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The Role of CLT in Fire-Resistant Construction Strategies

The Role of CLT in FireResistant Construction Strategies

CLT buildings are lightweight, which reduces structural requirements and allows for open floor plans with reduced barriers. Plus, CLT structures have proven extremely strong during multiple-story seismic testing!

CLT panels can also be prefabricated offsite for faster construction with reduced waste and noise emissions – an important benefit to both timeline and budget considerations of any building project.


CLT boasts a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to concrete but five times lighter, making it an appealing material choice for multistory structures. Furthermore, manufacturing and transport costs for CLT are considerably reduced; producing just one square foot requires roughly half the energy consumed when producing concrete and just 1% for steel production.

CLT’s insulation qualities make it a highly suitable material for residential and office buildings, and its seismic-resistance has been demonstrated through numerous earthquake simulation tests; one seven-story CLT building in Japan withstood 14 earthquake simulations successfully!

CLT structures demonstrate outstanding fire safety performance during fire safety testing, even under intense heat conditions. A CLT wall without gypsum board protection held its structure for over three hours of testing without experiencing significant structural degradation – far surpassing code requirements! Their thick panels make them harder to ignite; and even if they catch on fire, an outer layer of noncombustible char can protect their inner portions from further harm.

CLT panels can be connected together using glulam, shear plates and metal brackets to transfer forces. CLT can also be fabricated into various shapes and sizes such as curved walls and floors for efficient building processes and reduced joint counts; consequently making this material less vulnerable to damage and degradation over time resulting in longer durability over time.


CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) is a multi-layer wooden panel used for building walls, floors and roofs in many building types. Fabrication off-site to exacting standards enables reduced construction time and labor costs as well as greater design freedom – it can even be curved to meet project specific requirements!

Due to CLT’s layering technique, it offers both excellent fire and seismic resistance. When exposed to fire, its outer layers transform into insulating char, slowing down its spread and giving building occupants time to evacuate safely. CLT has undergone rigorous fire safety testing both locally and worldwide; when subjected to standard exposure tests a five-ply CLT panel kept its structural capacity for over three hours!

CLT panels also provide thermal performance benefits that significantly enhance energy efficiency in buildings, which may reduce heating and cooling bills as well as their carbon footprint compared to concrete and steel structures that use more fossil fuels in production.

Energy Efficiency

CLT material turns into an insulating blanket when exposed to fire, slowing its spread while giving time for residents and firefighters to escape safely and extinguish it more efficiently. Furthermore, drainage systems allow excess water to leave buildings quickly reducing collapse risk.

CLT provides greater energy efficiency than concrete or steel construction materials, using half as much energy for production compared to concrete and almost one percent less for steel production. Furthermore, CLT absorbs and stores carbon during its lifecycle, thus decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 15-26% less global warming potential (GWP).

CLT buildings can also be constructed closer to their sites, cutting transportation costs and energy use while simultaneously stimulating local economies as they’re produced in close proximity to where the building will stand. CLT can even generate jobs in construction and manufacturing industries alike!

CLT can also be utilized in seismically sensitive regions thanks to its rigidity and strength, serving as a cost-effective alternative to reinforced concrete in high-rise commercial and multistory residential buildings. Furthermore, panels can be manufactured off-site for faster assembly before being installed on an installed podium allowing developers to meet seismic regulations while meeting desired building height requirements.


CLTs are made of timber harvested and manufactured using renewable resources, making their carbon footprint lower than concrete or steel construction and not subject to emissions from cement kilns that produce conventional concrete.

CLT panels offer excellent fire resistance in an emergency, by creating a protective layer of char on their surfaces, slowing temperature rise and helping extinguish fire faster. Furthermore, CLT can be coated in noncombustible wallboard to enhance fire safety further.

CLT can also be utilized in high-rise buildings that would normally require concrete and steel for their construction, providing another advantage of CLT as it is lighter than concrete and can help lower seismic stresses – making it the perfect material to use in seismic zones.

CLT boasts an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio that surpasses that of concrete and steel, impressive fire protection features, and the capacity to withstand earthquakes – qualities which position it to make an impactful statement in U.S. building industry. Already used extensively on buildings five stories tall (such as Milwaukee’s Ascent building ) where twenty timber floors sit atop five concrete ones thanks to CLT’s superior safety and durability; an achievement only recently made possible thanks to CLT technology.

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