Page 14 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2019
P. 14

 The Kendeda Building during construction. In
the foreground are panels of nail- laminated timber (NLT). There were a total of 489 panels made from salvaged two-by-fours for
the building.
“It’s awesome,” said Jimmy Mitchell, lead project manager for Skanska construction. Standing in the atrium, Mitchell said he hoped the Kendeda Building would give other firms ideas about what they can accomplish with the mass timber framing style. “Designers, struc- tural engineers and owners can look at this and say, ‘For my next commercial application, I want to consider wood structure.’”
structures in North America have put it to use. Whether it’s applied to a single-family lodge or a giant airport terminal, Mitchell believes mass timber holds unparalleled advantages over steel or concrete. Wood is a natural and renewable carbon sink, and harvesting it leaves a far lower environmental impact than mining. Compared to conventional materials, mass timber can be cheaper to build with and easier to install, which speeds up construction times and drives down labor costs. When it’s applied to new buildings in growing cities, it opens up new revenue streams from forests in more rural communities. Given all of these benefits, Mitchell says he’s not surprised by the new embrace of mass timber
by his peers.
Light, Strong
and Resilient
As a category, mass timber describes engineered products that have been made by laminating or compressing multiple layers of wood into single, solid panels. Glulam and NLT have many advocates, though firms also seek out dowel-laminated timber (DLT). Other options include cross-laminated timber (CLT), in which layers of dimension lumber are secured together at right angles, and structural composite lumber (SCL), manufactured from blocks of dried and graded veneers, strands or flakes.
The refining process is fairly simple, but mass timber products are light, strong and resilient, with a commanding load-bearing capacity and a superior resistance to fire and heat. And while these properties would be familiar to anyone who’s seen a tall pine sway in the wind without snapping — or watched a campfire log take hours to burn — mass timber is a uniquely 21st-century technique. The International Code Council (ICC) recently settled on changes that will permit it for the design of taller buildings, and only a few
Advocacy Is
Changing Minds
Until recently, access to mass timber was fairly limited, especially in the Southeast, where only one facility manufactures it. The Long Hall, in Whitefish, Montana, is the first commercial building project in the United States constructed with CLT and was only com- pleted in 2011. Even in Europe, where builders have been using mass timber since the 1990s — and where about four-fifths of the world’s CLT is still made — it remains a niche product: only 680,000 cubic meters were produced in 2016, compared to 1.068 billion cubic meters of wood products consumed.
Mass timber is growing, however, thanks to years of advocacy among architects, construc-

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