This paper is intended for developers and owners seeking to purchase insurance for mass timber buildings, for design/construction teams looking to make their designs and installation processes more insurable, and for insurance industry professionals looking to alleviate their concerns about safety and performance.
For developers, owners and design/construction teams, it provides an overview of the insurance industry, including its history, what affects premiums, how risks are analyzed, and how project teams can navigate coverage for mass timber buildings. Insurance in general can seem like a mystery—what determines premium fluctuations, impacts of a strong vs. weak economy, and the varying roles of brokers, agents and underwriters. This paper will explain all of those aspects, focusing on the unique considerations of mass timber projects and steps that can be taken to make these buildings more insurable.
For insurance brokers, underwriters and others in the industry, this paper provides an introduction to mass timber, including its growing use, code recognition and common project typologies. It also covers available information on fire performance and post-fire remediation, moisture impacts on building longevity, and items to watch for when reviewing specific projects.
The development of this primer commenced shortly after the 2018 launch of the Mass Timber Institute (MTI) centered at the University of Toronto. Funding for this publication was generously provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Although numerous jurisdictions have established design guides for tall mass timber buildings, architects and engineers often do not have access to the specialized building science knowledge required to deliver well performing mass timber buildings. MTI worked collaboratively with industry, design professionals, academia, researchers and code experts to develop the scope and content of this mass timber building science primer. Although provincially funded, the broader Canadian context underlying this publication was viewed as the most appropriate means of advancing Ontario’s nascent mass timber building industry. This publication also extends beyond Canada and is based on universally applicable principles of building science and how these principles may be used anywhere in all aspects of mass timber building technology. Specifically, these guidelines were developed to guide stakeholders in selecting and implementing appropriate building science practices and protocols to ensure the acceptable life cycle performance of mass timber buildings. It is essential that each representative stakeholder, developer/owner, architect/engineer, supplier, constructor, wood erector, building official, insurer, and facility manager, understand these principles and how to apply them during the design, procurement, construction and in-service phases before embarking on a mass timber building project.
When mass timber building technology has enjoyed the same degree of penetration as steel and concrete, this primer will be long outdated and its constituent concepts will have been baked into the training and education of design professionals and all those who fabricate, construct, maintain and manage mass timber buildings.
One of the most important reasons this publication was developed was to identify gaps in building science knowledge related to mass timber buildings and hopefully to address these gaps with appropriate research, development and demonstration programs. The mass timber building industry in Canada is still a collection of seedlings that continue to grow and as such they deserve the stewardship of the best available building science knowledge to sustain them until such time as they become a forest that can fend for itself.
This manual is helpful for experts and novices alike. Whether you’re new to mass timber or an early adopter you’ll benefit from its comprehensive summary of the most up to date resources on topics from mass timber products and applications to tall wood construction and sustainability.
The manual’s content includes WoodWorks technical papers, Think Wood continuing education articles, case studies, expert Q&As, technical guides and other helpful tools. Click through to view each individual resource or download the master resource folder for all files in one handy location. For your convenience, this book will be updated annually as mass timber product development and the market are quickly evolving.
Due to the efficiency, sustainability, and advances in firefighting technologies, the allowable height for wood buildings was increased from 4 to 6 storeys in 2015 and will be further increased to 12 storeys in the 2020 edition of the National Building Code of Canada, as a result of the advent and application of mass timber products. To match the development in the industry and the increasing need in the market for highly skilled timber engineers, structural timber design curricula at the university level must evolve to train the next generation of practitioners. At most Canadian universities, structural timber design courses are mainly provided in civil engineering departments. In this study, 31 accredited civil engineering programs in Canada were reviewed for structural wood design content at undergraduate and graduate levels based on two surveys conducted in 2018 and 2020. In the 2018 survey, the percentage of structural timber design content was estimated and compared with other engineering materials (e.g., steel, concrete, and masonry), and a similar survey was repeated in 2020 to determine if any significant changes had occurred. In early 2021, two complementary questionnaires were sent to the instructors of timber-related courses across the country to collect quantitative information, including enrollment statistics, percentage dedicated to timber design in combined material courses, and potential topics deemed critical to support the design of modern timber structures. Based on the responses provided, and also on the availability of resources and the research ongoing, the content for five advanced-level courses is proposed to address the needs of the timber design community. The findings presented in this paper will assist the timber industry, government agencies, and educational institutions in effecting potential changes to university curricula to educate the next generation of timber design professionals who will possess the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the challenges in designing modern mass timber structures.
The U.S. Mass Timber Construction Manual was developed to give contractors and installers a framework for the planning, procurement, and management of mass timber projects, and to provide a bridge from their experience with other systems. Mass timber is unique in that it draws installation techniques from other construction types, so people with concrete, precast, tilt-up, and structural steel experience can readily adapt to these materials. However, understanding how mass timber differs from other building systems is key to cost effectiveness.
The manual was produced with primary funding from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Rural Communities, in collaboration with WoodWorks’ mass timber manufacturing partners in the U.S. and Canada. While intended primarily for GCs and installers, it is a useful reference for all members of a mass timber project team and anyone interested in the construction of mass timber buildings.
Tall wood buildings have been at the foreground of innovative building practice in urban contexts for a number of years. From London to Stockholm, from Vancouver to Melbourne timber buildings of up to 20 storeys have been built, are under construction or being considered. This dynamic trend was enabled by developments in the material itself, prefabrication and more flexibility in fire regulations. The low CO2 footprint of wood - often regionally sourced - is another strong argument in its favour. This publication explains the typical construction types such as panel systems, frame and hybrid systems. An international selection of 13 case studies is documented in detail with many specially prepared construction drawings, demonstrating the range of the technology.
Buildings constructed for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) often have to meet blast-resistance requirements to mitigate the potential effects of terrorism. Terrorism is also a growing threat for civilian buildings (e.g., iconic structures, corporate headquarters, etc.), necessitating more building designers to incorporate blast resistance into their designs. The emergence of mass timber construction, and cross-laminated timber (CLT) in particular, offers a sustainable building material alternative that can also meet blast-resistance criteria in many circumstances.
The 2nd Mass Timber Research Needs Assessment was held on November 13–14, 2018, at the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL). The workshop was co-sponsored by FPL, WoodWorks, and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The purpose of the workshop was to gather a diverse group of people with expertise in mass timber, in particular cross-laminated timber, to discuss and prioritize research needed to move the mass timber industry forward in North America. The workshop was attended by more than 100 design professionals, researchers, manufacturers, industry leaders, and government employees. The meeting resulted in a list of 117 research needs. Following the meeting, the list of research needs was prioritized through an online survey. This report presents the prioritized research needs of the mass timber industry in North America. Also included in the appendixes are the formal minutes of the workshop, a list of participants, and the original scribe notes.