Cross laminated timber can be defined as a prefabricated solid engineered wood panel that is made up of two or three bonded layers of solid-sawn lumber. This lumber is bonded together with the help of adhesives as well as with beech screws or dowels and aluminum nails. This process helps provide shape to the wooden panels and can be further used for roof, floor, or wall applications. Cross laminated timber is a largesized building material that is generally used for applications such as residential buildings, educational institutes, government buildings, and industrial and commercial spaces.
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Cross laminated timber is used as a sustainable building material and is considered a sustainable solution as compared to concrete, structural steel, and load bearing bricks and block construction. Cross laminated timber is manufactured from timber, which is easily recyclable. Cross laminated timber was first introduced in Europe in the early 1990s. Since then it has been used all over the world due to its favorable properties. The development of cross laminated timber started in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. During the development stage, only two layered timber structures were used for roofing systems. This two- layered timber structure was only used to construct residential buildings. However, research and development, wide acceptance of the product, and initiating building codes helped increase demand for cross laminated timber for non-residential applications.
The demand for cross laminated timber has increased due to awareness about deforestation and climate change in the construction industry worldwide. In most of countries, forest and climate sustainability is on the priority list. Thus, government agencies, timber trade federations, and large construction companies are promoting the usage of cross laminated timber in more and more construction projects. Cross laminated timber reduces fresh water consumption. It enhances indoor environment quality, which helps in the sustainability of the environment. It also helps in keeping the environment clean by generating zero waste during its production.
Cross laminated timber has wider usage in Europe as compared to other regions in the world. Since cross laminated timber is a new material, there is little specific technical documentation regarding the erection of structures designed and built with cross laminated timber panels. The technical documents currently available mostly are related to the European and North American region. Therefore, design professionals, builders, architects, etc. from other parts of the world find the documents insufficient and incomplete to help them utilize cross laminated timber in their construction projects. In most parts of the world, concrete and steel are largely used as compared to cross laminated timber. Some governments do not allow the use of wood as a structural material to construct high storey buildings. In the U.S., the International Building Code (IBC) limits wooden buildings to four stories.
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Most of the cross laminated timber production takes place in Austria and Germany, where prominent companies such as Stora Enso, Binderholz Bausysteme GmbH, and Mayr-Melnhof Holz Holding AG are located. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the U.K., and Italy constitute more than 50% market share of the global cross laminated timber market. Additionally, the cross laminated timber market in the U.S. and Canada is driven by demand from architects and engineers for the usage of wood-based building products and building systems. Previously in the U.S., the usage of wooden buildings was restricted to three to four stories due to regulations of the International Building Codes. However, wide acceptance of the product and development in building codes have facilitated further usage of cross laminated timber for high rise buildings.