Fortress Building Products - Commercial Trends in Decking Railing, and Framing
Two emerging trends in the commercial framing industry are the use of cross-laminated timber and dowel-laminated timber. A current trend in the commercial framing industry is the use of tall, wood frames. A current trend in the commercial railing industry is the installation of glass railings.
1. Emerging Trends
A. Cross-Lamintated Timber
- One emerging trend in the commercial framing industry is the use of cross-laminated timber.
- The use of cross-laminated timber for commercial frames is popular because it's enabling buildings that are six stories+ to be constructed with wood.
- Cross-laminated timber is wood "stacked in orthogonal layers, then glued and pressed together to create a material that can be used in the structural components of buildings, such as floors and wall panels."
- This trend applies to contractors because it is "allowing contractors to build six stories and taller."
- This is an emerging trend because two reputable, industry sources have expressly described it as such (Wells Custom Framers and National Real Estate Investor).
- One article stated that once code regulations allow buildings to be constructed solely with wood framing, the use of cross-laminated timber for such is "expected to be done all over the place." Another article described the use of cross-laminated timber for commercial buildings as "a burgeoning trend among developers and designers across the U.S."
- As of late, only a few U.S. manufacturers supply cross-laminated timber, as the construction industry awaits code regulations to expand the approved usage of it.
B. Dowel-Laminated Timber
- A second, emerging trend in the commercial framing industry is the use of dowel-laminated timber.
- Dowel-laminated timber is described as "the first all[-]wood mass timber panel in North America" and one " that can be used for floor, wall, and roof structures."
- Dowel-laminated timber "uses wood dowels to join laminations" and "[u]nlike other structural timber . . . does not use glue, nails or other metal fasteners."
- Dowel-laminated timber can be made from several types of trees, including "SPF, Douglas fir, hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western red or yellow cedar."
- A main factor driving the popularity of this emerging trend is its cheaper manufacturing cost.
- This is an emerging trend because it is expressly described as such by two reputable, industry sources (Structure Craft and Think Wood).
- According to the article published by Think Wood: "Newer to the US market, dowel-laminated timber (DLT) has a bright future." Further, the use of dowel-laminated wood "is gaining traction in the U.S. for its ease of use with computer-controlled machinery."
2. Current Trends
A. Tall, Wood Frames
- A current trend in the commercial framing industry is the use of tall, wood frames.
- Tall, wood frames are those that are used for the trend of constructing tall buildings with wood.
- The tall, wood building trend (for which tall, wood frames would be used) is popular because it helps to reduce a building's carbon footprint, while achieving the performance and safety standards inherent in other types of buildings.
- This is a trend because two reputable sources have expressly described it as such (Wells Custom Framers and Think Wood).
- The tall frame trend applies to contractors because "[p]eople that are hiring out for commercial framing contractors are all requesting the same trend [taller frames], and have been for the past several years."
B. Glass Railings
- A current trend in the commercial railing industry is the installation of glass railings.
- Glass railings are popular in commercial buildings because they offer a unique and distinctive appearance.
- Glass railings are also popular because they increase the amount of light and transparency in a space, leading to a more open atmosphere that makes a space seem larger.
- Glass railings also provide a contemporary, modern look within a building.
- This is a trend because two reputable sources have expressly described it as such (Facility Executive and Trex Company, Inc.).
- The glass railing trend applies to contractors because there's "a huge growth opportunity for contract glaziers" due to the popularity of using glass in commercial construction and contractors are the ones who install glass railings.
Your research team applied the following strategy:
We identified the above as current and emerging trends by finding each described as such by two reputable, industry sources. Some of the sources we used were Structure Craft, Think Wood, and Facility Executive. We ensured that our research findings are focused on the U.S. by using either information about the U.S. market or U.S.-based sources. Since the link to one of the sources we used didn't work for some reason, we included this Google Doc showing the part of that article that we used for our research.