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John Hunter
Senior Member
Username: johnhunter

Post Number: 181
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, August 07, 2023 - 05:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We're seeing lots of interest in mass timber for upcoming projects. It seems like mass timber is a sort of hybrid - it's both a structural component and a finish element. How are my learned colleagues approaching this? Are you writing the Section(s), editing the Sections prepared by the SE, or perhaps having a stand-alone Section analogous to a concrete finishing or AESS Section to deal with the finishes?
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Monday, August 07, 2023 - 07:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

You might want to start here https://awc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/tmt_toolkit.pdf

There are mass timber configurations with little to no exposed wood, at least when it comes to the timber. To achieve fire resistance in IV-A construction virtually every bit of timber needs to be covered with multiple layers of gyp board. Less so in IV-B. Once you get to IV-C, the mass timber provides the protection, structure, and finish.

As to who specifies what? Perhaps a long talk with your SE and designers would be a good starting point. The more decorative the exposed timber, the less you want SE specifying the finish systems and veneers.
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 1481
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2023 - 01:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In our office, mass timber is specified (or will be specified) by the structural engineers, but if necessary the architectural side will have input on the appearance. This isn't that much different than when we specify glue-laminated beams with an "architectural " appearance -- and we've been doing that for decades. (or for that matter in conditions where we really care about the finish on the structural concrete.) Since the structural capabilities are of foremost concern, start with that and make modifications to appearance as needed.

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