Stora Enso with “license to operate” for CLT in the North American market

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Published 24 November 2020
Wooden buildings are on the rise in the US and Stora Enso is able to enter the market with its cross laminated timber (CLT) product complying with the International Building Code® (IBC) that is necessary for the US American market as of 2021.
Photo: Luc Boegly, Baumschlager Eberle Architekten and SCAPE

As one of the leading providers of wood-based solutions on the global market, Stora Enso has received approval for producing and delivering CLT panels to the United States of America in accordance to the International Building Code® (IBC). They can now be produced to be certified in compliance with the North American CLT standard ANSI/APA PRG 320-2019, Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber.

The changes in the 2021 issue of this code now allow to construct buildings from mass timber of up to 18 storeys, compared with just five before. This clearly paves the way for a new market in mid-rise wooden construction and fossil-based materials such as concrete and steel can be replaced to a much greater extent in North American construction.

The CLT panels by Stora Enso will be manufactured in its biggest mill, in Ybbs in Austria. Stora Enso plans to apply for the same certification for Zdirec mill in the Czech Republic, its 4th CLT production facility with an estimated start-up in Q3 2022. The CLT panels from Ybbs can be produced with a width of up to 9.68 feet (2.95 meters) and a length of up to 52.5 feet (16 meters).

Stora Enso is ready to deliver

Steve Lieberman, Business Development Manager for North America at Stora Enso comments: “Previously, we have been restricted to buildings no taller than five storeys or special one-off assignments, so this is a real game changer for us. This ‘license to operate’ is very exciting news for the North American market and gives us the opportunity to provide CLT also to the US and Canada!”

“The mid-rise building segment has been traditionally using concrete and steel, but the certification means that wood as a raw material has the possibility to reach the market in a much bigger way than before. The massive-engineered wood element CLT is particularly useful for building wooden constructions that go beyond five storeys”, he continues.

An eco-friendly solution for every occasion

This is not just good news for the environment, but there are countless other benefits for people’s health and wellbeing when they are working, living and studying in wooden buildings. Studies have shown that people show lowered stress levels and blood pressure as well as improved concentration in interiors with wooden surfaces compared to ones with no wooden surfaces.

People are living increasingly indoor lives and have limited opportunities to connect with nature. Exposing the natural wood within a building environment stimulates the important connection with nature, increasing positivity and productivity.

The big picture

“We have proven already in other overseas markets such as Singapore or Australia that we can deliver for big and small projects across the globe from our production facilities in Central Europe. We’ve had some very successful and big projects such as The International House in Sydney or Library at the Dock in Melbourne or also the Singapore Management University. Expanding these activities to North America is definitely another milestone in our vision to be a global leader of innovative wood-based solutions”, states Gernot Weiß, Head of Business Line CLT. “We believe strongly in the growth of CLT and the outstanding dynamic development of the North American market.”

The ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-4381 and Listing Report ESL-1170 can be found on the CLT downloads page.

Read more

Technical details

The ESR-4381 certification makes the CLT panels compliant with the 2018, 2015, 2012 and 2009 International Building Code® (IBC), making Stora Enso CLT panels acceptable for structural use in the U.S. The ESL-1170 report states compliance with the National Building Code of Canada® 2015. 

In addition, we have completed the ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-4381 supplements for the State of California and the City of Los Angeles.

Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. We employ some 23 000 people and have sales in more than 50 countries and our shares are listed on the Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R) stock exchanges.

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