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U.S. Design Guidance for CLT Floor Systems with Residential and Office Occupancy Loads

Jun 11, 2024   |   1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET
Virtual Event

Mass timber structural systems are gaining popularity in U.S. construction of multi-unit residential buildings and office buildings for a number of reasons. Mass timber is well suited for prefabrication and reduced construction schedules, has low embodied carbon, can be exposed aesthetically, and can be built taller than traditional light-framed wood construction.

Because modern uses for mass timber are relatively recent, practitioners are still learning about mass timber system selection, relevant design provisions for mass timber structures, and design decisions’ effects on final design performance. Many guides and tools for mass timber structural design exist; however, these resources offer limited guidance during the early design stage when key decisions are made. Further, the available resources do not typically link multiple design goals to each other to understand how early-stage design decisions affect multiple project goals.

Based on the parametric modeling of mass timber floor structures, this presentation discusses design guidance for early decision-making related to the following performance goals: embodied carbon, fire design, structural depth, floor mass, and acoustic insulation. The discussed guidance and related parametric model data will be included in a free design guide to be released at the end of the year as part of the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative.

session presentation


Nathan Brown
Nathan Brown

Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State

Corey Gracie-Griffin
Corey Gracie-Griffin

Associate Director for Sustainability Research and Associate Professor of Architecture, Penn State

Samantha Leonard
Samantha Leonard

Project engineer, RDH Building Science


Learning Objectives

  • Discover how parametric modelling generates data for the early-stage design of mass timber floor structures.
  • Understand how design decisions related to floor structure type and layout, bay size, bay aspect ratio, and prescriptive fire design strategy affect design goals.
  • Learn how mass timber floor systems perform for embodied carbon, structural design, and acoustic insulation.
  • Apply early-stage design guidance to mass timber floor structures.

Accredited by

AIA Learning Units:

1 LU


0.1 CEU