Mass Timber Revolutionising Sustainable Construction Practices

Mass Timber Revolutionising Sustainable Construction Practices
October 26, 2023

Currently the construction industry stands at the forefront of adopting and experimenting with sustainable materials. This quest has led to the spotlight being placed on Mass Timber, an engineered wood product that combines robustness with eco-friendliness. As the world grapples with the urgent need for energy-efficient construction, Mass Timber emerges as a game-changer.   


What is Mass Timber? 

Unlike traditional light-frame wood construction, Mass Timber is engineered using large, solid wood panels, columns, or beams. These components, often manufactured off-site, create load-bearing elements for walls, floors, and roofs. Mass Timber products, with their compressed layers of wood, offer structural integrity comparable to concrete and steel but at a significantly lighter weight. Laminated, fastened, or adhered together, these elements form panels that can be seamlessly integrated into construction projects. This innovative approach not only reduces the carbon footprint but also accelerates building processes.

The significance of Mass Timber lies not just in its structural integrity but in its environmental impact. By using renewable wood resources, Mass Timber provides an eco-friendly substitute for carbon-intensive materials and building systems.  Hybrid buildings, combining traditional materials with Mass Timber, have shown a positive reduction in embodied carbon, often up to 75%. 


Educational Challenges and a Visionary Solution 

However, the widespread adoption of Mass Timber faces its challenges, primarily in the form of education. The transition to Mass Timber construction demands skilled engineers well-versed in its complexities. The cost-intensive learning curve, coupled with a scarcity of experts, poses a significant hurdle. This is where CLT Toolbox, a groundbreaking design software platform, steps in.  


CLT Toolbox: Bridging the Educational Gap 

CLT Toolbox is an Australian start-up recognises that education and resources are the keystones to unlocking Mass Timber’s potential. Spearheaded by CEO Adam Jones, a leader in the field, CLT Toolbox provides structural engineers with an end-to-end solution. From comprehensive education modules to detailed specifications, resources, computations, and design infrastructure, CLT Toolbox empowers engineers to confidently embrace Mass Timber in their projects. By simplifying the learning curve, CLT Toolbox is aiming to accelerate the integration of Mass Timber into the mainstream construction supply chain across the whole world. They have received a significant boost with the recent securing of $1.5 million in seed funding. Led by prominent investors, including Archangel Ventures, BluescopeX, and Gravel Road (helmed by Rob Phillpot, Co-Founder of Aconex).  


 Global Impact and Tall Wood Buildings    

Mass timber is not only reshaping urban landscapes but also creating jobs and encouraging long-term investments in manufacturing, green building, and the forest sector. Another trend in construction is the rise of tall wood buildings. With technological advancements, the definition of tall wood structures is expanding. Initially limited to six levels, today's tall wood buildings range from basic mass timber and light-frame systems to complex mass timber-concrete-steel hybrid systems, reaching heights beyond 18 storeys and continuing to evolve. Mass timber construction is gaining popularity as a safe alternative to traditional steel and concrete structures. In countries like Canada, the national building code now permits up to 12 stories of mass timber construction. This change follows thorough assessments by building code committees and consultations with experts in fire safety, structural engineering, architecture, science, and construction.


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