The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) hosted the inaugural Mass Timber Research Workshop this week in cooperation with Woodworks – Wood Products Council. During the two-day event, more than 120 national and international attendees, including 26 presenters, gathered to learn about cross laminated timber (CLT) and how its design and use can further green building efforts while also aiding in forest restoration activities. Tom Williamson of Timber Engineering, LLC, facilitated the workshop, and the Softwood Lumber Board generously provided support.
Experts discussed past and current research on CLT and how the material can be used in conjunction with underutilized and high-quality wood to construct a variety of multi-story buildings. While CLT has been used in Europe for nearly 20 years, it is only recently catching on in North America. Multi-story buildings using CLT are popping up around the United States and Canada, and in fact, the first large-scale commercial installation of CLT in the United States (using CLT manufactured in North America) was built right here in Madison, Wis., for Promega Corporation. Construction is slated to begin shortly on what will be the tallest wood building in North America, a 12-story residential structure in Quebec City, Quebec.
In addition to CLT construction and design, other topics discussed at the workshop included information on fire safety, seismic conditions, architectural design, and the Forest Service budget outlook for 2016 and beyond. According to FPL Assistant Director for Wood Products Research Mike Ritter, the Forest Service firefighting budget is expected to continue to increase in the years ahead, making CLTs and other value-added wood products a critical component in maintaining the health of our Nation’s forests.
Contributed by Steve Schmieding and Francesca Yracheta