How CLT and Mass Timber Technologies May Revolutionize Skyscapes

Over the last decade — in outlets reaching from construction industry journals to the Boston Globe and the Economist; from CNN and Fast Company to Popular Mechanics; to Nautilus and TED talks — we’ve been hearing increasingly about mass timber and related phenomena: “CLT,” big wood, tall wood, tall timber, timber towers, ply-rises, plyscrapers, ply in the sky, super-ply, Brobdingnagian boards, and all manner of engineered arboreal futures.

So what’s the huge deal about mass timber? What on earth’s so good about wood? Is CLT the new CBD (for builders, that is)? Can ply really get that high? Is this just a big buncha buzz, or is something more solid behind it?

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Getting Big Payback from Brick or Stone Veneer Remodeling Projects

Homeowners seeking the best bang for their buck on home improvement projects typically turn to swanky kitchen or bath upgrades involving high-end appliances or granite countertops. But the latest cost-versus-value report by Remodeling magazine finds that the addition of masonry veneer siding delivers a much higher return on investment.
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FRCM – An Alternative to Shotcrete for Structural Repair and Strengthening of Concrete

This post examines several advantages of fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM) applications over traditional shotcrete methods in the repair and reinforcement of concrete construction.
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What You Should Know About Cross-Laminated Timber Construction

Residences and low-rise commercial structures have been built using dimensional wood framing since the mid-19th century.

The first skyscraper ever built was erected with steel framing, however. The Home Insurance Building in Chicago was completed in 1885 and was 10 stories tall.
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Cross-Laminated Timber Takes Wood Construction to Greater Heights Than Ever Before

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is changing the way urban builders scrape the sky.

From London to Tokyo, the race is on to build the tallest wood-framed skyscraper in the world. Prized for its workability, low cost and visual aesthetics, wood was widely used by urban builders until the early 20th century, when fires triggered by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake leveled the largely stick-built city. Until recently, the other knock on wood was a vertical one, in that stick-framed buildings generally top out at five stories, owing to the accumulation of dead and live loads in excess of the allowable loads for lumber.
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It’s Alive! Self-Healing Concrete, Materials Science and Other Evolutionary Developments

Legions of catatonic organisms lie asleep in the matrix, waiting only for momentary exposure to water and oxygen in order to awaken — whereupon the organisms immediately germinate, grow and fulfill their destiny, sealing the cracks in the fabric of their universe before falling dormant once again.
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Engineering with Kids: Popsicle Sticks, Spaghetti and Marshmallows

Back in March, a few colleagues and I were discussing how to prepare kids for college. With that subject in mind, I wanted to do something fun and meaningful for the kids in our community. So I organized some workshops in my back yard focused on engineering with kids who might be interested in exploring structural engineering — and summer was the perfect time to do it! We had a group of 12 kids, aged 7–11, who signed up and were all set to explore some engineering concepts. It was a learning experience for me, as well!
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BIM Inception: The Construction Language of the Future

Robots. Drones. 3D printing. Self-driving bulldozers. If residential construction is ripe for so-called disruption (and sweeping advancements already made by commercial and industrial builders says it is), then most technologists, forward-thinkers and first adopters agree we’ll need a native, digital, data-based language to help run it all. Continue reading “BIM Inception: The Construction Language of the Future”

Girls Inc. Visits Simpson Strong-Tie Lab

On July 6, the Simpson Strong-Tie home office in Pleasanton, California, welcomed girls from Girls, Inc. of Alameda County. This visit provided an opportunity for the girls to hear from and interact with the many women leaders of Simpson Strong-Tie.

The construction and manufacturing industries continue to be male-dominated fields. The visit provided the girls the opportunity to meet several of our women leaders and also learn about other career paths that might not be automatically associated with the manufacturing industry. Our leaders — including Jacinta Pister, senior vice president, Worldwide Manufacturing; Jennifer Lutz, vice president, Human Resources; and Shelby Short, director, Global Quality Systems — shared stories of their personal success and professional growth at Simpson Strong-Tie.
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Little Locales Using Big Data to Prevent Bridge Failures

Situated on the northwest coast of Oregon, the resort town of Seaside — population 6,685 — seems an unlikely place for advanced seismic and tsunami simulations. But just offshore Seaside’s charming 1920s boardwalk and its broad, sandy beaches famed for razor clamming, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is slowly sliding underneath the behemoth North American plate.
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