From Uptown to Downtown: Issues Regarding Mixed-Use Multi-Level Construction James Panko, P.E.; Scott A. Nesvold, P.E.; Andrew J. Thielen, P.E.

Multi-story wood construction has been a popular trend in recent years. The building codes are changing to allow larger and taller buildings to be constructed using wood.  Wood construction can be less expensive and faster to construct than other alternatives.  This presentation will discuss various issues that can arise from this type of construction including story shrinkage, façade systems, mechanical systems and fire protection issues. 

A majority of buildings in the United States are constructed using wood framing.  As this industry expands, so does the variety of products and systems used to create them, including the structural construction products, moisture management and façade systems, plumbing, HVAC and fire suppression systems. 

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The development of Cross-Laminated (CLT) timber panels have increased the rate at which a wood building can be constructed.  An all-wood mid-rise building (constructed using conventional wood framing, or using the new CLT systems) will undergo a different conditioning process following completion than a steel or concrete building.  Construction techniques, design and detailing, and project management are important roles in ensuring the final product is problem free.  The problems that develop can include problems that occur during construction, including exposure to weather.  A wood framing, including CLT panels, does not have the same durability to withstand exposure as concrete and steel structures under construction. 

Problems that develop after construction is completed include improper compatibility of façade and moisture management systems.  Many of the modern, mixed-use multi-level buildings have multiple façade systems on each elevation.  Ensuring an effective transition between these systems is complex and can be problematic.  The multi-level, mid-rise buildings will undergo story shrinkage that must be accommodated in all the building systems and details.  From torn fire-stopping at penetrations, to fractured or buckled piping, and misaligned elevator stops and duct chases – these details can become overwhelming and can result in expensive repairs and retrofits.

On January 25, 2018, Crane Engineering will be presenting this topic in greater detail at the Crane Engineering Smart Sessions.  Please RSVP for this free continuing education and networking event.