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

For the first time in 30 many years, Brown College commissioned a new student housing building for its Providence, Rhode Island, campus. To assist meet the university’s aim of being carbon neutral by 2040, the project workforce, together with Shawmut Design and Building and William Rawn Architects, selected cross-laminated timber (CLT), which also helped to help save time and improve flexibility about scheduling.

The products was just one aspect in helping this design and style-develop project complete on timetable, even inspite of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic early in building, according to Ron Simoneau, Shawmut govt vice president of instruction. The building system characteristics a 162-mattress home hall situated over first-floor providers aimed at bettering student actual physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“We collaborated with William Rawn to create a design and style-develop solution, which you typically don’t see with greater instruction customers,” Simoneau said. “This option shipping technique allows us get much more artistic in dilemma-fixing, ring out squander and optimize worth holistically.”  

Benefits: time financial savings and sustainability

CLT is created by a procedure of finger joining dimensional lumber to a distinct duration and gluing layers jointly perpendicularly. The layers — commonly three, 5, or 7 — get compressed to generate steady, sturdy planks. These structural factors can be purchased in measurements as massive as whichever will in good shape on to a trailer. The Brown U. building incorporates a hybrid technique of CLT and steel. 

“We made use of a steel structure with CLT planking as the floor/ceiling technique,” Simoneau said. “The hybrid solution saves a good deal of time in many means. CLT decking goes up at the exact time as the steel, for example, so crews don’t have to wait for platform concrete to dry and can commence functioning promptly after installation.”

This also indicates safer functioning ailments since the flooring are finished prior to any individual begins cutting holes for pipes, ductwork or electrical operates. Simoneau said a different perk is that CLT presents shorter direct occasions than a lot of prefabricated structural resources, this kind of as precast concrete plank. CLT is also adaptable and effortless to work with on-internet site. 

“CLT is a top quality, ultra-sustainable products with a greater charge than concrete or steel, but when you net it out with financial savings on scheduling and finishes, it will become a wash,” he said. “It just goes up so speedy.” 

In this project, the CLT is being made use of for all flooring and the roof assembly. The materials will be still left uncovered for wooden ceilings, which presents even much more charge- and time-financial savings by getting rid of drywall and portray. The heat of uncovered wooden — together with the lack of any off-gassing — also enhances the building’s sense of wellness.

Worries: unfamiliarity with materials and installation

There had been some worries related with the materials, Simoneau said.

“CLT is a somewhat new materials in the U.S., so there is not a enormous workforce experienced in putting in or functioning with it. And there are nuances about fireproofing — whilst it has an inherent rating as made use of in assembly — all building structure will have to be linked to steel,” he said.

Simoneau said monitoring resources, together with the CLT that came from Nordic Structure in Canada, created just one of the greatest hurdles to remaining on timetable. ​Brown U. plans to make student housing a lot less dense and was motivated to keep this building relocating toward the drop 2021 open up day as a lot of rooms had been by now committed to single occupancy. 

“One of the greatest worries was COVID’s impact on supply chain with factories shut down,” he said. “We by now tracked products and solutions diligently, but with COVID, it can be now a new amount of monitoring pieces that go jointly to protect against delays.”

Shawmut Vitals screens employees for COVID-19 signs as they enter the jobsite or business office.

Permission granted by Shawmut Design and Building


Building in no way stopped on the project as COVID-19 distribute throughout the region and Shawmut made use of the internet site to locate means of holding crews healthy. According to officers, the project helped the company determine out safety protocols, this kind of as particular protecting machines, daily temperature getting and screening for Shawmut Vitals, the company’s self-screening app

The jobsite — like all Shawmut web pages — is staffed with a COVID-19 officer who enforces safety principles. The enterprise also created a command middle to assist guide COVID-19 protocols and make certain they stick to all federal, point out, neighborhood and CDC suggestions.

“The project started off prior to COVID hit and Rhode Island in no way shut down building, so we ongoing to work via it,” Simoneau said. “When it hit, we had been all even now functioning outside and able to adapt with the mastering curve. We maintained distancing easily and as we uncovered much more, we worked with distinct businesses to keep up with benchmarks.”