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STRENGTH + SUSTAINABILITY
Big, fresh-sawn timbers are difficult to come by these days, and if you are lucky enough to have access to trees of that size, there are issues with drying the wood to stable equilibrium moisture contents for most projects. Salvaged timbers from old industrial mill buildings are often available, but even with those sizes, the spans and demands of modern architecture has required a revolution in wood technology to compete with steel and concrete. All Mass Timber products are now made with kiln dried material, laminating smaller pieces of wood together to produce large stress rated building components. We have been designing and building projects with Mass Timber for over a decade, including CLT projects across the country.
In sustainable, resilient, building construction, products like CLT and glulams are strong, resilient and fire resistant. In many low and mid-rise construction projects, modern wood products are the most sustainable, economical choice for the fabrication of our building systems. Using wood reduces greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon and simultaneously offsetting emissions from conventional building materials, making it a key part of the solutions palette. Notably, Drawdown.org considers wood to be a potential “game-changer” solution to the atmospheric carbon problem.
Common types of mass timber
Common types of mass timber
CLT is composed of multiple lumber boards layered crosswise at 90° angles and bonded together using structural adhesives. CLT provides new design possibilities, facilitating the construction of structures with a beautiful organic look, and vital architectural creativity. As a code compliant, mainstream construction material, CLT is light, cost effective and sustainable when used for floors and roofs, and with specialized methodologies, for lateral systems as well. Our engineers are engaged with the latest research on the seismic and fire performance of tall timber structures.
Glue Laminated Timber
Glulams are composed of layers of wooded with their fibers oriented along the same axis. Glulams are built by placing better grades of wood in locations of higher stress, thus getting best use of the resource.
Nail Laminated Timber
NLT is similar to CLT, as it is used primarily for floor or roof systems. Using mechanical fasteners instead of glue allows for low cost dimensional lumber to be nailed together to make panels with one-way span capability. Often, the NLT panels are topped with a layer of stress rated wood sheathing to limit acoustic transfer, facilitate the pouring of topping slabs, and provide air tightness for fire performance.
Parallel Strand Lumber
PSL is like glulam, but instead of using lumber as the base material, it is comprised of wood strands glued together in molds. The axial alignment of the strands embedded in a composite matrix allows for stiff performance and high capacities.
SCREWS + JOINTS
At Bensonwood, wooden joinery is our foundation. Deep understanding of wood at the cellular level is required to detail wooden joints. Bensonwood has been a leader in the timber engineering industry since 1985, when the company hired its first full-time wood engineer.
Now, we are in the midst of a global timber renaissance. Architects are pushing for taller and taller mass timber high-rises, timber towers or ply-scrapers, to solve the urbanization problem around the globe. Accordingly, new fasteners and composite materials are in a state of rapid introduction and evolution, and we are right on top of these developments.
- Screw technology has evolved dramatically. Small diameter, fully-threaded, high strength screws allow for large shear, tension and compression transfer in connections.
- Fire protection is possible with timber detailing achieving ratings up to 2 hours.
- Thermal bridging in assemblies is minimized with advanced framing and continuous insulation with interior clip connectors or exterior point connections.
- Windows and cladding can be factory installed.