The Daily Journal of Commerce recently reported that increased demand for mass-timber material, such as cross-laminated timber (“CLT”), has caused a shortage as suppliers struggle to expand production. Iain Macdonald, an industry executive interviewed for the article, stated that “lead times of a year have not been uncommon.” Increased demand has been fueled in part by several new (and in some cases, high profile) CLT projects across the United States and in Canada. One such project is a Toronto, Canada mass-timber housing project with more than 34,000 units in buildings as tall as 30 stories. As west coast CLT suppliers’ lead times increase, some purchasers have looked to the European market to fill their orders. Sourcing CLT from Europe could be seen as compromising CLT’s image as a locally sourced, smaller-carbon footprint building material. Indeed, Portland-based architect Stefee Knudsen of Hacker Architects lamented the possibility that her projects may need to use European CLT. As she told the DJC, “It is hard to be an Oregonian and to think our project could be supplied by a European (manufacturer).” At first glance, one would expect CLT prices to increase sharply in response to demand. However, because CLT must compete with other structural materials, like steel and concrete, significant price fluctuations are unlikely. Until CLT production catches up with demand, project owners and contractors may need to consider placing their CLT orders well in advance to ensure timely delivery and (hopefully) avoid costly delays.
Home > Uncategorized > Are You Willing to Wait a Year? Popularity of CLT Leads to Growing Pains for Suppliers