What You Should Know About Mass Timber Construction

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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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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