One of the most recent innovations in Engineered Wood Products is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). The system is based on the use of multi-layered panels made from solid wood boards glued together, with the grain direction of successive layers placed at 90° angles. The cross-laminated configuration improves rigidity, dimensional stability, and mechanical properties. Structurally, CLT offers performance comparable to concrete or steel, with panels suitable for use as walls, floors, roofs, and other applications. While CLT as a construction material has been successful in Europe for the past 20 years, and more recently has made inroads in the Australian and Canadian markets, it is not yet readily available in the United States. To better understand the market potential for CLT in the U.S., this study aims to assess the level of awareness, perceptions and willingness to adopt the system by U.S. professionals. To achieve these objectives, (a) a series of 10 interviews were conducted to gather insights from national and international CLT experts; (b) a web-based survey to U.S. architecture firms was conducted to gather information about familiarity, perceptions, performance and likelihood to adopt the system in the near future; and (c) a multi-family residential building project was designed to explore the architectural possibilities of the material.This study identified that the use of wood, a natural and renewable material, was the main advantage of CLT. Another important benefit of CLT over traditional construction systems is the dramatically shorter on-site construction time needed. CLT is a prefabricated system, thus reducing labor requirements, on-site waste, and accidents, all of which translates into significant cost reductions. The most commonly cited disadvantages of CLT were its acoustic and vibration performance. From the study it was found that the level of awareness about CLT is low among U.S. architects. Building Code compatibility, availability in the domestic market and cost were mentioned as the main barriers to the implementation of the system in the U.S. Cross-Laminated Timber appears to be a cost-competitive alternative to concrete structures, especially for buildings over six stories high. Architects seem to be willing to adopt CLT for their near-future projects, especially for multi-family, commercial, and recreational buildings. Importantly, this willingness to adopt CLT was found to be positively correlated to the level of awareness with the system. Results show that diffusion of knowledge about CLT and the role of early adopters will be essential for the successful introduction of this new building technology into the U.S. market. The preliminary design created as part of this study allowed demonstrating the structural capabilities of CLT, by maximizing the spans between structural elements achieving open and fluid living spaces. CLT also enabled the design of wide terraces and the inclusion of window openings on outside walls without compromising the structural integrity of the CLT elements.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. May 2014. Major: Bioproducts/Biosystems Science Engineering and Management. Advisor: Omar R. Espinoza. xi, 141 pages; appendices 1-4.
Laguarda Mallo, Maria Fernanda.
Awareness, perceptions and willingness to adopt cross-laminated timber in the United States.
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