Three San Francisco Bay Area construction industry companies have partnered to launch TimberQuest, an innovative, sustainable and highly efficient solution for building cost-effective, prefabricated "mass timber" classrooms for the California K-12 and community college markets.
The partnership between XL Construction, Milpitas, with Aedis Architects, San Jose and Daedalus Structural Engineering, based in Saratoga, combines the organizations' unique expertise in 21st century learning environments with mass timber design and construction.
Building a Better School Environment Panel by Panel
The basic building block of TimberQuest construction is precision-machined, cross-laminated timber (CLT) that is available in large format structural slabs. It is strong, yet lightweight, fire resistant and leaves these structures with rich exposed wood finishes.
"Where one may think building with wood is bad for the environment, the opposite is true," said Matt Larson, preconstruction director of XL Construction. "Mass Timber construction, including the TimberQuest approach, supports responsible forest management, including the reduction of wildfires and protection of biodiversity. It also promotes rural economic development by expanding the market for sustainable forest products."
The carbon benefit of timber construction is well documented and has a two-fold benefit. First, utilization of a wood structure in lieu of steel or concrete has a significantly lower embodied carbon footprint, reducing the carbon footprint due to construction by 40 to 60 percent. Second, wood effectively sequesters carbon within the timber structure, storing it for the life of the structure and any subsequent reuse.
TimberQuest employs cross-laminated timber to create prefabricated wall and roof panels offsite that are erected and installed at school construction sites, enabling buildings to be constructed in significantly shorter timeframes. The structures are pre-checked and approved by California's Division of the State Architect (DSA), so they can be used for any public school or community college project in California, reducing permitting time from six months to a single day. Most buildings can be constructed in 10 weeks over a summer break.
In addition to expedited project completion, TimberQuest buildings offer a healthy and eco-friendly environment. Their interiors feature the warmth and airiness of a tall wood ceiling, extensive natural lighting and an openness that contrasts with the sterile, box-like modular buildings often seen on many school campuses. TimberQuest structures are high-quality and permanent — with life expectancies of 50 years or more — with more usable floor space than traditional modular buildings. Yet, they can be delivered quickly, due to the pre-approved design as well as rapid factory fabrication and onsite erection, offering public and private schools the best of all worlds, the company said.
"The partnership between XL Construction, Aedis and Daedalus enables us to think holistically to solve design, permitting, procurement, prefabrication and installation issues," said Steve Winslow, senior vice president of XL Construction. "TimberQuest provides a superior environment for students to learn and teachers to teach."
"There are three ancient Roman principles expressed in a true piece of architecture: strength, practicality and beauty. This collaboration epitomizes the integration of these precepts into a flexible, durable, economical and environmentally responsible solution that addresses most schools' needs," said John Diffenderfer, president of Aedis Architects.
"Daedalus is excited to be a part of this collaboration which advances mass timber construction by developing a school buildings 'kit-of-parts' for over-the-counter permitting," said Doug Robertson, president of Daedalus Structural Engineering. "By integrating cross-laminated timber panels with insulation, architectural finishes and other buildings systems in shop fabrication, we are able to deliver preassembled wall and roof panels to any school site for immediate erection and completion of sustainable, attractive and durable public school classroom buildings in record time."
For more information about TimberQuest, call or email Matt Larson at 408/240-6483, email@example.com or visit www.timber-quest.com.
This story also appears on Forestry Equipment Guide.
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