Mass Timber

Mass timber construction as opposed to light-frame wood construction, is a category of engineered timber products made of large, solid wood panels, columns or beams. These elements are utilised for load-bearing wall, floor and roof construction. Mass timber building components are almost always prefabricated off-site, and are formed through lamination of raw lumber and connected using mechanical fasteners or adhesives. Using mass timber can provide an environmentally friendly substitute for carbon-intensive materials and building systems such as steel, aluminium and concrete.

Local South African produced & engineered timber

\ Cross-laminated timber

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a large-format engineered wood panel, made from layers of solid sawn lumber. Each lamella of boards is typically oriented with the wood grain perpendicular to the adjacent layer, to provide a geometrically stable and structurally rigid sheet. A CLT plate consists of an odd number of lamella, typically three, five or seven layers. 

CLT is well suited to wall, roof and floor structures. 

\ Glue-laminated timber

Glue-laminated timber (GLT), or Glulam, consists of lumber laminated in the same direction, to make a building component. Having the timber gain oriented the same way provides direction-specific structural performance, also referred to as anisotropic materialbehaviour. 

GLT is typically utilised in beams, columns and posts, header structures and trusses. 

\ Mass Timber Production

The life of a mass timber project starts with the careful selection of raw material in sustainable forests and culminates in the rapid assembly of precise building components on site. 

Sustainable forest 
Raw material 
Saw
Dry
Strength grade
Finger-joint
Plane
Glue application
Press
Machine
Package
Assemble
Recycle

\ Environmental impact

Wood is a natural, renewable material for building. Kilogram for kilogram, timber has a lower environmental impact than concrete or steel. The use of mass timber products can play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of a project, achieving eco-friendly design goals or even net-zero carbon construction. 

A key sustainability attribute of mass timber construction is carbon sequestration and storage. During the life of a tree, atmospheric carbon dioxide is removed from the air, is converted through photosynthesis and trapped. Harvesting a tree and processing the wood into a mass timber building then holds this captured CO2 for the lifespan of the building. 

\ Benefits of Mass Timber

High Specific Strength
Due to its anisotropic organic structure, timber has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any building material.
Biophilic Design
The natural origins of mass timber makes it ideal to connect a design with the natural environment through biophilic space making.
Fire-resistant
In the event of a fire, mass timber buildings perform predictably, similar to other building systems.

High Precision
Digital design and fabrication allows mass timber buildings to be produced to millimetre tolerances.
Lightweight
A low material density means timber is easier to handle on site and reduces the loads on foundations.
Rapid Prefabrication
Automated off-site production in a controlled environment is free of weather delays, inaccuracies and waste.
Fast On-site Assembly
Thanks to high-precision prefabrication a mass timber building can be put together in a matter of weeks, instead of months.
Structurally Resilient
A combination of high strength and elasticity means mass timber structures can accommodate the stresses of stormy weather and seismic zones.
Machinable
Timber is well suited to fast and accurate computer numerically controlled cutting, milling and surfacing
CO2 Sink
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is trapped and held within timber elements for the lifespan of the project.
Design for Disassembly
The extensive use of mechanical connections allows for disassembly, reconfiguration or re-use of building components.
Good Insulation
The porous cellular structure of timber makes it a better insulator than concrete or masonry.
Energy Efficient
Standards for energy efficiency, like Passivhaus, can be easily achieved with high precision, high performance mass timber construction.
Warm Haptics
Timber is a rich and familiar building material, which provides a warm spatial experience.
Psychologically Beneficial
Scientific studies have shown that a mass timber building can relieve stress and increase the productivity of its occupants.
Cost Competitive
When designed, detailed, planned and constructed correctly, mass timber is cost competitive as a building material.

MTT guides

Get an introduction to our product offerings and general design considerations for mass timber.

Download
Design guide
Design guide
Cross-laminated Timber &
Glue-laminated Timber
Coming soon
GLT and CLT Guide
Development guide
Cross-laminated Timber &
Glue-laminated Timber
Coming soon
Stairs guide
Product guide
Cross-laminated Timber Stairs
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