Proceedings of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering Annual Conference 2021
Mass timber has quickly risen in global popularity as a sustainable building material that shortens building processes, provides a high level of prefabrication and modularity, enhances aesthetic quality, and lessens environmental impact. Most notably, cross-laminated timber’s structure of orthogonal layers of laminate allows panels to span great distances and provide significant structure, allowing much taller wood buildings than traditional wood structures. Furthermore, the high level of prefabrication allows a deeply integrated design process, resulting in less waste and a streamlined assembly process. This paper describes the variety of mass timber products and examines their use in mass timber structures, highlighting connections and building practices. It also outlines the benefits of mass timber, with an emphasis on the positive environmental impact in comparison with concrete and steel, including factors such as its low embodied carbon, reusability, and waste reduction. Advice for maximizing positive environmental impact is given and justification is provided for a shift towards mass timber as a primary building material for tall structures, especially in regions where timber is plentiful.