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FS52 - The use of cross laminated timber in high density affordable housing

Written by: CIC Start Online

"The use of cross laminated timber in high density affordable housing and the potential to manufacture this engineered timber product in the Dumfries and Galloway region" by Edinburgh Napier University and Artel Associates


One of four research centres within Edinburgh Napier University’s Forest Products Research Institute, the Wood Studio’s focus is on innovation in the use of timber in architecture and construction. Since January 2011, it has been engaged in an 18 month research project funded by the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and Forestry Commission Scotland designed lead to commercial production in Scotland of cross laminated timber (CLT) manufactured from Scottish grown timber. The project is well advanced, with test panels produced from the four main commercial species in Scotland now being structurally tested. An essential aspect of the research programme is the identification of the wider market – in Scotland and throughout the UK – not only by volume but also by building type. In this respect, the proposal contained here provides the opportunity to examine the economic viability of domestically produced cross laminated timber panels in the construction of high density affordable housing projects.

The study aims firstly to examine the benefits of cross laminated timber construction in high density affordable housing in three ways –

  • Bespoke panel production related to specific project designs;
  • Standardised panel sizes used to determine repetitive construction parameters conforming to current housing standards;
  • Offsite assembly of cross laminated timber elements into modular units that can be delivered fully fitted to site.
  • Each of these approaches presumes parametric design linked to off-site manufacture to ensure high manufacturing standards and optimised modern methods of construction (MMC).

The second part of the study will explore the manufacturing technology, the local resource (forest and sawmill) demands and the potential for localised CLT production in the Dumfries & Galloway region. Each of these points will be examined within the wider context of the resources, economic viability, investment capacity and strategic disposition of future CLT manufacturing facilities in Scotland.

The feasibility study does not aim to deal with the specifics of the housing design included in the initial proposal to CIC-Start as these will be impacted upon by the outputs of this feasibility study and their further detail development is therefore a next stage for which separate funding will be sought.

Key words: new building, domestic buildings, building materials, timber, off-site construction


Peter Wilson, Edinburgh Napier University

For Artel Associates

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.



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