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Cross-Laminated Timbers (CLT)

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is created by layering boards in alternating directions then bonding them together with structural adhesive. This process creates a lightweight and flexible, yet extremely strong, wood-based building material—as strong as steel or concrete—that also helps prevent damage from fires and earthquakes. CLT is one of many types of engineered wood building construction materials housed under the umbrella of "mass timber."

First developed in Europe in the early 1990s, CLT was only introduced into the International Building Code in 2015. Since then, the ICC has approved 14 code changes as part of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) that allow mass timber structures of up to 18 stories.

One of the key advantages of CLT, besides it's strength, flexibility, and resistance to damage, is its sustainability. While living, trees are natural carbon absorbers, and lumber retains the carbon absorbed from the atmosphere. Steel and concrete have no such capabilities. In fact, steel and concrete production contributes a great deal to the growing amount of carbon in our atmosphere. The challenge, however, will be planning and managing forests in advance of CLT's wide-spread adoption.

A complete summary of cross-laminated timber is coming soon!