In recent years, timber has been considered as an alternative source of building material because of its sustainability and design efficiency. However, the cost competitiveness of timber buildings is still under study due to the lack of available cost information. This paper presents a comprehensive cost comparative analysis of a mass timber building mainly developed with cross-laminated timber (CLT). The actual construction cost of the project is compared with the modeled cost of the same building designed as a concrete option. The result shows that the construction cost of timber building is 6.43% higher than the modeled concrete building. The study further investigated the change orders associated with the project and found that the total cost of change orders contributed 5.62% to the final construction cost of mass timber building. The study is helpful to provide insight into the construction cost of typical mass timber buildings. It also can be used as a guide for the project owners to make decisions regarding their initial investments on a mass timber project.
Timber has been considered as a promising building material because of its structural rigidity, environmental sustainability, and renewability nature. In Europe and Australia, timber materials have been used for many different types of construction such as residential, commercial, education, and industrial. However, in the U.S., the familiarity of timber products is gaining momentum. The construction practitioners are still reluctant to consider mass timber as a mainstream building material. A limited number of case study projects make it difficult for industry personnel to evaluate the actual construction feasibility of mass timber. As a result, a significant knowledge gap has been created that hindering the progress of mass timber material in the U.S. construction industry. To help solve the problem, this study aims to identify the existing awareness level among the U.S. building constructors regarding mass timber building materials. It further determines some of the major construction-related difficulties of mass timber buildings and recommendations overcome those difficulties to increase the acceptance of this material. The study performed a semi-structured questionnaire survey to carry out statistical analysis regarding mass timber building material. Analysis of descriptive statistics suggested that the level of awareness and involvement by the U.S. construction practitioners in mass timber building is still significantly low as 55% of the participants indicated no experience on mass timber building construction projects. Qualitative data analysis suggested that lack of experience in timber construction, poor coordination among the project parties, design-related difficulties, and high cost of mass timber panels are the biggest construction-related barriers to adopt this product. To overcome the existing difficulties, the study proposed an increasing number of timber building projects and manufacturing plants, effective early collaboration among the project parties, developing skilled workers, and a nation-wide promotion by the owners and the architects. The outcomes of this study will be helpful for the industry practitioners and the owners to adopt mass timber as a mainstream building material. The study will further increase the acceptance of this material in the U.S. construction industry.