Survey of international tall wood buildings 2015 re think wood presentation


Published on

Over the past several years, a number of tall wood projects have been completed around the world, demonstrating successful applications of new wood and mass timber technologies. This Summary Report of the Survey of International Tall Wood Buildings takes a look at ten international tall wood buildings, and presents some common lessons learned from the experiences of various stakeholders, including the Developer/Owner, Design Team, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and Construction Team for each project.

Survey Appendices outline in-depth the lessons learned about the ten tall wood buildings covered in the survey. If you would like to receive the Survey Appendices, please visit:

Published in: Real Estate
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • SLIDE 1 - Introduction

    This session will present the results of an international survey that aimed to compile lessons learned and experiences from project teams who have designed and built successful tall wood buildings. The goal of the work was to gather information and experience from the market leaders to learn from their applied experience to help reduce risk and accelerate adoption of wood buildings around the world.

    The presentation will first provide some context for this work - a quick look at the market to understand where the Survey fits and how it is relevant to advancing our work here in North America. Then we will briefly summarize the Survey method so you know how we gathered this information and the major areas of inquiry, and provide a brief introduction to each participant project.

    Then we’ll present the major trends and lessons learned from the work, including best practices in design and construction solutions, and what we learned about overcoming code barriers. Toward the end we’ll tell you what we learned about Insurance and Financing, and add a few words about Building performance. We’ll conclude with some thoughts on what all this means for future in our local market.

  •  SLIDE 2 – Market Context
  • SLIDE 3 – The Opportunity
    With growing pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, designers are increasingly being called upon to balance functionality and cost objectives with environmental impact. Wood can help achieve that balance. And while timber used as structure in taller buildings is not a ‘new’ concept, in fact we have an example of a 100 year old 9 level timber building in Vancouver, we have largely abandoned wood as a solution for taller structures in favour of heavier and more intense materials, like concrete and steel.
    Now, with the relatively recent advent of engineered, mass timber products, the opportunity offered by these products for application in taller buildings addresses two important parts of the sustainability question we are trying to answer in the realm of urban development:
    - To increase the use of renewable building materials in tall building applications, and in parallel benefit from the low-carbon impact and sequestration opportunity that could be realized by using more wood and less of the higher intensity materials.
    - To further develop North America’s forest and lumber industry, which is essential to a thriving economy – a very important part of the sustainability picture.
    So, it’s no surprise that places with a large portion of the global supply of timber resources and a responsibly managed forest industry are starting to gather traction and lead with ideas, research, support and even a few built examples – a great demonstration of this opportunity.
  • SLIDE 4

    Built examples to date range widely, but a brief look at the leaders in North America include

    Fondaction - the 6 storey hybrid wood-concrete, post and beam office building built in Québec City, and completed in 2010. While this building does not express the timber structure on the exterior, it is an important project that utilized mass timber product fabricated locally in Quebec, and demonstrates a successful local application of wood technology that exceeded the height limit of code at the timber at the time.

    Completed in 2011, the UBC Earth Sciences building – 5 storeys – one of the two wings built with wood. This is an example we know well at Perkins+Will, and it has a really important wood story to tell with this very compelling, highly expressive timber stair in the atrium, and exposed timber structure throughout the academic wing.

    Built in 1906, the Butler Brothers Building in Minneapolis speaks to the importance of recognizing the long history of building with heavy timber. A 1970’s renovation exposed the structure in the atrium, creating a stunning space in this historic, 9 storey building.

    Just completed construction, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George. What will be another important early ‘modern’ adopter example of taller timber construction in North America.
  • SLIDE 5 - Momentum

    As demonstrated by the previous examples, the market has been largely driven and led by industry, where designers, engineers and timber industry processionals have come together in various ways through to put innovation to the test – and it’s building some momentum.

    With support from organizations like Binational Softwood Lumber Council, Canadian and American Wood Council, Softwood Lumber Board, FII, FP Innovations and Wood Works!, there are a number of important resources now published in the market place that have become integral to our local discourse on the opportunity to advance mass timber and tall wood projects, and along with the built examples, these have been building momentum too. On the screen you’re seeing MGB/Michael Green’s ‘The Case for Tall Wood’, FP Innovations CLT Handbook which is being used around the world, and SOM’s Timber Tower research project proposing that towers at a height of 30 storeys are possible with a timber structure. There is also FP Innovations Technical Guide for tall Wood.

    And while these resources are essential and are certainly feeding the conversation, they speak to the technical application and theoretical possibilities of constructing tall buildings with mass timber. What was missing from this conversation was a way to communicate applied experience from completed work – what fills the space between the technical application and the finished product?

    With about 14 completed tall buildings around the world, there is now an opportunity to gather and aggregate lessons and insights – which, as we all know is exceptionally valuable – and is where we hope the International Survey of International Tall Wood Buildings will fit, further building on this momentum.
  • SLIDE 6 – The Project

    The Tall Wood Survey was conceived as a way to provide information and education to all the key players in the market – generate comfort by accessing experiences and looking for trends across sectors in places where tall timber structures have been successful. The work will enhance what we have learned through the local examples we have to reference – and hopefully inspire more buildings.

    FII and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council engaged P+W to undertake the Survey to begin to compile and understand the leading applied examples around the world – not only to learn from specific project experiences, solutions and challenges, but more importantly, from cross referencing those experiences and learning from aggregated information, trends, and common lessons.

    In fact, when we were traveling around and speaking to each of the stakeholders, many noted that they were particularly interested the comparison of projects and cross referencing of lessons – while much has been written about the technical solutions and project development process for each of the participant projects, no other document or project has taken on the task of gathering lessons and interpreting them in aggregate, so this is significant in all jurisdictions, not just North America.
  • SLIDE 7 – Scope

    The work was focused on gathering qualitative information. The emphasis was on discovering the drivers or rationale for pursuing a structural wood solution, lessons about design processes, construction process, and unique aspects associated with delivering a tall wood project. In addition, we were interested in learning about Project Insurance, Financing and Building Operations and Maintenance.

    Based on the built project examples in our own jurisdiction and a few of the early European examples, there were some known gaps in knowledge and experience, and the study largely focused on those. We also broke the data collection down by stakeholder group in order to gather lessons specific to each group - this was to best address the ultimate goal of reducing risk and increasing comfort among key players.

    We identified between 6-8 stakeholders per project that could potentially contribute to the survey – 1 – 2 people per stakeholder group. Some people were able to represent more than one stakeholder group and some projects included several individuals within one group.
  • SLIDE 8 – Approach and Methodology

    The Survey methodology was designed to capture a range of information across stakeholder groups, limit redundancies for participants and ensure that not only project specific information was gathered, but that results could be effectively aggregated to identify trends.

    The approach was a mix of methods that could take best advantage of a short timeline. In collaboration with FII, we created a long list of built projects around the world and associated contacts, and then sent email correspondence with a formal letter of invitation to participate in the Survey. If they agreed, Participants were asked to complete a short (15 min) online survey (Survey Monkey) tailored for each stakeholder group. The purpose of the online survey was to gather broader information about the project/stakeholder experience to form the basis of a more detailed, in-person or telephone interview.

  • SLIDE 9

    The work did involve site visits – which was an exceptional experience, and I think essential to a strong result. Speaking to project stakeholders in person is much more compelling, yielding a depth of information not always possible through remote means.

    You can see that the majority of stops were concentrated in the centre of Western Europe – where not only several buildings are located but also a number of timber fabricators and manufacturing facilities. Not all Stakeholders were located in the same places as the buildings, so there were more stops on our tour than buildings in the survey. Several stakeholders were either unavailable or not within the practical limits of our travel itinerary, so we followed up with several people by phone.

    Travel was done during the month of November, 2013.
  •  SLIDE 10 - Deliverables

    The physical result of the Survey, is a series of Bulletins for each participant project, detailing lessons learned in the context of each stakeholder group. Each of these bulletins formed the basis of the summary report where the information is aggregated and interpreted at a broader level to identify trends across projects, unique solutions and of course lessons learned.

    As I mentioned, we see the Summary Report key to filling a gap in the industry – really the first time lessons have been gathered among the majority of built examples, and cross referenced for trends and common themes. And while the results are not surprising, it solidifies and gives additional credibility to the efforts of advancing the market for tall wood buildings.

  • SLIDE 11 – Participant Project

    Just to provide some visual context and few pertinent details about the participant projects, we will provide a brief look at each one.

    The majority of buildings were residential or mixed residential/commercial. In the context of this work, mixed residential/commercial exclusively means ground level retail or office (sometimes first two levels) and residential above. Only three of the buildings were exclusively commercial or institutional spaces.

    These are also all fairly recently completed projects, with the oldest completed in 2007 and the youngest finished just as we visited in November 2013. The projects are presented in order of completion.

  • SLIDE 12

    E3 – located in Berlin.

    This is probably the most complex building in the portfolio of projects – there is a lot of concrete in this project. It’s 7 levels and Kaden Klingbeil are really the pioneers of using mass timber product for buildings over 5 levels – it was the first example of structural timber building to exceed maximum allowable height. It was this project that invested the effort to change the codes and approvals process in Berlin, and was instrumental in educating the authority on the merits of mass timber for higher buildings and deserves the credit for what is now a relatively smooth process of approvals.

    Unique feature – exterior concrete stair and bridge system – addresses separate non combustible exit but also provides a third façade for daylight penetration.
  • SLIDE 13

    Limnologen – located in Vaxjo, Sweden

    This project is a residential development comprised of 4 separate, 8 storey buildings with some single storey common amenity buildings and a two level parkade structure. It’s a panel system, using mostly CLT. The stair and lift cores are also CLT.

    Completed in 2009, and one of the projects that collaborated extensively with academic partners, there is all kinds of research being done on this example, and the project included extensive monitoring equipment to support ongoing studies and collaboration. It is a very well known example, and is supported extensively by a local government program called the Modern Wood City which is attempting to broaden the use of wood throughout the region.

  • SLIDE 14

    Bridport House – located in London, England.

    This is a residential project, and Social Housing Development. Another 8 storey structure, constructed completely of CLT panels, it is one of two tall wood examples in London the other being Murray Grove, which you may be are familiar with. The core at Bridport is also CLT and the timber solution here was chosen in large part because it’s a lighter weight material than concrete or steel, and this building sits over top of some very old underground infrastructure that required special consideration.

  • SLIDE 15

    3xGrun (pronounced TRI – Grun), located in Berlin Germany.

    This is a purely residential project using a combination of CLT panels and post and beam structure. This project has two, precast concrete panel cores for stair and lifts. This is only a five storey project, but it’s a great example of the beautiful interior quality that can be achieved with exposed wood structure.

    This project team benefited greatly from the E3, and experienced a very smooth approvals process compared to the E3 team.

  • SLIDE 16

    Holz8, or H8 located in Bad Aibling, southern Germany not far from Munich. The first two levels of this building accommodate office space, and the remainder are residential.

    This is a panelized approach with, 8 levels with a prefabricated concrete panel core. This is one of the only buildings in the Study with wood on the exterior – it actually appears to be made with wood, where most of the other examples purposefully avoided this to ensure the buildings blended in with the norm.
  • SLIDE 17

    Forte in Melbourne, Australia. The only project we weren’t able to visit in person, and the tallest completed project example to date at 10 storeys.

    This is mixed use project, ground level commercial/retail, and the remaining levels are described as luxury, boutique residential suites.

    The Lend Lease team imported CLT from the UK along with an expert construction team to train local trades. It also a 5 Star Green Star Project, the Australian green building rating system similar in concept to LEED.
  • SLIDE 18

    UBC Earth Sciences Building, Vancouver, BC.

    This is a building very familiar to me, and likely all of you, it was designed by our Vancouver office of P+W. It’s one of the few examples, that has exposed wood elements on the exterior, giving you a subtle clue to the structure from the outside. This is one of the few non-residential examples, and the only institutional example in the Survey.

    The building is comprised of two wings, joined by an atrium in the centre – one wing built with timber, one with concrete, creating the perfect opportunity to do embodied carbon calculations – the timber wing represents a 47% reduction in C02 when compared to the concrete wing.
  • SLIDE 19

    Life Cycle Tower One – LCT One, located in Dornbirn, Austria.

    Again, one of the three commercial buildings. This one 8 storeys and is a combination of post and beam and panel system, and has a cast-in-place concrete core. Created by Cree buildings as a prototype to test a system, Cree believes much taller towers are possible given the success of this project.

    LCT One is monitored extensively and operational data is planned to be shared through the web. Cree intends to certify this project through various green building and energy rating systems, including Passive House and LEED.

  • SLIDE 20

    Tamedia building – also a commercial office space, this project was an addition to an existing building – the Tamedia headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and is 6 storeys high.

    Designed by Shigeru Ban, this is a very unique structure of exposed, all-timber posts and beams that appears to glow from the interior of the glazed façade. Although this was the most unique approach to a timber structure in the group of our 10 surveyed buildings, it is important to note the lessons learned were aligned with what we heard from all the other participants, so all very valid data and information from this example.
  • SLIDE 21

    Cenni di Cambiamento (which may also be recognized by the name ‘via Cenni’), located in Milan, Italy is the most recently completed. It’s 4, 9 storey towers in a complex linked by two level connector buildings and walkways.

    The structure is entirely CLT panels, including walls, floors and lift and stair cores. It’s an innovative social housing and social service project that has demonstrated exceptional operational efficiencies. It includes mostly residential suites, as well as some commercial/retail spaces dedicated to services and amenities that support the residents.

    It was only just being occupied when we visited in November, but was already reporting exceptional energy efficiencies and indoor quality (ventilation, air quality).
  • SLIDE 22 – Lessons Learned

    So now that you have a sense of why we did the work, how we did it, and who participated, we’ll take a look at what we learned – I’ll preface this by noting there are many things we won’t be able to cover in this short presentation, and we have focused on telling you about the most compelling results with a hope of tempting you to access the full report.
  • SLIDE 23 – Why Tall Wood?

    In an attempt to discover what was really driving the industry to pursue wood solutions for tall buildings, the Survey included a question set for each stakeholder group focused on asking participants about their motivations for taking on such a project.
  • SLIDE 24 – Rationale and Motivation

    What we learned, was that the rationale for pursuing a wood solution across all stakeholder groups was overwhelmingly associated with the opportunity to lead the market and innovate with techniques, products and ideas.

    Developers, designers and fabricators recognize the potential of wood to contribute to many goals the industry is trying to address in the built environment, and they have invested their expertise and capital to demonstrate that potential – they are dedicated to leading the market and they see developing expertise in mass timber as an investment in business and innovation for the future. I would say that the Forte project is the strongest example, given there isn’t a thriving lumber industry in Australia, and the developers and designers had to create a very strong business case to justify the long distance import of the CLT product.

    All stakeholders also identified and emphasized that using wood complements multiple goals as part of our efforts to reduce the impact of the carbon emissions – both in embodied energy and as a material to support a high performing envelope.

    In addition, every participant and stakeholder group identified that they were motivated by the potential of construction schedule savings afforded by the opportunity for extensive prefabrication of wood elements.

    What we realized as part of this exercise though, is that these motivations were being supported in almost all cases by a very supportive policy context.
  • SLIDE 25 – Supportive Governing Policy

    This is one of the most important outcomes of the study – in appears that in jurisdictions where governing policies exist in support of low carbon construction, energy efficiency or renewable resources, the market for mass timber is developing more rapidly. In such cases the governing framework was key to motivating all stakeholders to innovate with wood solutions, and teams in some cases were able to access incentive funding.

    Limnologen, the image you’re seeing here, is supported by local and national program to expand the timber industry in Sweden. As well, stringent energy efficiency and carbon regulations make wood an attractive choice to address multiple performance requirements.
  • SLIDE 26 – Best Practices

    Now that we know the strongest reasons why tall wood is emerging, let’s take a look at how these projects come together – some of the Best Practices that emerged.
  • SLIDE 27 – A Successful Approach

    When we asked stakeholders about how their project development process, design process or construction process was different or special from other projects, they all had a lot to say – but there were some keys that rose to the top for everyone.

    Most importantly, every participant emphasized that the group must be committed to a wood solution from the start – resolving design, code and market dilemmas require effort and you have to be committed to moving the project forward with a wood solution.

    Another key identified by most teams was that understanding the market for your project is imperative. The Forte team took time to do very detailed research on how the potential market would react to a timber structure so that they could respond accordingly with design decisions, and understand what barriers might need to be overcome. This is the reason many timber buildings don’t appear from the exterior to be wood – the perception in the market place is often that a building similar in appearance to a conventional building would be more accepted in the market.

    Research partnerships – this was exceptionally important to every single project in the Survey. Each team collaborated with either an academic research institution or industry organizations in support of advancing timber buildings to help resolve and test design solutions, work on overcoming code issues, market perception issues, and creating long term research projects to monitor performance and help publish results to build the body of knowledge. All ten projects created these partnerships, but Limnologen is probably the strongest example with the strongest published data – this is a great view from a balcony of that project.
  • SLIDE 28 – A Successful Approach

    In the design field we often suggest that an integrated design process is the most successful approach to generate high performance buildings. The participants of these tall wood projects described a collaborative process that reached beyond what I think we typically understand as integrated.

    Not only did project teams take advantage of research partnerships, , but participants stated that contributions from all disciplines at the very earliest stages, especially timber fabricators was important to success. In Europe there is a greater blending of professional roles across disciplines and sectors, resulting in a strong culture of collaboration – project teams are inclined to access expertise early to help eliminate construction issues with a design solution or collaborate on design drawings with highly trained fabricators who understand engineering structure, 3D design modeling software and more.

    Another strong outcome from all projects was the message that tall wood projects should be approached as wholly innovative, rather than with a focus on innovating with wood elements only. This was a very strong message from the Cenni di Cambiamento developer, who expressed that very little about the process reflected a traditional approach – and the timber structure opened a new set of opportunities that may never have been considered before (ex. opportunity to create very high quality spaces in low income housing). He actually also stated – BE BRAVE! To innovate, you have be brave!

  • SLIDE 29 – A Successful Approach

    The importance of planning came up in every conversation, and was the answer to almost every participant’s response when asked to identify lessons or advice for future project teams. They all noted that planning and pre-planning and then planning some more was key.

    I think this really reflects the shift in effort along the spectrum of the project timeline for these tall wood projects – more time and effort is spent in the early stages of the work to plan and detail design drawings, incorporate construction logistics considerations into drawings, accommodate testing and approvals processes etc. Teams were adamant that time spent to plan, is the key to success and a quick construction schedule.

    Finally, a very important message that we are living at this moment, was to share experiences, ideas, performance data and research to build the body of knowledge around tall wood construction, and advance the industry. This philosophy was clearly practiced by all teams – first, all were very willing to share their time and thoughts with us, and as well, most have published research through various academic partnerships, and some are open sourcing performance data (LCT One) – here you are seeing a shot of the Lifecylce Hub – an open education facility dedicated to advancing wood solutions.
  • SLIDE 30 – Design and Construction Solutions

    So now that we’ve identified successful project approaches and processes, let’s take a brief look at what we learned about applied design and construction solutions.
  • SLIDE 31 – Range of Design Solutions

    We asked participants to describe design and construction solutions across a variety of topics that had been identified as either challenging, were associated with perceived risk, or were thought to have knowledge gaps.

    Represented by the symbols you see on the screen, we focused on Structure. Lateral stability, Fire Protection, Acoustics+Vibration, Systems Integration and Moisture Protection and Durability.

    The most important result from the Survey here, was that there is really a range of design and construction solutions, as well as philosophies about addressing all these things. While there were certainly some common solutions, it is clear that no one technique or technology has emerged as the BEST.

    We’ll look at just a couple of these in the interest of time – Panels are generally favoured for residential construction, while post and beam is favoured for institutional and commercial space – likely because post/beam offers a more open floor plan that can be reconfigured easily. Panels provide a more compartmentalized layout, well suited for residential.

    Fire protection strategies – almost all projects sized wood elements to include a char layer according to authority requirements, some used sprinklers, others did not. Acoustic and vibration strategies were generally complex, and centered around strategies to separate or decouple floors and ceilings to eliminate noise and vibration transmission throughout spaces.
  • SLIDE 32 – Range of Construction Solutions

    The same was true for construction solutions – a range was identified but there were a few things that were emphasized more than others:

    In all cases, projects that used concrete cores all emphasized that using precast concrete panels accelerates the schedule and keeps the site dry – those that used cast-in-place concrete lost almost all of the schedule savings afforded by other prefabricated components, due to long curing time. This is an image from the H8 project where they used precast concrete panels for the core – the core was assembled first and then rest of the building around it – a very fast construction time of about 16 days for the timber erection.

    Material interfaces is where every team identified challenges – different tolerances between materials (where concrete meets wood, or wood penetrates glass) is where planning and detailing are critical to success during construction.

    Weather protection strategies varied across the spectrum from none at all, to some intermediate and temporary protection, to Limnologen’s fully tented structure. There are clearly differing opinions on weather protection, and I think it really depends on what type of wood elements are being used, and how they are treated before they’re moved to the site. Important to note also that Limnologen emphasized the beneficial worksite conditions realized from the tent, as equally important - it created a clean, dry and warm site for construction team.
  • SLIDE 33 – Working Through Approvals

    Of course, a significant part of the conversation around tall wood buildings relates to navigating building code and the associated process to earn approval where mass timber is not explicit in codes.

    While every project had a different set of experiences with respect to approvals based on existing codes, degree of market acceptance for mass timber as material for taller buildings, and varying regulatory policy, they all emphasized the importance of collaborating early to establish methods of compliance and methods of testing – again mostly a collaborative effort with research and academic institutions. They also emphasized that teams must account for this effort to engage and innovate – recognize and plan for the effort, integrate this into the project budget. The graphic on the screen is chart from our online survey data showing that the majority of AHJs did require additional documentation to satisfy the approvals for the wood solution.
  • SLIDE 34 – Overcoming Code Challenges

    I think there was only one project where the approvals pathway was already established – and that was 3xGrun, thanks to the E3 team that paved the way a few years earlier. All other projects were successful at overcoming code barriers and challenges. A couple of important strategies:

    The Forte project team said, ‘start educating the authority when you start educating yourself’. Provide them with resources, involve them in research (they provided FP’s CLT Manual). Establishing an acceptable method of compliance as early as possible with the AHJ will allow the team to plan for testing and account for extra time associated with creating a new path to approvals.

    In several cases, having the AHJs conduct regular inspections on site during construction actually lead to revised/modified design solutions. When authorities were able to see the strategies implemented, their level of comfort increased and sense of risk decreased – Limnologen was allowed to include more exposed wood on the interior, sprinklers were deemed unnecessary in LCT ONE.
  • SLIDE 35 – Insurance and Financing

    The Survey also explored Insurance and Financing with the project teams to determine if wood solutions presented any particular challenges or opportunities to obtaining financing or insurance.
  • SLIDE 36 – Insurance

    In all European cases, the timber structure did not present a barrier to obtaining insurance for designers or during construction – in fact we got a lot of funny looks and confused people when we asked about this.

    Some unique situations were relayed by participants but were not related to wood.

    Tamedia local, executing architects carried extra insurance – separated from blanket policy because of risk identified with working with new ‘high profile’ designer, and additional coordination effort was anticipated.

    The only project that experienced a premium due specifically to wood was Earth Sciences Building – for ‘Course of Construction Insurance’ it was classified as combustible, the same risk factor as a light wood frame building even though true risk is much lower or even non-existent, a premium of 2.5 times the cost of a ‘non-combustible’ structure was experienced.
  • SLIDE 37 – Financing

    The discussion of financing was fairly straight forward. In all cases, within the context of each project’s jurisdiction, no participants reported that any unusual financing protocols were required and no project experienced any challenges obtaining financing attributable to the use of mass timber. The most common method was self-financing, and some projects did access additional funding through
    incentive programs.

    In the case of self-financed projects it was emphasized that those were approached as prototypes or pilot projects. Feedback from project developers for Limnologen, Holz8 (H8), Forte and LCT ONE clearly indicated that financing was approached as an investment in future development; an opportunity to test design, systems, materials, process, performance and market uptake. Participants described the financial risk of a prototype approach to be within acceptable range given the perceived impact a successful built example of mass timber construction could have on the market.

    Incentive funding was not emphasized as significant, except in the case of Earth Sciences Building, our only NA example, where it was the difference between pursuing a wood solution and not.
  • SLIDE 38 – Building Performance

    The Survey gathered information from project participants about building performance and operations in order to identify any unique issues, benefits or challenges of operating a tall mass timber building that arise after occupancy.

    Participants were asked to comment on building systems, any monitoring devices or programs in place, occupant concerns, operation costs, as well any positive or negative experiences with regular maintenance as compared to a building with a conventional structure.
  • SLIDE 39 – Complementary Performance Objectives

    In all cases, participants indicated that mass timber was perceived as a beneficial material to support as combination of objectives.

    It supports a high performing envelope. As a poor conductor of heat, it minimizes thermal bridging, improving the effectiveness of the insulation compared to many conventional envelope assemblies.

    In several instances participants identified the complementary advantage of achieving good airtightness owing to the precise cut and fit of prefabricated elements. These advantages were emphasized most by participants of buildings with panelized timber structures, where there are fewer joints, gaps and penetrations that require sealing as compared to other systems (3XGRUN, Cenni di cambiamento, Bridport House, Limnologen). This aligns very well with the passive house standard – the 3xGrun project although not a certified passive house meets the performance requirements for energy and air tightness. It was able to eliminate many systems and equipment by maximizing the efficiency of the envelope and other passive systems – simplifying operation/maintenance and of course reducing capital and operational costs.

    In all cases, participants emphasized occupant education as an essential part of a robust maintenance plan that supports the best building performance. In several residential projects cases, training sessions for
    tenants and new owners were provided.
  • SLIDE 40 – Occupant well-being and quality of space

    Again, a very strong theme among every project – often brought up as part of the rationale for working with wood for structure, was the benefits associated with occupant satisfaction.

    We are naturally attracted to natural shapes, forms and textures, and wood is widely understood as a material that contributes to our sense of well being in spaces, and can be a very healthy alternative to other finishes as an exposed surface on the interior.

  • SLIDE 41 – Monitoring

    As identified before, every participant agrees that sharing lessons, ideas and performance data about tall wood building examples is key to advancing the industry. Although there were few buildings able to provide operational data given most are in the early stages of operation, there were three areas of interest that emerged:

    Moisture – while no one identified moisture as an issue, provided buildings are maintained and operated correctly, participants did recognize that moisture is perceived to be a ‘threat’ or challenge of wood structure. Limnologen and Forte include moisture sensors throughout the envelope and Limnologen is engaged in long term monitoring and research projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of design strategies.

    Energy Performance: the ability of wood to facilitate great performance and support passive systems makes it really important to monitor performance and communicate results.

    Occupant comfort: there are a couple of examples using surveys of occupants to gather this information, also critical to the story of supporting human health and well-being.

    Open sourcing results: two buildings report comprehensive post construction building performance monitoring programs:
    LCT ONE plans to implement an extensive measurement and verification program, and to share data as part of the
    LifeCycle Hub which you can learn more about at, and Limnologen has an extensive and ongoing partnership with two Universities to publish performance data.
  • SLIDE 42 – Final Message
  • SLIDE 43 – The Strongest Message

    Overall, the strongest message from all participants was that wood construction for taller buildings is a valid construction method. Participants were clear that they were advocates of wood solutions where wood makes sense – while it is not the solution for EVERY project, it should be considered much more widely, and ultimately has the potential to transform the construction industry.
  • SLIDE 44 – What’s Still Needed

    SO what do need to build more momentum and support more built examples? In North America, and around the world, most participants noted that testing data, especially for fire resistance is needed. The perception of risk will be reduced as the pool of testing data grows. Performance monitoring data is also key, along with market perception research – the market still perceives all timber construction to be the same – it is generally ignorant to the difference between light frame construction and mass timber elements – building familiarity with the qualities of these products and the quality of space that can be expected will be key to building credibility and capacity for tall wood construction.

    Of course, supportive policy frameworks will certainly be key – again I think the benefits of mass timber as a building material as a complementary approach to energy efficiency and carbon reduction, and advocating for aligned policies that serve to move beyond single benefits will be most valuable.

    I think it was clear from the Survey that the range in design and construction techniques were evolving to respond to the varied code requirements, market demands and expectations, climates and regulatory conditions – those will continue to be refined become more efficient as more examples are realized.

    Product suppliers, heavy timber construction specialists, and deeply knowledgeable fabricators are still developing in NA.
  • SLIDE 45 – Keys to Success

    These are what rose to the top, pretty simple, but I think compelling.

    Supportive governing policy is key
    Collaborate, research, engage
    Innovate holistically, not just with wood
    Early effort is essential
  • Slide 46 – Lessons for North America
    Final lessons to be drawn from these participants that I think are particularly compelling for our market are these:
    Wood offers multiple benefits:
    Energy – efficiency, aligns well with passive strategies
    Quality – high quality construction and compelling quality of space
    Low carbon – embodied and operational
    Regional imperative – poised to capitalize and grow our established timber and lumber industries with valuable products
    To keep in mind as we move forward in North America:
    Integrate timber construction expertise in design
    Take better advantage of prefabrication
    Code barriers can be overcome
  • Slide 47 – What’s Next?
  • Slide 48 – reThink Wood

    The reThink Wood initiative is a coalition of interests representing North America’s wood products industry and related stakeholders. The coalition shares a passion for wood products and the forests they come from. Innovative new technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls, and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction.


    *Citation Reference:
    Forestry Innovation Investment and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, (2014). Survey of International Tall Wood Buildings, Retrieved on 05/2014 from
  • Survey of international tall wood buildings 2015 re think wood presentation

    2. 2. 2 MARKET CONTEXT
    3. 3. 3The Opportunity
    4. 4. 4Michael Green Architects Photo Credit: Ema Peter Architecture by: Perkins+Will Photo credit: Martin Tessler Architecture by: GILLES HUOT. A R C H I T E C T E Photo credit:: Architecture by Harry Wild Jones
    5. 5. 5 ?? MomentumMomentum
    7. 7. 7Scope Compile experiences from key stakeholders in tall wood construction: Areas of Inquiry Lessons learned Project insurance Project financing Building ops/maint. Stakeholder Groups Owners/Developers Design Teams Authorities Construction Teams
    8. 8. 8 * as of 9/20/2013 Approach and Methodology
    9. 9. 9 * as of 9/20/2013
    10. 10. 10 * as of 9/20/2013 Deliverables
    11. 11. 11Participant Project
    12. 12. 12perkinswill.comt • E3 • Kaden Klingbeil Berlin First example of timber structure above 5 storeys 2008 Architecture by Kaden Klingbeil Photo credit: Bernd Borachrt E3 BERLIN, GERMANY Commercial/ Residential Post/Beam 7 Storeys Completed 2008
    13. 13. 13perkinswill.comt Architecture by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg Photo credit: Midroc Limnologen VÄXJÖ, SWEDEN Residential Panelized 8 Storeys Completed 2009
    14. 14. 14perkinswill.comt Architecture by Karakusevic Carson Photo credit: Willmott Dixon Group Bridport House LONDON, ENGLAND Residential Panelized 8 Storeys Completed 2010
    15. 15. 15perkinswill.comt Berlin 2011 • 3xGRUN • Rozynsk i Sturm Architecture by Rozynski Sturm Photo credit: Stefan Mueller 3XGRÜN BERLIN, GERMANY Residential Panels/Post/Beam 5 Storeys Completed 2011
    16. 16. 16perkinswill.comt Architecture by Schankula Architekten Photo credit: Huber&Sohn Holz 8 BAD AIBLING, GERMANY Commercial/ Residential Panelized 8 Storeys Completed 2011
    17. 17. 17perkinswill.comt Architecture by Lend Lease Photo credit: Lend Lease Forté MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA Commercial/ Residential Panelized 10 Storeys Completed 2012
    18. 18. 18perkinswill.comt Architecture by Perkins+Will Photo credit: Martin Tessler Earth Sciences Building VANCOUVER, CANADA Institutional Post/Beam 5 Storeys Completed 2012
    19. 19. 19perkinswill.comt Architecture by Hermann Kaufmann Photo credit: LCT ONE DORNBIRN, AUSTRIA Commercial Panels/Post/Beam 8 Storeys Completed 2012
    20. 20. 20perkinswill.comt Architecture by Shigeru Ban Photo credit: Didier de la Tour Tamedia ZURICH, SWITZERLAND Commercial Post/Beam 6 Storeys Completed 2013
    21. 21. 21perkinswill.comt Architecture by Rossi Prodi Photo credit: Polaris Real Estate Cenni di Cambiamento MILAN, ITALY Commercial/ Residential Panelized 9 Storeys Completed 2013
    22. 22. 22 LESSONS LEARNED
    23. 23. 23 Limnologen Architecture by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg Photo credit: Midroc Why Tall Wood?
    24. 24. 24 Forte Architecture and Photo credit: Lend Lease Rationale and Motivation • Market Leadership and Innovation • Environmental Benefit of Wood • Construction Schedule Savings
    25. 25. 25 Limnologen Architecture by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg Photo credit: Midroc Supportive Governing Policy • Carbon taxes and reporting • Renewable resources policies • Energy efficiency policy • Timber industry incentives and support
    26. 26. 26Best Practices
    27. 27. 27 A Successful Approach • Commit • Conduct Market research • Create research partnerships Limnologen Architecture by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg Photo credit: Midroc
    28. 28. 28 Cenni di Cambiamento Architecture by Rossi Prodi Photo credit: Polaris A Successful Approach • Collaborate/Integrate design and fabrication • Innovate Holistically
    29. 29. 29 A Successful Approach • Pre-plan and plan again • Share LCT ONE Architecture by Hermann Kaufmann Photo credit:
    30. 30. 30 Limnologen Architecture by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg Photo credit: Midroc Design and Construction Solutions
    31. 31. 31 Char layer, sprinklers, gypsum Panels favoured for residential Separated or decoupled floors/ceilings Structural timber not exposed, moisture sensors Concrete core, CLT load bearing walls Raised floors, dropped ceilings 3XGrun Architecture by Rosynski_Strum Photo credit: Stefan Mueller Range of Design Solutions
    32. 32. 32 A Range of Construction Solutions Limit mix of materials and penetrations Precast concrete accelerates schedule All or nothing Details make all the difference Material interfaces require special attention Holz8 Architecture by Shankula Architekten Photo credit: Huber&Sohn
    33. 33. 33 Working Through Approvals • Collaborate Early • Establish a methodology of compliance • Test • Account for innovation and engagement Design Team: Online Questionnaire Participant Responses
    34. 34. 34 Overcoming Code Challenges • Educate the Authority along with project team. • Onsite AHJ Inspections
    36. 36. 36 Tamedia Architecture by Shigeru Ban Photo credit: Didier de la Tour Insurance • Insurance coverage and costs were similar or identical to conventional in almost all cases.
    37. 37. 37 Earth Sciences Building Architecture by Perkins+Will Photo credit: Martin Tessler Financing • Self-financed or traditional lending • Projects were completed within set budgets • Significant incentive funding accessed in NA only
    39. 39. 39 3XGrun Architecture by Rosynski Sturm Photo credit: Stefane Mueller Complementary Performance Objectives • Wood supports an efficient envelope • Aligns well with passive design strategies (and Passive House Certification).
    40. 40. 40 3XGrun Architecture by Rozynski Sturm Photo credit: Stefan Mueller Occupant well-being and quality of space • Exposed wood creates warm spaces • Wood is a healthy material
    41. 41. 41 LCT ONE Architecture by Hermann Kaufmann Photo credit: Monitoring • Moisture • Energy performance • Occupant comfort • Open source results
    42. 42. 42 FINAL MESSAGE
    43. 43. 43 The Strongest Message • Tall wood construction is a valid construction method with the potential to transform the construction industry.
    44. 44. 44 Architecture by Kaden Klingbeil Photo credit: Bernd Borchardt What’s Still Needed • Testing and monitoring data • Market acceptance research • Policy frameworks – regulatory mechanisms and government support • Refinement in design and construction techniques • Product suppliers
    45. 45. 45 LCT ONE Architecture by Hermann Kaufmann Photo credit: Keys to Success • Supportive governing policy is key • Collaborate, research, engage • Innovate holistically, not just with wood • Early effort is essential
    46. 46. 46 UBC Earth Sciences Building Architecture by Perkins+Will Photo credit: Martin Tessler Lessons for North America • Wood offers multiple benefits: • Energy • Quality • Low carbon • Regional imperative • Integrate timber construction expertise in design • Take better advantage of prefabrication • Code barriers can be overcome
    47. 47. 47 UBC Earth Sciences Building Architecture by Perkins+Will Photo credit: Martin Tessler What’s Next? • Performance and cost data • Research partnerships • Policy development • Engage authorities
    48. 48. 48 Download the full report: The reThink Wood initiative is a coalition of interests representing North America’s wood products industry and related stakeholders. The coalition shares a passion for wood products and the forests they come from. Innovative new technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls, and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction. FOR MORE TALL WOOD INFORMATION VISIT: *Forestry Innovation Investment and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, (2014). Survey of International Tall Wood Buildings, Retrieved on 05/2014 from