Narrative Box 6

2 – Early participation of supplier and installer required

Early and willing engagement with mass timber representatives by both the design team and construction manager is critical for determining the correct approach to documentation and bidding. In the case of public procurement an early timber bid package can provide the necessary hard bid and still allow the installer to join in the design process before construction documents are completed.

3 – Mass timber presents new design opportunities — and challenges

The obvious design opportunity associated with a mass timber structural system is its aesthetic qualities — wood has tremendous visual appeal. Its warmth and beauty has a comforting and uplifting effect on people, and that has documented effects on wellbeing in classrooms and in the office environments.

Because this means exposing at least parts of your building’s structure, design drawings need to be extremely detailed, for example to route conduit and ductwork and locate equipment in ways that are visually appealing, and to accurately account for the different tolerances between wood and steel. This adds to design costs.

Recognize that a simple building geometry works best for CLT. The more complex the shape of the building, the more challenging it is to design a timber structure to support it — not impossible, just more expensive. And if you have your heart set on a masonry façade, think hard about whether CLT is the right solution. CLT is much better suited for lightweight skin systems – wood or cement board panels for example — than masonry, which will need a robust secondary structure to carry it.