The Think Wood team recently attended this year’s International Mass Timber Conference, the largest gathering of mass timber experts in the world with over 1,200 experts from 22 countries. The event gave special focus this year to the disruptive and forward-thinking ideas advancing mid-to high-rise timber construction in North America.

The three-day event held at Portland, Oregon’s Convention Centre featured such speakers as Google’s Michelle Kaufman,  Adidas’ David Remos, and Nature Conservancy’s Mark Wishnie alongside industry experts and researchers, from USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Wood Products Council and Forest Business Network.

Sessions centered around four learning tracks spanning urban design, project delivery, building performance and market barriers and growth.

The conference was complemented by a series of building tours that included a range of public and mixed-used timber buildings including Clay Creative/Hacker, Oregon Conservation Center and Tacoma’s up-and-coming Brewery Blocks.

Lots of new and emerging knowledge was presented and discussed. Here’s five things we think you should know:

Making Connections:

New standardized and proprietary connection systems for cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber components are being developed around the world. Design approaches for connections vary by wood design standards in North America, Europe and elsewhere, and procedures are expected to evolve further as mass timber goes mainstream.

Looking to master the basics of timber connections? Check out our online course/CEU: Connection Options for Wood-Frame and Heavy Timber Buildings.

Trial by Fire:

Tested firestop assemblies in CLT floors performed well according to Hiliti North America. They presented their ongoing work including testing fire stops for mass timber, developing test matrices for data extensions, expanding applications and reaching out to listing agencies in North America. This work will help to streamline fire protection design and enable the development of assemblies that can be incorporated into agencies’ future lists. You can view the results of previous firestop testing spearheaded by American Wood Council (AWC) in 2015.

Gain an understanding of the fundamentals of fire and safety in our online course/CEU: Designing for Fire Protection.

Shaking Things Up:

A project to develop mass timber rocking wall design criteria and validate the procedure with a full scale 10-story shake table test is on track to be completed in 2021. The goal? To develop a generic system for a range of mass timber building types, a boon for structural engineering teams looking to save time and money on seismic design. Stay tuned as we report on the findings as they come available.

Learn foundational principles of seismic design in our online course/CEU: Designing for Earthquakes.

Moisture Management:

Managing moisture and humidity is an important consideration with buildings of all types and materials, including mass timber. Several buildings in North America have been selected for long-term monitoring to track moisture during building construction and operation. Results of completed and ongoing monitoring programs are available through the Think Wood Research Library.

Take our online course/CEU: Designing for Durability

Do Your Research:

Over 100 research needs were recently identified by the Forest Products Laboratory, helping to further the knowledge on mass timber. This demonstrates the industry’s commitment to building on the already extensive breadth of research.

Check out the Think Wood Research Library for some of the latest research on a range of emerging topics : timber connections, design for seismic regions, energy and moisture monitoring, and acoustics on our online library.

Looking for more research? Search and browse the entire Think Wood Research Library

The Think Wood Research Library is a central repository for this leading-edge research from around the world and has links to over 1,600 research publications, including research reports, books, academic journal publications and conference proceedings.

 

Do You Understand the Research Backing ICC Code Changes?

The annual conference comes on the heels of the International Code Council’s recent move to approve 14 changes to the International Building Code (IBC) that takes mass timber to new heights. This includes the introduction of three new construction types and the ability to build up to 18 stories of mass timber, set to take effect in 2021. Incorporating tall timber structures into the code is a signal that mass timber is going mainstream, much of it the result of rigorous testing and investigation. Are you keen to learn more about the science behind this important milestone for mass timber? Are you ready to answer questions from your clients and colleagues? We’ve got you covered with the Think Wood Mass Timber Stands Tall Research Library Brief. Download our easy-to-read research brief that simplifies the science and gives you the low down on the tall wood code changes.