Although not yet seen as common practice, building with cross laminated timber (CLT) is gaining momentum in North America. Behind the scenes of the widely publicized project initiatives such as the Wood Innovation Design Centre Building in Canada and the recent U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, substantial research, engineering, and development has been completed or is underway to enable the adoption of this innovative building system. This paper presents a brief overview of the current status of CLT building development in North America, highlighting some recent U.S. and Canadian research efforts related to CLT system performance, and identifies future CLT research directions based on the needs of the North American market. The majority of the research summarized herein is from a recent CLT research workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, organized by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. The opportunity and need for coordination in CLT research and development among the global timber engineering community are also highlighted in the conclusions of this paper.
The need to lower the embodied carbon impact of the built environment and sequester carbon over the life of buildings has spurred the growth of mass timber building construction, leading to the introduction of new building types (Types IV-A, B, and C) in the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). The achievement of sustainability goals has been hindered by the perceived first cost assessment of mass timber systems. Optimizing cost is an urgent prerequisite to embodied carbon reduction. Due to a high level of prefabrication and reduction in field labor, the mass timber material volume constitutes a larger portion of total project cost when compared to buildings with traditional materials. In this study, the dollar cost, carbon emitted, and carbon sequestered of mass timber beam–column gravity system solutions with different design configurations was studied. Design parameters studied in this sensitivity analysis included viable building types, column grid dimension, and building height. A scenario study was conducted to estimate the economic viability of tall wood buildings with respect to land costs. It is concluded that, while Type III building designations are the most economical for lower building heights, the newly introduced Type IV subcategories remain competitive for taller structures while providing a potentially significant embodied carbon benefit.
Tall building (higher than 8 stories) construction using Cross laminated timber (CLT) is a relatively new trend for urban developments around the world. In the U.S., there is great interest in utilizing the potential of this new construction material. By analyzing a ten-story condominium building model constructed using building energy simulation program EnergyPlus, the energy efficiency of this emerging building type was evaluated and compared with a light metal frame building system (currently viable construction type for this height based on the U.S. building code). A sensitivity analysis was also conducted to study the impact of different weather and internal load conditions on building energy performances. It was concluded that efficiency of CLT envelope is high for heating energy savings, but its energy performance efficiency can be greatly affected by other factors including weather, internal loading, and HVAC control.
Compared to light-frame wood shear walls, it is relatively difficult for panelized CLT shear walls to achieve similar levels of lateral deflection without paying special attention to design details, i.e., connections. A design lacking ductility or energy dissipating mechanism will result in high acceleration amplifications and excessive global overturning demands for multistory buildings, and even more so for tall wood buildings. Although a number of studies have been conducted on CLT shear walls and building assemblies since the 1990s, the wood design community’s understanding of the seismic behavior of panelized CLT systems is still in the learning phase, hence the impetus for this article and the tall CLT building workshop, which will be introduced herein. For example, there has been a recent trend in engineering to improve resiliency, which seeks to design a building system such that it can be restored to normal functionality sooner after an earthquake than previously possible, i.e., it is a resilient system. While various resilient lateral system concepts have been explored for concrete and steel construction, this concept has not yet been realized for multistory CLT systems. This forum article presents a review of past research developments on CLT as a lateral force-resisting system, the current trend toward design and construction of tall buildings with CLT worldwide, and attempts to summarize the societal needs and challenges in developing resilient CLT construction in regions of high seismicity in the United States.
Through collaboration with the NHERI TallWood Project funded by the National Science Foundation,an alternative non-prestressed cross-laminated timber rocking wall system with replaceable fuse components was developed by Katerra engineers and tested at the outdoor shake table at the University of California San Diego. The objective of this specific design and testing is to prove a concept for a new high performance seismic lateral system that is easy to modularize and install, and can be rapidly repaired after major earthquakes. This paper presents the results from a total of thirteen tests conducted on the proposed system, including several repairs after major shaking. The test results showed that the structural system was damage-free under service level ground motions, and experienced repairable damage at designated connection locations for design basis earthquakes and maximum considered earthquakes. Overall the system was able to limit residual drift to an acceptable level and provide a high load displacement capacity for the building system.
This paper presents selected results of connector testing and wall testing which were part of a Forest Products Lab-funded project undertaken at Colorado State University in an effort to determine seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber (CLT) shear walls in the United States. Archetype development, which is required as part of the process, is also discussed. Connector tests were performed on generic angle brackets which were tested under shear and uplift and performed as expected with consistent nail withdrawal observed. Quasi-static cyclic tests were conducted on CLT shear walls to systematically investigate the effects of various parameters. Boundary constraints and gravity loading were both found to have a beneficial effect on the wall performance, i.e. higher strength and deformation capacity. Specific gravity also had a significant effect on wall behaviour while CLT thickness was less influential. Higher aspect ratio panels (4:1) demonstrated lower stiffness and substantially larger deformation capacity compared to moderate aspect ratio panels (2:1). However, based on the test results there is likely a lower bound of 2:1 for aspect ratio where it ceases to have any beneficial effect on wall behaviour. This is likely due to the transition from the dominant rocking behaviour to sliding behaviour.
The 11th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering
July 21-24, 2015, Victoria, BC, Canada
This paper presents recent progress in the development of seismic performance factors for cross-laminated timber (CLT) systems in the United States. A brief overview of some of other systematic studies conducted in Europe, North America, and Japan is also provided. The FEMA P695 methodology is briefly described and selected results from connector testing and CLT wall testing are discussed. Shear and uplift tests were performed on generic angle brackets to quantify their behavior. CLT walls with these connectors were then tested investigate the influence of various parameters on wall component performance. The influential factors considered include boundary condition, gravity loading, CLT grade, panel thickness, and panel aspect ratio (height:length). Results indicate that boundary condition and gravity loading have beneficial effect on strength and stiffness of the CLT panels. CLT grade is an important parameter while CLT panel thickness only has a minimal influence on wall behavior. Higher aspect ratio (4:1) panels demonstrated less stiffness but considerably more ductility than the panels with lower aspect ratio (2:1). This paper also provides details on some ongoing efforts including additional tests planned, index buildings from which P-695 archetypes will be extracted, and nonlinear modeling for this project.
New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Conference
April 27-29, 2017, Wellington, New Zealand
With global urbanization trends, the demands for tall residential and mixeduse buildings in the range of 8~20 stories are increasing. One new structural system in this height range are tall wood buildings which have been built in select locations around the world using a relatively new heavy timber structural material known as cross laminated timber (CLT). With its relatively light weight, there is consensus amongst the global wood seismic research and practitioner community that tall wood buildings have a substantial potential to become a key solution to building future seismically resilient cities. This paper introduces the NHERI Tallwood Project recentely funded by the U.S. National Science Fundation to develop and validate a seismic design methodology for tall wood buildings that incorporates high-performance structural and nonstructural systems and can quantitatively account for building resilience. This will be accomplished through a series of research tasks planned over a 4-year period. These tasks will include mechanistic modeling of tall wood buildings with several variants of post-tensioned rocking CLT wall systems, fragility modeling of structural and non-structural building components that affect resilience, fullscale biaxial testing of building sub-assembly systems, development of a resilience-based seismic design (RBSD) methodology, and finally a series of full-scale shaking table tests of a 10-story CLT building specimen to validate the proposed design. The project will deliver a new tall building type capable of transforming the urban building landscape by addressing urbanization demand while enhancing resilience and sustainability.
A collaborative project between the Forest Products Laboratory and Colorado State University to develop seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber is underway. The project requires application of the FEMA P-695 methodology, which is purposely robust and detailed and requires that the project team follow specific procedures. Failure to develop these seismic performance factors would severely limit the acceptance of the CLT building systems in the United States, underscoring the need for application of the FEMA P-695. The FEMA P-695 document, “Quantification of Building Seismic Performance Factors,” was published in 2009 and defines a number of steps, all of which will be taken to develop the seismic performance factors for seismic design of CLT buildings.
The objectives of this research are (1) to develop seismic performance factors for CLT subject to a peer review panel process that includes an independent peer review committee report and (2) to have the resulting seismic performance factors recognized in ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.
In order to cope with the speed of urbanization around the world especially in areas of high seismicity, researchers and engineers have always been investigating cost-effective building systems with high seismic performance. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a wood based material that is suitable for tall building construction. However, the current CLT system is prone to connection damage in strong earthquakes due to the vast majority of the system ductility resides in connections. One solution is the concept of inter-story isolation to develop a potentially resilient system that can remain damage free during strong earthquakes. A generalized displacement-based design method was developed to design an inter-story isolation system for a tall wood building based on articulated damage expectations. A12-story CLT building with one isolation layer was used to illustrate the proposed design method. The building performance was validated through numerical simulation under different seismic hazard levels.