Mass timber is a family of Solid Laminate Timber Systems (SLTS) formed from smaller sections of timber connected by glue, mechanical fixings, moisture movement or a combination of methods. These products, which include Structural Composite Lumber, GluLam, Cross Lam, Nail Lam and Dowel Lam (or Brettstapel), have over the past two decades seen an extraordinary upsurge in use internationally. This global phenomenon has been driven by a greater emphasis on the sustainable use of renewable resources and by significant technological developments in the manufacture of SLTS. This research paper considers the merits of each of these products, their manufacturing processes and the corresponding quality assurance requirements necessary for successful project delivery. The paper describes the advantages and barriers to the use of the mass timber and provides an overview of the various aspects to be considered during design for offsite and modular construction. The work presented also provides case studies of how these products have been researched and utilised into live projects in the UK utilising local resource resulting in the formation of new supply chain arrangements. The work further explains the advantages of the respective systems for the given application including information on species selection, connection systems employed and the necessary onsite and offsite management approaches deployed.
Mass timber construction in Australia and New Zealand uses three main materials—laminated veneer lumber, glue laminated timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT). This article focuses on the use of mass timber in nonresidential construction—the use in single-family homes and apartments is not considered. In Australia and New Zealand, mass timber building technology has moved from being technologically possible to being a feasible alternative to reinforced concrete and steel construction. It has not taken over a large market share in either market and, as such, has not been a disruptive technology. The major changes in this market in the past 5-10 yr in Australia and New Zealand have been the development of new industrial capacity in CLT and the acquisition of computer controlled machining equipment to facilitate prefabrication of wooden building components. The development of new codes and standards and design guides is underway. The drivers of future growth in market share are expected to include more clients putting a higher weight on the various environmental benefits of building in wood, reduction in the real and perceived professional risk for builders and architects specifying mass timber construction, and fuller participation in the supply chain for timber buildings (from design to construction) by timber building specialists. Government policies to encourage the use of timber may also be helpful. Engineers and architects will continue to learn—through experience—how to optimize building construction methods to take advantage of the specific features and qualities of timber as a construction method.
The Tallwood House project was intended to advance the design and
manufacture of mass timber products in Canada and demonstrate
that mass timber is a viable structural option for mid-rise and
high-rise buildings. The use of mass timber and engineered wood
products in high-rise construction is becoming more common
around the world leading to a growing interest in the performance of
mass timber over time.
This report describes the performance of the mass timber structure
in Tallwood House, between September 2017 and August 2019,
based on measurements of the moisture content in the prefabricated
CLT floor panels and the displacement of the vertical structural
system. It is intended to initiate discussions on the performance of
mass timber structure elements during building occupancy and lead
to further research that can explore the influential factors.
Mass timber products such as cross-laminated timber have increased in popularity in the past decades. Their relative novelty, however, means that there is little actual experience of what happens to the products at end of life. Despite promoting the use of natural capital, biotic materials are not often covered in discussions on construction in the circular economy. Equally, it is unclear what model is most appropriate for construction to incorporate circular thinking. Different actions for circularity are reviewed against sustainable construction ambitions, and a simple model with basic circular actions is proposed as a means to review mass timber construction. Suggestions for how to adapt mass timber systems to include circular methods are presented, including design for combined manufacture and assembly and disassembly, the identification of future markets, improving the durability of timber buildings and acknowledging the wider system value of forestry.
This Wood Innovation Grant studies four separate cross laminated timber column/beam and topping slab combinations, to demonstrate the most suitable parameters for a commercial office building in a high seismic area. The study takes direct aim at a perception that mass timber limits a commercial building’s ability to have column-free spaces as well as floor-to-floor heights that preserve utility/MEP flexibility. The case study examines the eighty-five foot, new 4C Building Type. Engrained construction habits can too easily table innovations. We would like to give the industry more to work with - and feel secure about - when specifying materials in built projects.
3161 Elliott LLC will develop a 4C type office building on Seattle’s downtown waterfront. The site is controlled by Greg Smith, of Urban Visions. Our architect-engineer-contractor team leads in the mass timber space: atelierjones, DCI Engineers, McKinstry Engineering, Swinerton and includes design partners from the ICC Tall Wood Building Committee, including Sam Francis, formerly with AWC, Carl Baldassarra, Fire Protection Engineer from Wiss, Jenny, Elstner, as well as consultants from Woodworks, including Bill Parsons and Ethan Martin. All are united in solving whatever potential limitations may be encountered while designing for a new building type, with a new material. Our collaboration will make us stronger.
In 2020, Urban Mass Timber Floor Heights Study-3161 Elliott LLC design is on-track to complete City of Seattle Design Review Board Process and Building Permit Drawings. Wood Innovation Grant Funds will be used for systems design, structural and fire protection engineering, mass timber costing, and code analysis. The project will submit Permit drawings, move into final costing, and Mass Timber pricing in mid-2021. Following the receipt of a City of Seattle Building Permit, and successful leasing, construction could start the following year. The foundational work of determining the critical clear spans and floor-to-floor heights will lay the economic success of the new ICC Building Type 4C for years to come.
The Urban Mass Timber Floor Heights Study-3161 Elliott LLC will be shared with the Mass Timber community and public. As a WoodWorks Case Study, it will be shared through events, from webinars, national presentations, to publications through ThinkWood/USDA/USFS channels to showcase how Mass Timber can create typical midrise commercial office buildings with large, natural open spans of beautiful local timber and new experiences for commercial office tenants in US communities.
Project contact is Karl Englund at Washington State University
Cross laminated timber (CLT) has energized the wood industry, not only throughout the US but also across the globe. Potential for lower construction costs and a sustainable building material has provided proponents of CLTs the fuel for their growth. However, to obtain lower feedstock costs and provide a truly sustainable building product the use of small diameter timber (SDT) and other lower quality woods is imperative, but not yet realized. The out-of-plane (OOP) defects such as twist, cup and bow commonly found in SDTs, make processing CLTs prohibitive due to the press load requirements that are needed to “flatten” these defects out and create intimate contact at the glue line. Due to this issue, many CLT manufacturers utilize high grade lumber, while SDT and other low value woods are culled out and not used. Our proposal will characterize the OOP defects commonly found in SDT Douglas-fir (DF) and ponderosa pine (PP) from the Inland Northwest, will develop a tool to calculate anticipated forces to compress out the OOP defects and evaluate the durability performance of a full-scale CLT panel that includes commonly rejected lumber from SDT due to presence of OOP defects. The tool developed in this project will provide the CLT industry with the know-how to determine the press loads required to make a panel from SDT feedstocks and how to lower these accumulated loads through reducing or changing the laminate cross-sectional dimensions. Results of this study will promote increased utilization of SDT lumber, currently rejected, for CLT production and will contribute to healthy forests and rural economic development.
Fire safety regulations impose very strict requirements on building design, especially for buildings built with combustible materials. It is believed that it is possible to improve the management of these regulations with a better integration of fire protection aspects in the building information modeling (BIM) approach. A new BIM-based domain is emerging, the automated code checking, with its growing number of dedicated approaches. However, only very few of these works have been dedicated to managing the compliance to fire safety regulations in timber buildings. In this paper, the applicability to fire safety in the Canadian context is studied by constituting and executing a complete method from the regulations text through code-checking construction to result analysis. A design science approach is used to propose a code-checking method with a detailed analysis of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) in order to obtain the required information. The method starts by retrieving information from the regulation text, leading to a compliance check of an architectural building model. Then, the method is tested on a set of fire safety regulations and validated on a building model from a real project. The selected fire safety rules set a solid basis for further development of checking rules for the field of fire safety. This study shows that the main challenges for rule checking are the modeling standards and the elements’ required levels of detail. The implementation of the method was successful for geometrical as well as non-geometrical requirements, although further work is needed for more advanced geometrical studies, such as sprinkler or fire dampers positioning.
This paper presents an experimental evaluation of the fire resistance of glued-in rod timber joints using epoxy resin, with and without modification. A heat-resistant modified resin was designed by adding inorganic additives into the epoxy resin, aiming to improve the heat resistance. Joints that were made using the modified epoxy resin at room temperature showed a bearing capacity comparable to those with commercial epoxy resin. Twenty-one joint specimens with the modified epoxy resin and six with a commercial epoxy resin were tested in a fire furnace to evaluate the fire resistance. The main failure mode was the pull-out of the rod, which is typical in fire tests of this type of joints. As to the effects of the test parameters, this study considered the effects of adhesive types, sectional sizes, stress levels, and fireproof coatings. The test results showed that the fire resistance period of a joint can be evidently improved by modifying the resin and using the fireproof coating, as the improvements reached 73% and 35%, respectively, compared with the joint specimens with commercial epoxy resin. It was also found that, for all specimens, the fire resistance period decreased with an increase in the stress level and increased with an increase in the sectional sizes.
Project contact is Luca Sorelli at Université Laval
This project aims to develop a new precast wood / concrete floor system that can push the span limits in multi-storey wood buildings. The multidisciplinary methodology includes a finite element analysis technique using the “DDuctileTCS” software developed at CIRCERB, shear tests on connections, bending tests of the composite beam and an extension of technical standards for the design of composite structures. This project will develop solutions to optimize the composite action and vibration of long-span precast and mixed floors. The methodology consists of: (i) analysis of systems and optimization of shapes by numerical finite element techniques; (ii) connection shear tests; (iii) proof of concept on a prototype beam in the laboratory.
Project contact is Luca Sorelli at Université Laval
This project aims to develop a new prefabricated wood / concrete floor system that is innovative and competitive in multi-storey wood buildings. The design of the floor will be carried out through a multidisciplinary approach that considers the composite action of the precast floor, the integration of sound insulation, vibrations, the weight of the structure, construction time and environmental impact. Among other things, the construction method and the use of ultra high performance green composite concretes with CLT slabs or GLULAM beams will be considered. The methodology includes digital analysis tools and a new method for the design of mixed structures as well as the life cycle tool. The laboratory proof of concept will assess the performance of the optimized floor system and compare it to existing floors.
Project contact is Jean Proulx at Université Laval
The main objective of the research project is to assess the behavior of bonded rod assemblies under dynamic stresses. These wood / wood connections are used in solid wood frames and allow, among other things, to transfer the moment in beam-column connections. Their ability to dissipate energy under seismic loading will be evaluated by cyclic laboratory tests by varying the sections and configurations of the assemblies. The whole structure must be able to dissipate energy under dynamic loadings (earthquakes, wind) and the demand for ductility in the assemblies is considerable in rigid frame structures. This project will make it possible to characterize the behavior of timber / timber assemblies in glued rods under cyclic loads. The results obtained can be used by the partner for the seismic design of solid wood structures using these connections. Optimization and a better understanding of the dynamic behavior of these assemblies will also increase the safety of solid wood structures, and promote their acceptance in this developing market.
Project contact is Jean Proulx at Université Laval
The main objective of the research project is to evaluate the behavior of a column, beam and bracing connection under dynamic stresses. It will therefore be necessary to obtain in the laboratory the properties used for the optimization and the better understanding of a braced frame resistant to lateral forces. The assembly will transfer the lateral loads applied to the structure, to the foundations of a building. The capacity of the frame to dissipate energy under seismic loading will be evaluated by cyclic tests. Any structure must be able to dissipate energy under dynamic loads (earthquakes, wind) and the demand for ductility in assemblies is considerable in braced frame structures. This project will characterize the behavior of beam, column and bracing connections. The results obtained can be used by the partner for the seismic design of solid wood structures using this type of braced frame. Optimization and a better understanding of the dynamic behavior of these assemblies will also increase the safety of solid wood structures, and promote their acceptance in this developing market.
Project contact is Sylvain Ménard at Université Laval
In order to ensure the acoustic performance of timber constructions, the research group of the Sustainable Building Institute at Napier University has established a series of proven solutions. These, called rugged construction details, are based on a series of designs that are most likely and proven for the performance they will bring into the building. The advantage of this approach is to provide designers with solutions that have been the subject of technical validations, thus allowing them to free themselves from the burden of offering the builder an acoustic solution. The tools to develop this concept will involve an understanding of the propagation of impact and airborne noise in the main building design typologies in CLT, to validate the main solutions through laboratory tests and to propose proven solutions. Many tests performed at NRC could have been avoided. Performing tests is expensive, and it would be interesting to make the link between the test results and the modeling results. Having a solution guide is great, but having a model that would predict the behavior of a design would be even better.
Project contact is Christian Dagenais at Université Laval
The structural elements of a building must provide fire resistance in order to prevent collapse and to provide an escape route for occupants. The basic philosophy is that components that support elements with a degree of fire resistance must also offer the same degree of resistance. It is also assumed that the connections between these elements provide at least the same degree as the supported elements. Traditionally, heavy timber construction used ingenious construction principles and assemblies made of cast iron. With the advent of innovative fasteners (eg self-tapping screws), the principles of assembly have changed greatly and are now similar to a metal frame. So, several studies have been carried out in recent years in order to increase knowledge of the fire behavior of these assemblies (Audebert et al., 2012, Dhima 1999, Frangi et al. 2009, Peng 2010, Ohene 2014, Ali et al. 2014 , Moss et al. 2008). Although a significant amount of information is available in the literature, it often indicates short-term flammability resistance (± 30 min), which is largely insufficient for buildings having to provide a degree of fire resistance of at least 2 hours. The objective is to carry out a literature review in order to fully understand the factors influencing the fire performance of assemblies in wood construction. A model of thermomechanical behavior and a simplified analytical approach would have to be developed.
Project contact is Pierre Blanchet at Université Laval
The work of Lessard et al. (2017) demonstrated that the building envelope was an important system in the building in terms of environmental impact, but only took into account the external components of the building envelope. This project will perform a life cycle analysis of the main building envelopes for a typical building under commercial construction. By relying on our design partners, the main systems and associated materials will be analyzed in a cradle-to-grave approach. It is desirable to identify hot spots and to indicate avenues for product development in order to reduce the envelope's environmental footprint. Among the scenarios to be considered: light framework, CLT, curtain walls and all their possible variants, but also commonly used non-biobased systems. The comparison between the systems studied will be based on an equivalent energy efficiency performance.
Project contact is Sylvain Ménard at Université Laval
Designers of large buildings generally want floor systems with large spans (9 m). These floors are often sized by the requirement of vibratory performance and, correlatively, deflection. The composite wood-concrete floors allow large spans with reduced static height. They are a promising alternative to simple concrete slabs. Objective 1 - Determine the evolution of the natural frequency of the CLT-concrete composite floor as a function of the stiffness of the connector, and correlate the experimental results with the model by the finite element method. Objective 2 - Parametric study of the vibration performance of the CLT-concrete composite floor. The impact of several parameters on the dynamic performance of the floor will be determined, especially the characteristics of the constituent materials, connector and the creep of the floor. Objective 3 - Build the metamodels for the study of multi-objective optimization optimization of a wood-concrete composite floor solution in relation to a regional problem in Aquitaine.
Project contact is Sylvain Ménard at Université Laval
Assemblies by glued rods allow architectural freedom. They are in fact invisible since they are found in the mass of the structural element. Some studies have started to document this type of assembly by considering static single-rod traction tests and single-rod creep tests (Verdet, 2016). In order to continue this effort to specify the limits of this type of assembly, it is proposed to consider the lateral forces for single-rod assemblies but especially multi-rods. The objective of this project will therefore be to document the capacity of these assemblies to take up lateral loads.
As part of Fast + Epp’s ongoing work to push the boundaries of Tall Wood construction in seismic zones, this testing program aims to develop a new dissipative system for use in timber braced frames or other timber lateral systems where the connections provide energy dissipation. The connections are designed to dissipate energy through ductile steel plates to provide robust and well understood dissipative systems. In collaboration with the Advanced Research in Timber Systems’ team at the University of Alberta, Fast + Epp is working on a four-phase testing program for cyclic and monotonic testing of various configurations of perforated plate connections. Small scale tests have been completed on perforated plates, and entire connections will be examined in advance of a full-scale timber brace frame test to evaluate the overall behaviour. One phase of physical testing was completed in January 2020, with the next 3 phases intended to be completed in 2021. Initial data analysis of the first phase testing has resulted in tuning of the system in advance of later phase testing. Results on the first two or three phases of testing are anticipated to be completed in 2020 with initial publication of the results in early 2021.
The objective of this research is to characterize of load-deformation responses of tested connections(stiffness, strength, ductility, energy dissipation, failure modes) by testing large STS connections with steel side plates under monotonic and cyclic loads.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an innovative wood panel composite that has been attracting growing interest worldwide. Apart from its economic benefits, CLT takes full advantage of both the tensile strength parallel to the wood grain and its compressive strength perpendicular to the grain, which enhances the load bearing capacity of the composite. However, traditional CLT panels are made with glue, which can expire and lose effectiveness over time, compromising the CLT panel mechanical strength. To mitigate such shortcomings of conventional CLT panels, we pioneer herein nail-cross-laminated timber (NCLT) panels with more reliable connection system. This study investigates the flexural performance of NCLT panels made with different types of nails and explores the effects of key design parameters including the nail incidence angle, nail type, total number of nails, and number of layers. Results show that NCLT panels have better flexural performance than traditional CLT panels. The failure mode of NCLT panels depends on the nail angle, nail type, and quantity of nails. A modified formula for predicting the flexural bearing capacity of NCLT panels was proposed and proven accurate. The findings could blaze the trail for potential applications of NCLT panels as a sustainable and resilient construction composite for lightweight structures.