flexiblefullpage
billboard
interstitial1
catfish1
Currently Reading

Three AEC firms launch a mass timber product for quicker school construction

Wood

Three AEC firms launch a mass timber product for quicker school construction

TimberQuest brand seeks to avoid overinvestment in production that has plagued other CLT providers.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | June 10, 2021
Exterior rendering of mass-timber TimberQuest school building

TimberQuest, which uses prefabricated mass timber components, can significantly reduce a project's design and construction periods. Images: Courtesy of XL Construction

The website expertmarketresearch.com estimates that the value of the global cross-laminated timber market hit $779 million in 2020, and is expected to grow annually by 13% to $1.624 billion in 2026.

As demand for mass timber increases, branding is beginning to emerge. One example is TimberQuest, an advanced prefabricated school construction product for the California educational market, which was recently launched by three Bay Area AEC firms: Milpitas-based XL Construction, San Jose-based Aedis Architects, and Saratoga-based Daedalus Structural Engineering.

The trio’s first project using its product is a new 4,000-sf building for kindergarten students with four 1,000-sf classrooms, each with its own restroom, for Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, Calif., whose 63-acre campus and K-12 curriculum serve more than 800 families. The school greenlighted this project—which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation—on April 1, and the mass timber components were fabricated and delivered to the construction site by June 1. The building team is targeting an August 31 completion date, in time for the fall semester.

“Two of the things we liked most about the TimberQuest classroom design is the ‘daylighting’ created by the structure’s large windows combined with the exposed wood interior that makes the classroom very pleasant and appealing,” says Michael Dwyer, Sacred Heart Schools’ director of operations. “The building’s overall energy efficiency supports our sustainability philosophy and stands as a shining example of these values we teach to our students.”

Also see: A fly-through video rendering of a TimberQuest classroom

 

A FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION APPROACH TO MASS TIMBER CONSTRUCTION

Interior rendering of TimberQuest classroom
TimberQuest buildings are available in three-to-nine classroom sizes, and are designed to let in lots of natural light.

 

Matt Larson, XL Construction’s preconstruction director, tells BD+C that his firm and Aedis had worked together previously. “We also knew that we needed a structural expert on both mass timber and California codes. Daedalus [has] local expertise, and has partnered with Fast + Epp, a leading expert on mass timber, to provide both expertise under one roof. XL, Aedis and Daedalus have a core commitment to sustainability and innovation, which are at the heart of TimberQuest.”

Larson went on to explain TimberQuest’s approach to fabrication. For higher-tech items that require expensive machining (such as the mass timber components, the HVAC system, and the glazing system), the building team partners with local suppliers with existing plants. For lower-tech parts of panel fabrication, “there is no requirement for a large plant or expensive tooling,” says Larson. To fabricate walls and roofs, flexible approaches can include “popup” factories in temporary facilities, and using XL’s shop/yard. Fabricating onsite is also an option.

“We feel that this approach will help us avoid a common failure point for this type of venture, namely the overinvestment in facilities and tooling and lack of ability to quickly scale up or down,” says Larson.

 

FEWER DESIGN DAYS AND ONSITE TRADES

Several factors contribute to TimberQuest’s production speed. These include pre-made design for manufacturing and assembly, and the reduction in the number of trades needed for a project. Larson says that the building team has winnowed the design process—normally 6-12 months—to 6-8 weeks; and has cut the number of trades onsite—typically between 20 and 30—to around 10. “And we hope to reduce it further in the future,” he says.

TimberQuest buildings are available in three- to nine-classroom sizes, between 3,000 and 9,000 sf. A total of nine interior layouts are included in the precheck design, including standard classroom, large classroom, breakout space, office/conference, science, kindergarten and three restroom configurations. The all-electric design utilizes heat pump technology to exceed California’s Title 24 energy usage standards by between 35% and 60%. TimberQuest buildings seek to take full advantage of renewable energy resources.

Related Stories

Mass Timber | Jun 17, 2024

British Columbia hospital features mass timber community hall

The Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project in Duncan, British Columbia, features an expansive community hall featuring mass timber construction. The hall, designed to promote social interaction and connection to give patients, families, and staff a warm and welcoming environment, connects a Diagnostic and Treatment (“D&T”) Block and Inpatient Tower.

Mass Timber | Jun 10, 2024

5 hidden benefits of mass timber design

Mass timber is a materials and design approach that holds immense potential to transform the future of the commercial building industry, as well as our environment. 

Products and Materials | May 31, 2024

Top building products for May 2024

BD+C Editors break down May's top 15 building products, from ​​​​​​​Durat and CaraGreen's Durat Plus to Zurn Siphonic Roof Drains.

Construction Costs | May 31, 2024

Despite challenges, 2024 construction material prices continue to stabilize

Gordian’s Q2 2024 Quarterly Construction Cost Insights Report indicates that supply chain issues notwithstanding, many commodities are exhibiting price normalization.

Mass Timber | May 22, 2024

3 mass timber architecture innovations

As mass timber construction evolves from the first decade of projects, we're finding an increasing variety of mass timber solutions. Here are three primary examples.

Mass Timber | May 8, 2024

Portland's Timberview VIII mass timber multifamily development will offer more than 100 affordable units

An eight-story, 72,000-sf mass timber apartment building in Portland, Ore., topped out this winter and will soon offer over 100 affordable units. The structure is the tallest affordable housing mass timber building and the first Type IV-C affordable housing building in the city. 

Mass Timber | Apr 25, 2024

Bjarke Ingels Group designs a mass timber cube structure for the University of Kansas

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and executive architect BNIM have unveiled their design for a new mass timber cube structure called the Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design. A six-story, 50,000-sf building for learning and collaboration, the light-filled KUbe will house studio and teaching space, 3D-printing and robotic labs, and a ground-level cafe, all organized around a central core.

ProConnect Events | Apr 23, 2024

5 more ProConnect events scheduled for 2024, including all-new 'AEC Giants'

SGC Horizon present 7 ProConnect events in 2024.

75 Top Building Products | Apr 22, 2024

Enter today! BD+C's 75 Top Building Products for 2024

BD+C editors are now accepting submissions for the annual 75 Top Building Products awards. The winners will be featured in the November/December 2024 issue of Building Design+Construction. 

Mass Timber | Apr 22, 2024

British Columbia changing building code to allow mass timber structures of up to 18 stories

The Canadian Province of British Columbia is updating its building code to expand the use of mass timber in building construction. The code will allow for encapsulated mass-timber construction (EMTC) buildings as tall as 18 stories for residential and office buildings, an increase from the previous 12-story limit. 

boombox1
boombox2
native1

More In Category

Mass Timber

British Columbia hospital features mass timber community hall

The Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project in Duncan, British Columbia, features an expansive community hall featuring mass timber construction. The hall, designed to promote social interaction and connection to give patients, families, and staff a warm and welcoming environment, connects a Diagnostic and Treatment (“D&T”) Block and Inpatient Tower.




halfpage1

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021