Builder claims CLT beats stick-frame or concrete
September 25, 2019
Building new condominium projects with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other factory-produced wood elements can save builders time and buyers money while protecting the environment, claims Vancouver veteran homebuilder Adera Development Corp.’s vice-president of development Eric Andreasen.
Adera, which has built about 11,500 homes over the past 50 years, has switched completely to building with cross-laminated timber said Andreasen.
The company is currently developing a six-storey, 72-unit condo building and plans a neighbouring stacked townhouse project in the suburban community of Coquitlam.
The factory-built CLT panels, he said, are much less costly than concrete and less labour-intensive than building with conventional wood framing.
Adera is pre-selling condos at its new Duet project from $700 per square foot, which Andreasen noted is “considerably less” than comparable prices for new concrete condo towers in Coquitlam.
According to a second quarter 2019 survey by Fifth Avenue Marketing, the average pre-sale price of new concrete high-rise condos in the Coquitlam market range from $850 to $955 per square foot, while stick-frame, low-rise condos are pre-selling to a maximum of $760 per square foot.
Andreasen said the savings at Duet are because CLT panels are pre-manufactured in B.C. and require less labour and time on site than concrete, which uses rebar and must be poured and allowed to set. He added that CLT is also fire resistant and as quiet for residences as concrete construction.
It is also greener, according to the B.C. government, which this year changed the provincial Building Code to allow mass timber structures of up to 12 storeys (up from six).
“Mass timber technology allows faster construction where large sections of a building can be manufactured in a plant and then assembled on site,” said B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson in a statement.
The University of British Columbia’s Brock Commons student housing, at 18 storeys, was a pilot test for a high-rise residential building constructed out of mass timber when it opened two years ago. According to B.C. government data, the carbon benefit from the wood used in the Brock Commons building was equivalent to taking more than 500 cars off the road for a year.