe you’ve heard the term “public works projects” but you’re not exactly sure to what that phrase refers. Public works is actually quite a broad term that generally encompasses local, state, and federal infrastructure projects. Usually, these are financed and constructed by the government at some level and can be used for a variety of reasons for the benefit of the public.

Sometimes, these facilities are built for healthcare purposes, like a clinic or a hospital. Sometimes they are for recreation, like parks and public swimming facilities. Other public works buildings are governmental structures and may include free public libraries, courthouses, prisons, and more. They might also be public education facilities like schools and community colleges. These are all important structures and, of course, should be built to last for decades and beyond.

The process of completing a public works project is usually a long one, often stalled or slowed by government red tape. Furthermore, such projects demand the hiring of only the best contractors who can offer not only quality work but work at a good price as well.

Pricing usually depends on the materials used and the speed at which the projects can be completed.

Advantages of wood for public works framing

In California, wood is a preferred construction material and the reasons why are simple.

In the beautiful Golden State, wood is available in abundance. Steel, on the other hand, has unpredictable lead times depending on availability, which can lead to huge delays. Conversely, a large amount of timber comes from the forests of California and is shipped nationwide for use in buildings of all kinds. As a matter of fact, there are 33 million acres of forested lands in California and four million of those acres are classified as very highly productive lands capable of producing 165 cu ft of wood product growth per year, according to the U.S. Forestry Service. Northern California’s redwood forests are among the highest producing areas for the harvest of building lumber. That means there’s rarely a need to wait for deliveries!

Because of this vast availability, wood is a less expensive construction material than many others that can be used for framing, such as concrete or steel. Lumber’s low cost makes it very attractive for use in public works projects as it represents a substantial savings for government entities that are often pinching pennies. Studies show that using wood framing over a steel gauge frame, for example, can save as much as 15 percent. For an expensive public works project, that’s a lot of money back into the pockets of the local, state, or federal government, which can be used for additional projects.

Most government entities – be they local, state, or federal – have become more and more diligent about reducing their carbon footprint. It’s clear that buildings framed with wood are more energy efficient than those framed with other popular materials. Meeting prescribed R-value (thermal resistance) requirements is much easier with a wood frame, thanks to the material’s non-conductive nature. (There is generally no need to insulate the frame of a wood-framed building.) Energy efficiency, of course, means the environment benefits and costs to operate are lower as well.

Though some make claims that steel can be installed faster than lumber, studies show that wood framing for public works and other projects can actually be a huge time saver. Furthermore, depending on the intricacy of the design in question, it’s sometimes difficult to get the steel needed in a timely manner because it’s simply not as readily available as wood. Since time is money and saving dollars is important, many California local and state projects are moving ahead with wood framing.


If you are searching for contractors for your next public works framing project, the experts at Core Contracting would be happy to sit down with you to further discuss the advantages of wood framing and to offer further information on pricing and other specifics. To schedule a complimentary consultation or to chat about hiring Core Contracting for your project, call us at 760-683-8308 or fill out the contact form on this website. We look forward to assisting you!