Side Walk Talk: Exploring the Future of Mass Timber Building

Sidewalk Toronto is a proponent of mass timber, a sustainable new building material with great potential for efficient factory production. The Aspect team is proud to be part of the engineering team on this state of the art project. Learn all about the Sidewalk Toronto Proposal, a new approach to inclusive urban growth.

We also invite you to explore Side Walk Talk a blog where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities:

We think timber buildings could be even taller, so we spent the past year working with a world-class team of architects, engineers, and environmental designers to create a mass timber "proto-model" at 35 stories  — a height yet to be achieved in practice. We call this project Proto-Model X, or PMX. What's a proto-model, you ask? Associate Director of Development Cara Eckholm explains that and more in a PMX mini series on the Sidewalk Talk blog.

Their blog will take you through this project and the potential of mass timber building:

  • Introducing PMX: Our model for how tall timber buildings could work in cities (Introduction)
  • How to design a timber building that can reach 35 stories (Part 1)
  • How to design a timber building that's easy to make in a factory (Part 2)
(Image: Michael Green Architecture and Gensler)

Tall Wood Buildings Hoped to Boost Lumber Sector

Check out the Global Okanagan News footage of our associate Ilana Danzig discussing the future of Mass-Timber buildings in BC.

The story covered the The Wood Design Luncheon Conference in Kelowna. These annual conferences in two BC locations feature presentations on current topics in architecture, engineering, design and construction with wood by experts in wood design and building while suppliers are on hand with their exhibits to answer questions about wood products and systems. The same three presentations are given in each location. Learn more about the conference...

This year Ilana presented on:

Tall Wood Case Studies in Canada
Ilana Danzig | P.Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE | Associate – Aspect Engineering
Review and discussion of two tall mass timber buildings: A 12-storey building and a 30+ storey building. Discussions will included the structural system, fire requirements, lateral load considerations, opportunities for prefabrication, and the new 2020 NBCC Encapsulated Mass Timber construction type.

Go to the 12:45 mark of this video to see the Mass-Timber story:

The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019)

Join our principals Bernhard Gafner and Mehrdad Jahangiri at the 25th International Wood Construction Conference (IHF), December 4th–6th 2019 at Innsbruck, Congress Centrum
Practical experience – Practical application
The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019) provides architects, engineers and builders with an opportunity to report on experiences, processes and goals related to wood structures and construction. At the same time, the conference provides an opportunity for architects, building officials, builders, craftspeople, practitioners and educators to learn about the latest developments and to exchange experiences.

Bernhard Gafner a principal at  ASPECT Structural Engineers will present on the friday morning:
Practical experiences with respect to bracing concepts for 12-storey wooden high-rise buildings under consideration of wind and earthquake loads.

Learn more about the conference...



New mass timber projects a glimmer of hope for B.C. forestry industry

Our Associate, Ilana Danzig was featured on CTV News to discuss the possible growth of the BC forestry industry because of changes to the building code:

Starting in 2020, the national building code of Canada will allow for mass timber buildings to be constructed across the country. Currently, buildings made of wood are only allowed to stand six storeys high. After the mass timber policy change next year, buildings will be permitted to stand up to 12 storeys tall.

The increase in size and scale of wooden buildings could help revitalize the forestry industry, according to professionals in the field.

Ilana discussed one of our current projects, Terminus and Tallwood in Langford, BC:

"There's an explosion in mass timber projects right now that we're seeing in B.C. and all through Canada and all throughout the U.S.," said Ilana Danzig, a structural engineer for Langford's upcoming Tallwood 1 building.

"Mass timber is a very hot item. There's going to be very high demand both on the design side and the supply side," said Danzig.

Read the full article by Adam Chan... 

Cardinal House: A Healthy, Resilient, Mass-Timber Home For First Nations Communities

ASPECT is proud to be part of the team that developed the Cardinal House. A new home designed to meet the specific needs of First Nations peoples and constructed to withstand the harsh climates where their communities are situated.

The issue of insufficient and sometimes unsuitable housing is one that has plagued Canada’s First Nations for decades. It is a complex problem beset by environmental, logistical, infrastructure and governance challenges. It’s clear that innovative ideas and new ways of thinking must prevail.

ASPECT is the engineer of record for this project and is also responsible for all the mass timber engineering:

The benefits of mass timber construction go far beyond their aesthetic and environmental attributes. Mass timber offers a versatile, high-performance building solution that can meet even the most demanding requirements. The innovative, affordable, energy-efficient home is built out of cross-laminated timber, with high-performance cross-laminated insulated panels (CLIPs) for the building envelope. Prefabricated in a controlled factory setting off-site and shipped on a single truck, the structural panels and roof for the prototype Cardinal House were assembled in a fraction of the time of traditionally built, light frame homes.

Visit Element5's website to learn more about this project.

2019 Environmental Performance Award Winner

The Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL) winner of the 2019 Environmental Performance Award BC Wood Design Awards!

Featured on naturally:wood website – The Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL) at the University of Northern British Columbia is a space to test state-of-the-art building systems.

Project Overview
The Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL) at the University of Northern British Columbia gives students and researchers much needed space to test state-of-the-art building systems. The WIRL is noteworthy in that it is the first industrial building in North America certified to rigorous Passive House energy standards. Certified Passive House buildings use up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling and up to70 per cent less energy overall compared with standard buildings.

Wood Use
The WIRL is a single-storey mass timber structure, composed of glue laminated timber (glulam) columns and beams on a concrete raft slab foundation. The building is 10-metres in height and consists of high-head lab space, classrooms and office space. The 10-metre tall wall panels are framed with prefabricated 0.5-metre thick upright wood trusses. Sheet goods used to sheathe the floors, roof and wall assemblies were left exposed to provide the interior finish for the lab portion of the building.

This building has caught the attention of Passive House researchers around the world because it demonstrates how an industrial structure, constructed with wood, in a northern climate exceeds a rigorous, internationally recognized energy efficiency standard.

Dr. Guido Wimmers, Chair/Associate Professor
Engineering Graduate Program, UNBC


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Naikoon on Nail Laminated Timber and More

We would like to share this overview of nail laminated timber and other Panelized products by Naikoon Contracting. They are home builders who specialize in Passive House & NetZero Construction. We had the pleasure to work with them recently on West Bay Passive House.


Nail Laminated Timber and Other Panelized Projects

In this project, we use mass timber, which is a construction method that replaces non-renewable building materials, such as steel and concrete, with engineered wooden columns and floor slabs. Not only is mass timber sustainable, but it’s also strong, fire resistant, and cost efficient. Who can argue with that?

So what are the Panelized products that can be used in mass timber construction?

1. Nail Laminated Timber
Nail Laminated Timber (AKA NLT) is created by stacking dimensional lumber on edge and joining it together with nails. To provide additional structure, plywood sheathing may be added on the top side. NLT has a long history, having been used for over a century, especially to create sturdy flooring. It can even replace concrete slabs and steel decking.

2. Glued-Laminated Timber
Glued-Laminated Timber (or Glulam) is created when wood pieces are end jointed and constructed in horizontal layers (AKA laminations), which are held together by – of course – glue. Glulam offers an excellent variety of shapes and sizes, making it ideal for columns and beams. It can be flipped on its side and be used as floor and roof panels as well.

3. Cross-Laminated Timber
Cross-Laminated Timber (or CLT) is the most popular of the mass timber products available in Canada. CLT are large wood panels, which are made by cross laminating lumber and holding it together with adhesives. CLT ususally has between three and nine layers of lumber alternating at 90 degrees.

4. Structural Composite Lumber
Structural Composite Lumber (also dubbed SCL) is a variety of products, including Laminated Veneer Lumber, Parallel Strand Lumber, Laminated Strand Lumber, and Oriented Strand Lumber. All the SCL products are made with dried, graded wood veneers, flakes, or strands. The material in question is layered using adhesives to bind it, then cured to create blocks, which are sawn into whatever size is needed for a project. SCL is made up of fiber from smaller trees or trees that have lower strengths and densities


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