Swinerton: Leadership in Mass Timber

  • by Chris Evans, Jason Chupp, and William Silva
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Swinerton is on the leading edge of mass timber construction across the nation and here in Oregon.  Having recently completed the largest cross laminated timber (CLT) project in the country, Swinerton uses its structural expertise to manage every facet of mass timber procurement, logistics, and self-performed erection. Our ability to coordinate a mass timber frame into the overall project makes Swinerton the best partner when it comes to full building solutions with mass timber.  

Cost: A complete mass timber building can be 5% less expensive than a building constructed with a traditional structural frame, or even 10% less than standard concrete and steel construction. The ability to become cost efficient with mass timber is to find a value-driven solution that fully utilizes the benefits that mass timber can deliver, both functionally with its structural properties and aesthetically through its warming effect of a building’s interior space. Swinerton is a partner with the project stakeholders and commits to achieving the vision of the building with the architect, while driving to cost effective solutions with the structural engineer.  

Vertical Integration: Creating a vertically integrated team is at the core of Swinerton’s belief on how mass timber is effectively integrated into a construction project. To achieve the full benefit of mass timber, it is necessary to have all project stakeholders at the table early in the design process. In order to make a mass timber project pencil, it is necessary to work early and hard at achieving an efficient layout of the building. A collaborative approach helps to ensure that cost effective solutions are realized for the project.

Self-Perform General Contractor: Swinerton’s strength is being a general contractor who self-performs mass timber buildings. We understand the details of applying a mass timber frame to a project and always seek to find the cost-efficient solution for a project. Optimizing costs for a mass timber building requires a complete integration of the structural frame with other building systems. Successfully applying mass timber to a building doesn’t just take a structural expert, it takes a structural expert who understands all building systems. Full system knowledge is needed so that the right solution can be applied to the project, not just the structural frame. Swinerton has the general contracting expertise combined with the structural know-how to deliver a cost-viable mass timber solution.

Sustainability: Swinerton was an early adopter of the green building movement and continues its promise to apply sustainable solutions to the built environment with responsible building practices.  Mass timber buildings, combined with sustainable forestry practices, are a significant contributor to creating carbon neutral buildings. For example, Swinerton recently completed the largest CLT project in the country at the First Tech Oregon Corporate Headquarters. This project had 4,129 metric tons of carbon stored in the wood. 1,622 metric tons of greenhouse gases were avoided. This building had the equivalent of removing 1,229 cars from Oregon roads for a year. Best of all, it only took an Oregon forest 46 minutes to grow the fiber.  

Significant Projects: Swinerton has significant mass timber projects completed and in preconstruction.  Swinerton recently completed the largest CLT project by square footage in the US with a total of 156,000 SF of CLT installed. Swinerton is currently in design with the tallest mass timber building in the nation with the Timberhouse project in Vancouver, Washington. The Timberhouse project is a 251-unit multifamily project with 12 stories of CLT to create its structural frame. Additionally, Swinerton is completing a multi-building office complex outside of Denver; performing preconstruction work on a community center in Hillsboro, Oregon; building a CLT office project in Los Angeles; and in preconstruction of a multi-building office complex using mass timber in Vancouver, Washington.  

Swinerton leads the design, engineering, procurement, logistics, and installation process to deliver mass timber buildings. As a partner in the design process, Swinerton provides valuable feedback to deliver a cost and schedule efficient building to the project stakeholders.  n

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