According to Patrick Crabbe, who oversees everything from pre-construction to execution for all of Bird Construction’s mass timber projects in Canada, supply chain difficulties have led to extended lead times on commodities such as steel I-joist and pre-engineered building components. These difficulties are creating new opportunities for mass timber products in the construction of low-rise commercial buildings in Canada.
Crabbe points out mass timber beams and columns can make a leap into the one-story, 10,000 to 15,000 square foot office-retail building world because they can be manufactured in only eight weeks and installed in another two. While mass timber might cost a bit more than steel, delays in delivery and lead time of I-joists has brought up the end costs of buildings constructed in steel.
Crabbe expects mass timber to grow in the “hybrid industrial office” sector, even when steel supply returns to normal, because “people are going to want to be in these higher quality spaces” and the buildings will generate more revenue for owners. What’s more, mass timber has environmental and carbon sequestration benefits over steel and concrete. “To meet the infrastructure pressures of society, this is a solution without the environmental detriment.”
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Steel supply chain issues create opportunities for mass timber: expert