Shawmut higher ed project utilizes cross-laminated timber for speed, flexibility

For the initial time in 30 decades, Brown University commissioned a new college student housing creating for its Providence, Rhode Island, campus. To help fulfill the university’s purpose of getting carbon neutral by 2040, the task staff, such as Shawmut Design and style and Building and William Rawn Architects, selected cross-laminated timber (CLT), which also assisted to save time and maximize overall flexibility all-around scheduling.

The products was one particular variable in supporting this design-make task end on plan, even irrespective of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic early in development, in accordance to Ron Simoneau, Shawmut executive vice president of schooling. The creating application features a 162-bed home corridor positioned higher than initial-flooring services aimed at improving upon college student bodily, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“We collaborated with William Rawn to establish a design-make approach, which you normally do not see with larger schooling shoppers,” Simoneau stated. “This different shipping program lets us get extra resourceful in difficulty-fixing, ring out waste and improve worth holistically.”  

Gains: time savings and sustainability

CLT is created by a process of finger joining dimensional lumber to a specific duration and gluing layers jointly perpendicularly. The layers — commonly a few, five, or 7 — get compressed to develop consistent, robust planks. These structural elements can be purchased in measurements as massive as whichever will suit onto a trailer. The Brown U. creating incorporates a hybrid program of CLT and steel. 

“We utilized a steel composition with CLT planking as the flooring/ceiling program,” Simoneau stated. “The hybrid approach will save a whole lot of time in numerous methods. CLT decking goes up at the similar time as the steel, for illustration, so crews do not have to wait around for system concrete to dry and can get started doing the job straight away following installation.”

This also usually means safer doing the job problems due to the fact the floors are concluded before anybody starts chopping holes for pipes, ductwork or electrical runs. Simoneau stated yet another perk is that CLT offers shorter lead periods than a lot of prefabricated structural materials, this sort of as precast concrete plank. CLT is also versatile and effortless to operate with on-website. 

“CLT is a quality, extremely-sustainable products with a larger charge than concrete or steel, but when you net it out with savings on scheduling and finishes, it gets a clean,” he stated. “It just goes up so fast.” 

In this task, the CLT is getting utilized for all floors and the roof assembly. The product will be still left uncovered for wooden ceilings, which offers even extra charge- and time-savings by reducing drywall and painting. The heat of uncovered wooden — alongside with the absence of any off-gassing — also boosts the building’s perception of wellness.

Problems: unfamiliarity with product and installation

There have been some troubles connected with the product, Simoneau stated.

“CLT is a somewhat new product in the U.S., so there’s not a substantial workforce educated in installing or doing the job with it. And there are nuances all-around fireproofing — whilst it has an inherent ranking as utilized in assembly — all creating composition need to be related to steel,” he stated.

Simoneau said monitoring materials, such as the CLT that came from Nordic Structure in Canada, generated one particular of the most significant hurdles to staying on plan. ​Brown U. designs to make college student housing significantly less dense and was determined to preserve this creating relocating toward the slide 2021 open up date as a lot of rooms have been currently dedicated to solitary occupancy. 

“One of the most significant troubles was COVID’s impact on provide chain with factories shut down,” he stated. “We currently tracked products and solutions very carefully, but with COVID, it truly is now a new level of monitoring elements that go jointly to prevent delays.”

Shawmut Vitals screens personnel for COVID-19 indicators as they enter the jobsite or place of work.

Permission granted by Shawmut Design and style and Building


Building by no means stopped on the task as COVID-19 distribute across the nation and Shawmut utilized the website to locate methods of trying to keep crews healthful. According to officials, the task assisted the business figure out safety protocols, this sort of as personal protective products, everyday temperature getting and screening for Shawmut Vitals, the company’s self-screening application

The jobsite — like all Shawmut web pages — is staffed with a COVID-19 officer who enforces safety policies. The corporation also created a command middle to help guide COVID-19 protocols and guarantee they comply with all federal, condition, regional and CDC suggestions.

“The task started off before COVID hit and Rhode Island by no means shut down development, so we continued to operate by it,” Simoneau stated. “When it hit, we have been all continue to doing the job outside the house and equipped to adapt with the learning curve. We taken care of distancing quickly and as we uncovered extra, we labored with various organizations to preserve up with expectations.”