The commercial construction industry is always looking for new materials and new building techniques. There’s an article from Detroit news where mass timber, which has been used for many many years is starting to be more prevalent.
First of all, have you used this in your construction industry or if you’re a client have you called for this In your building specs? Mass timber is a process where you take basically laminated lumber and use it for structural components, not just sheathing or trimming. And by structure, we’re talking about two or three-story commercial buildings. You can see this photo here where beams and columns are made out of structural lumber rather than concrete or steel. And it’s not just a sawn post or a beam like a timber frame building. These are actually laminated beams and posts which are architecturally sound and they’re certified for commercial buildings.
Now some of the advantage of this that’s been promoted has to do with the environmental aspects. Supposedly it has to do with carbon footprint and some other things. The cost actually is a little bit less for the materials but it may be more for the construction labor. What are your thoughts on using mass timber or laminated timber for major structural components in a commercial building? We’re not talking about an architectural design in a cathedral ceiling on a residential project, or maybe an exposed beam in a deck we’re talking about major commercial structures. Now this example comes from a university that is considered commercial but it’s growing in popularity to where more and more buildings are using this. Tell us what your thoughts are in the comments or if you’ve used this, what have been the challenges or advantages of a mass timber project?