Builders Embrace the Rebirth of Wood Through Mass Timber
In 2015, international developer Lendlease built a four-story Candlewood Suites hotel at Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army post near Huntsville, Alabama. From the outside, the finished structure looks like dozens of other lodgings LendLease has constructed over the years. But instead of conventional steel stud framing, this hotel uses cross-laminated timber (CLT), a type of mass timber that initially gained popularity in Europe several decades ago.
The result: Lendlease cut construction time by 37% using 44% fewer person hours. And the builder achieved that with just an 11-person crew, which included three experienced carpenters and eight unemployed veterans trained on-site as laborers.
Speed and ease of construction are just two of the many benefits that building with CLT provides. Mass timber also offers superior structural integrity, sustainability and aesthetic beauty. And with recent building code changes, mass timber structures can reach heights never allowed for wood buildings.
But what, exactly, is mass timber?