EllisDon receives federal support for timber research projects

Ontario Construction News staff writer

EllisDon has received more than $650,000 from Natural Resources Canada for two large-scale timber research projects.

The Mass Timber Modular System Project will receive over $110,000 from the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) Program, an initiative that encourages the greater use of wood in construction projects and supports Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Mass timber presents Canada with a significant opportunity to lower the emissions profile of Canada’s buildings sector. By supporting this work, the Government of Canada is helping build a greener future across the country, while accelerating economic opportunities in low-carbon building products,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Natural Resources.

EllisDon has designed and built a prototype of a mass timber–based volumetric modular system that can be used in the delivery of various residential buildings.

The project is examining the benefits of using mass timber in a modular application and is quantifying the efficiencies gained in production as well as the overall embodied carbon benefits over traditional materials.

EllisDon is also considering how this project could impact affordable housing with a market analysis to understand the outlook for using modular projects in the coming years and to align this project’s outcomes with Canada’s National Housing Strategy.

A full-scale mock-up of the project has recently been completed at EllisDon’s fabrication facility in Stoney Creek, Ontario, with the overall project set to be finalized later this year.

“We are moving toward a more sustainable future, and it’s important that we find innovative solutions to decarbonize the building sector, improve housing supply and increase the productivity of offsite construction methods. We are thrilled to work with the Government of Canada; its support with this funding will contribute to advancing the modular construction industry.”

EllisDon will also receive $550,000 for the Hybrid Timber Floor System Project underway with DIALOG.

The patent-pending Hybrid Timber Floor System is described as an innovative approach to the concept of hybridizing structural materials. It uses a mixture of materials such as concrete and steel combined with mass timber and reduces carbon while increasing building design possibilities.

As a composite of post-tensioned concrete, CLT and a structurally engaged topping, the EllisDon-DIALOG system allows mass timber–based floor systems to be used in non-residential long-span construction that had previously been limited to traditional building materials.

According to EllisDon and DIALOG’s study, this Hybrid Timber Floor System means mass timber can be used to meet the clear spans often desired in the commercial and institutional sectors while delivering exposed finishes.

The EllisDon and DIALOG study is currently underway at EllisDon’s modular fabrication facility in Stoney Creek. It will be completed later this year, with ongoing full-scale and long-term testing planned post-study.

“The hybrid panel presents a unique value proposition allowing for carbon sustainability, the ability for offsite prefabrication and long-span exposed ceilings desired by many commercial tenants,” said Mark Gaglione, director, building and material sciences, EllisDon. “Replacing steel and concrete with wood — which has significantly less embodied carbon — means that tall buildings could be designed to be lower in embodied carbon.

“The Hybrid Timber Floor System (HTFS) provides greater spans that are ideal for open floorplates or mixed use. HTFS is a game-changer over traditional hybrid wood construction. It allows for the possibility of using CLT in buildings of any type, height and size at a competitive cost.”


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