This study explores the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in a 10-story residential building as an alternative building method to concrete and steel construction. The study is not meant to be exhaustive, rather a preliminary investigation to test the economic viability of utilizing this new material to increase density, walkability and sustainable responsiveness in our built environment.
Based on international precedent, CLT is an applicable material for low-rise, as well as mid-rise to high-rise construction and has a lighter environmental footprint than traditional concrete and steel construction systems. Cross-laminated timber is a large format solid wood panel building system originating from central Europe. As a construction system it is similar to precast concrete in which large prefabricated panels are lifted by crane and installed using either a balloon frame or platform frame system. The advantages to using CLT are many, but the main benefits include: shorter construction times, fewer skilled laborers, better tolerances and quality, safer work environment, utilization of regional, sustainable materials, and reduction of carbon footprint of buildings. As a new, unproven material in the Pacific Northwest, this study investigates the cost competitiveness of CLT versus traditional materials for “low high-rise” buildings.