We get so excited about Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), the fancy plywood on steroids that we talk so much about on TreeHugger. But in fact, there is a much older technology for building with wood, that warehouses and factories were built out of 150 years ago with a fancy new name: Nail-Laminated Timber, or NLT. It used to be known as heavy timber or mill decking and is drop-dead simple: you just nail a pile of lumber together and voila.
Lucas Epp of Structurecraft stunned the audience in a presentation at the Wood Solutions Fair in Toronto, showing extraordinary projects built out of the stuff. Because while CLT is great stuff, it's pretty new in North America, it's expensive, and it's not fully understood by the building inspectors. Whereas if you are doing a simple span, NLT does the job just fine, It's a lot cheaper, can be made by anyone with a hammer and has been in the building codes forever. As Structurecraft explains:
In much the same way as tongue-and-groove wood decking, NLT is sanctioned by building codes in both Canada and the USA (NBCC and the IBC). NLT qualifies as Heavy Timber as long as it is "well-spiked together" and the depth is at least 64mm for a roof and 89mm for a floor (see NBCC 18.104.22.168 4b/6b and IBC 602.4.6.1). As such, it does not require an "alternative solution" application.