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Building Affordable Homes with Mass Timber Construction – Adopting an Emerging Construction Technology


Housing infrastructure is one of the largest difficulties in India and other countries due to the surge in population migration to metro areas. Homelessness, housing inequity, and affordability are all significant problems in our society.  

Adapting new construction technologies will enable us to build homes more quickly and affordably while also improving their quality, standard, and people’s lives.  

Construction materials must be produced utilizing renewable, low-energy resources. Many nations, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, etc., are building multi-story structures using mass timber construction, an emerging technology being used globally to build homes faster, cleaner, and carbon neutral.  

Material costs change with market demand, and land prices increase. Design teams are using prefabricated mass timber solutions to speed up project completion, assemble structures with fewer workers in less time, and save money while adding value. 

What Is Mass Timber Construction?

A United Nations research forecasts that by 2050, more than 7 billion people would reside in urban areas. Informal settlements are becoming a common element of urban life as a result of the fast urbanization brought on by population growth. Affordable housing must be planned and constructed more quickly to meet the growing urban poor.  

Conventional construction methods need longer construction times, which leads to the squatter, and unorganized settlements and significantly increases global carbon emissions. Today’s needs include the need to build accessible, healthful homes that are sustainable and use improved construction technology.  

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Forest Service’s Wood Innovation Grant (WIG) examined the evolution of multifamily affordable housing in the United States. The study took into account the difficulties in producing inexpensive housing of acceptable quality at a reasonable price, the industry’s social, economic, and racial factors, as well as the concerns that the acute lack of affordable housing generates. The researchers examined mass timber as a potential affordable housing solution. 

Mass Timber Construction is considered to be one of the most effective options available. It uses a renewable resource, wood, and is characterized by prefabricated components that are built offsite and erected on site in a shorter amount of time with a reduced reliance on labor. 

Benefits of Mass Timber Construction 

The following characteristics make timber construction one of the most sustainable and sustainable methods in the world:  

  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable construction material – the wood used in mass timber is harvested from young trees that are found in sustainably managed forests. 
  • A Renewable Resource – It is possible to reduce global CO2 emissions by 14% to 30% and fossil fuel use by 12% to 19%. 
  • Lighter in Weight – Compared to concrete and steel, mass wood is lighter in weight, which lowers the dead load and enables us to use it as a material to add additional floors over existing structures where it is legal. It also retains CO2 and uses less carbon during manufacture than either concrete or steel. 
  • Health and Aesthetic Benefits – Timber contributes toward health and aesthetic benefits. The warmth of wood has been shown to improve the residents’ emotional wellbeing. It has been demonstrated to lower stress, improve physical, mental, and emotional health, and heighten positive emotions. The quality of the environment indoors is improved. Most people are drawn to the beauty of natural wood because it has a pleasant ambiance and is a renewable resource. 
  • Quicker Turnaround with Cost Benefits – There is a significant cap on on-site work and the majority of it is done with extreme accuracy in factories. This ensures quicker assembly and cuts costs overall. 
  • Affordable – Due to its low cost, mass timber may have a significant effect on the housing market. It is much less expensive to make than both steel and concrete. Since mass timber is also supplied from the local market, it frequently incurs lower transportation expenses. 
  • Easy Installation – Mass timber installation is a simple and modular procedure. Due to their lightweight weight, the wooden pieces may be molded to fit into any sized space. Mass wood is relatively simple to install on-site because it frequently comes prefabricated.  
  • Durable – Mass timber structures are preferable for inexpensive housing projects since they are made to survive longer than other wooden structures. Additionally, mass timber is resistant to heavy winds, rain, and fire. Because of this, mass wood is a great material for new home construction in disaster-prone areas. 
  • Insulation – Timber acts as an excellent insulator. Wood reacts in the opposite way to steel, which weakens or collapses because of its tendency to expand when heated. The wood dries out and gets harder when it’s heated. Consequently, there will be no energy loss from your wooden home whether it is being heated or cooled. 
  • Fire Resistant – To assure occupant safety and to satisfy building code requirements, mass timber columns, beams, and panels have been fire tested and rated. Building types determined by local and state building codes are the basis for fire ratings. The char zone is created when the exterior of the wood chars predictably while the wood burns. In the event of a fire, a char zone that has formed insulates the remaining wood, preserving its structural integrity. Engineers calculate the necessary thickness for the columns, beams, and panels to retain their structural integrity and then add additional few inches of material to create a char zone that would burn out in the event of a fire. This structural layout guarantees that it will be fire-safe structurally. 

Mass timber products, which are available in a range of shapes and sizes, can help meet the need. Wood is layered across at a 90-degree angle and bonded into place to create the wood panel method known as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). It is suitable for use in mid- and high-rise construction due to its strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity. Dimensional lumber is positioned on the edge and is called nail-laminated timber (NLT) when individual laminations are secured with nails or screws. 

Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT) panels are friction-fitted together with hardwood dowels and stacked like NLT. Since there are no glue, nails, or screws used to create its strength, it is more sustainable, simpler to mill, and appealing for exposed constructions. A structurally engineered wood product called Glued-Laminated Timber (Glulam) is frequently used for beams and columns. It permits both curvature and lengthy exposed frame spans. 

Future of Mass Timber Construction  

Rapid urbanization and the existence of mediocre, affordable housing provide a serious social, economic, and cultural dilemma. This demonstrates why it is important to have a strong agenda for developing buildings with higher standards, a quicker construction process, and a shift toward a repeatable, stronger, resilient, durable, energy-efficient, and natural housing option.  

We need to consume fewer building materials because their production requires a lot of energy. The development of mass timber buildings is a significant step toward reducing climate change and delivering mass-produced, inexpensive houses faster. We can develop vast tracts of sustainably managed forest to replenish the green cover. It helps to improve air quality by constructing these green covers. 

Construction with mass timber cuts down on waste production. Utilizing this technology enables standard quality space by allowing prefabricated components to be manufactured off-site. It becomes an emerging sustainable material when using engineered new-growth lumber. Building mass timber dwellings will play a significant role in addressing the housing shortage as well as reducing slums, homeless camps, temporary housing, and illegal settlements. 

This material offers all-around performance with favorable economic benefits and low high-performance environmental impact. Since these goods may be produced utilizing local wood, mass timber building is ideally suited to the climatic conditions of India. Utilizing local timber strengthens the rural economy of the area. 

Follow Indovance Inc. for AEC Industry Updates, CAD Tips, and Global Construction News. 

Indovance Inc.with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free. 

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 300 full-time employees and more than 600 customers in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, we are poised for the next level of success. 

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on  +1-919-238-4044

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