Faced with climate change and the need for low carbon solutions, mass timber is opening new design possibilities for sustainably built, climate-resilient buildings. The purpose of this primer is to provide an overview and introduction to mass timber technology and its many applications ranging from long-spanning roof structures to tall timber towers. Mass timber products are thick, compressed layers of wood, creating strong, structural load-bearing elements that can be constructed into panelized components. They are typically formed through lamination, fasteners, or adhesives. Mass timber can complement light-frame and hybrid options and is an environmentally friendly substitute for carbon-intensive materials and building systems.
Although numerous jurisdictions have established design guides for tall mass timber buildings, architects and engineers often do not have an awareness of the specialized building science knowledge needed to deliver well-performing projects. MTI worked collaboratively with industry, design professionals, academia, researchers and code experts to develop the scope and content of this mass timber building science primer. This resource is publicly available from the Canadian-based Mass Timber Institute and it was written by Dr. Ted Kesik and Rosemary Martin (in Partnership with RDH Building Science).