New Wood Construction Technologies



We're always looking to the future at ThoughtCraft. In recent years, sustainability has started to become a well know concept. Wood has the advantage of being a renewable material that also captures carbon. New technologies in wood manufacturing and the building code are now colliding to expand what's possible with wood construction. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Nailed Laminated Timber (NLT) structures will be the future of commercial building.

Cross Laminated Timber is an engineered wood building system that consists of several layers of lumber board glued together on the wide face. The cross lamination provides strength and rigidity. Nail Laminated Timber (NLT) sections run vertically instead of being crossed and are stacked and nailed to each other rather than glued. An NLT panel can achieve up to 10-feet wide and 42-feet long spans. CLTs can come in 2-foot to 8-foot widths and span up to 60 feet or more depending on the depth (currently sixteen inches maximum in the U.S.)

These structures are lighter than concrete and can reduce construction time, are cost efficient, structurally versatile, and provide the beauty of exposed wood integrated into the architecture. By manufacturing these components in a controlled environment, CLT products offer increased quality control and a reduced time of construction.

Previously, manufacturers of these systems were primarily in the Northwest and Canada, but as of September 2018, a well known manufacturer, International Beams, opens a 227,000sf manufacturing plant in Alabama bringing this technology close to home. We think it will be a game changer! Current code allows 7-story structures using CLTs, but the coming building code is exploring allowing CLT structures up to 18-stories! Recently, a 12-story structure was permitted in Seattle, WA. Big changes are ahead!