June 2, 2010
6-Story Wood High-Rise Features New Engineered Wood Products

The construction of the Fond-action office building in the heart of Quebec City, P.Q., is generating more than passing local interest.

The six-story commercial structure, featuring heavy timber frame construction designed and provided by Nordic Structures, is the first of its kind built in Canada. Made of black spruce glue-laminated beams, columns and decking, the unique construction technology featured in this project is paving the way for similar alternative building projects across North America.

While wood-frame construction has been limited by code to four stories in the past, designing the building with heavy timbers assured local building officials that while structurally equal to steel and concrete construction that is the norm for commercial construction, heavy wood timber construction offers superior fire resistance, acoustic properties, and insulation values.

An additional bonus for this LEED Gold project is the encapsulation of over 1 million pounds of carbon, locked into the wood for the life of the structure.

Enviro=Lam, a unique small-block layup process exclusive to Nordic Engineered Wood, is evident in all the glulam components comprising the structure. "The black spruce trees we harvest take 90 years to achieve maturity, yet still only average 4-1/2" in diameter over their 70' length," said Albert Renaud, vice president of Nordic Engineered Wood. "It is essential that we utilize all the tree, including the tips, if we are going to extract all the value that is locked in the fiber. Enviro=Lam allows us to get 18% more fiber yield than traditionally possible, making it one of the greenest building materials out there."

Nordic harvests on 2,000,000 acres of land in northern Quebec, an area comparable to the state of Connecticut, with extreme attention to the environment. In addition to its ISO 14001 Environmental Reforestation certification, Nordic obtained FSC certification in February 2009, the first privately held EWP producer to do so. Nordic harvests roughly 1% of this boreal forest annually, ensuring a sustainable source of wood.

Nordic Engineered Wood manufactures the components in Chibouga-mau, P.Q., where it recently completed a $12-million mill expansion featuring state of the art milling and finishing equipment dedicated to its glulam structures projects.

More Products in Development
In addition to redefining glulam technology with its Enviro=Lam process, Nordic is currently developing X-Lam, a cross-laminated timber panel, which offers additional benefits for commercial construction. While similar to the decking used in the Fondaction building, X=Lam will allow for greater clearspan floor applications in commercial structures, as well as load bearing walls where lateral resistance to shear is critical.

Lighter and easier to work with than steel or concrete, CLTs enhance wood's superior resistance to seismic conditions, making them an ideal building material for construction in earthquake prone areas. CLTs are used extensively in Europe, where commercial wood construction exceeding nine stories is now becoming commonplace. Builders find the lighter weight and workability of CLTs reduce build times and construction costs.

Source:, May 2010

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