While building firms in the United States have generally turned to concrete and steel when building structural systems, mass timber is starting to replace these materials as contractors embrace faster, cleaner, and more sustainable construction methods. One of the main contributors to this trend is the use of dowel laminated timber (DLT), which is known as dübelholz in Europe where it has been used since the 1990s.
Contractors are constantly searching for answers to the safety challenges inherent to the construction industry, so it’s unsurprising that DLT, a markedly safer alternative to concrete and steel, is being adopted by more and more building professionals. In this article, a construction law attorney in Franklin, TN, from Cotney Construction Law will cover everything contractors should know about DLT.
Structurally Efficient, Surprisingly Economic
DLT can be utilized for the flooring, walls, and roof of structures. These prefabricated solid wood panels are easily assembled and extremely cost-effective. While DLT is often compared to nail laminated timber (NLT), upon further inspection, it’s clear that DLT panels are the more economical and sustainable option. Plus, they don’t require the use of nails or even glue, making them the only mass timber product to be constructed purely from timber. While DLT was only recently introduced to the United States in 2017, when the first DLT production plant in North America was established, it became the world’s fastest and largest fully automated DLT production line in the world. Contractors now have unprecedented access to this structurally efficient and economic building material, which bodes well for its use moving forward.
DLT panels are constructed from stacks of softwood lumber boards. These panels are friction-fit together using hardwood dowels that replace the nails used in NLT. The dowels hold the panels firmly in place, which creates a stiff bond that outperforms the use of nails. Additionally, every panel’s lamination is finger-jointed, which helps fortify the panels and altogether eliminates the board splices and butt-joints found in NLT. Another benefit of DLT panels is that can be processed using computerized numerical control (CNC) machinery since they don’t have nails. This results in a panel with high tolerance that has the ability to house pre-integrated electrical conduits and other service runs.
DLT makes for a highly efficient structural panel for floors and roofs which have a tendency to span in a single direction between beams or walls. The structure of DLT makes calculating panel stiffness and capacity a breeze. Plus, there’s no need to tweak the formula for spans extending past 20 feet since DLT is finger-jointed. Therefore, DLT maintains its structural integrity without lapses for the entire span of a panel. Some other important performance characteristics include the fact that DLT is structurally sound for load-bearing walls and possesses above-average fire resistance.
As the construction industry moves towards more and more prefabricated construction methodologies, it’s important that contractors continue to seek legal guidance from a construction attorney in Franklin, TN, to help them stay on top of the latest legal regulations governing these avant-garde building techniques.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.