CLP: Wood Shrinkage Solutions Trending on Multi-story Projects

Originally published by: CLP SystemsJanuary 21, 2016

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Cities across the U.S. are booming with new multi-family projects pushing the status-quo of wood frame construction. If you are like our customers then you’re probably experiencing new challenges presented by this frenzy of urbanization and increase in wood frame construction.

With the recent rise in urban projects, the complexities of structures are increasing demand on industry standards. We wanted to share the following trends that are steadily more common on projects that CLP Systems designed and installed during 2015 and are projected to work on in 2016. Most of these projects are three to six story wood frame structures.

  1. Elevated Post Tension Slabs – Developers and engineers are challenged with maximizing construction on urban space available and designing vertically is the trending solution to meet increased demands of parking, retail, and apartment units. Elevated slabs allow for parking and retail spaces available under the wood-frame construction. These slabs are typically designed with tension cables running the span of the slab, which can cause difficulties with the anchor tie-down installations. This demand has increased the level of focus, time, and money spent in anchoring tie-downs on an elevated slab.
  2. Rod Systems Specified – In 2015, 49% of CLP Systems projects were specified with a rod system for the anchor tie-down scope. These structures are typically between three to six stories above grade. This national increase of engineers who are preferring to design with rod systems is due the ability rod systems have to compensate for wood shrinkage, provide easier and safer installations, and design for wind uplift, shear wall overturning, and settlement in one system. We expect to see a dramatic increase of rod systems specified in 2016.
  3. Rising Anchor Issues – Slab loads are quickly increasing with the rise in floor levels on projects. With developers looking to get more out of available property, many engineers are challenged with slab design requirements and anchoring solutions. We will continue to see new challenges and solutions on the slab levels in 2016, but there has recently been a lot of attention on epoxy anchoring and new cast-in-place solutions. Epoxy Anchoring has become increasingly popular with general contractors and framers because of its ease of installation. However, there are uncertainties about the long-term capabilities of epoxy as the load demand on anchoring increases. This trend will be challenged in 2016 as new standards are created. CLP Systems will address this in our next newsletter.
  4. Shortage of Sub-contractors – After 2008, many sub-contractors decided to close their business due to the down economy and slow construction industry. Businesses who survived the recession have once again begun to grow during the recent boom of the multi-family sector. However, the industry is growing at a rate beyond the capacity and number of skill sub-contractors available to fill the work. Many of CLP Systems partners have started to turn projects down due to their lack of capacity to service the project. This will continue to be a threatening issue for developers and general contractors pushing to meet deadlines while ensuring the best construction standards.
  5. Wood Shrinkage Compensation – Conventional hardware does not address settlement issues that occur in wood frame structures and has historically been known to loosen and buckle on structures with multiple floors. This buckling can cause interior finish issues and water filtration on the exterior. To compensate for wood shrinkage engineers are designing rod systems with take-up devices. This trend is expected to become the new standard in 2016 ensuring long term structural integrity on wood frame buildings.

These recent trends on construction are here to stay and new solutions are being developed to meet the demands of engineering. At CLP Systems, we work closely with our customers and engineers to design the best solutions that meet and exceed industry expectations. In the past 13 years, CLP Systems has helped engineers, general contractors, and framers on more than 2,400 multi-family wood frame structures. Understanding anchor issues and design needs of our customers, the CLP team not only focuses on providing the best products but also providing comprehensive project management and quality service to ensure our solutions are designed and installed correctly.

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