CORVALLIS, Ore. - A cross-laminated timber panel has failed during construction of a new campus building at Oregon State University (OSU), giving way between the second and third stories. Construction has been halted.
 
OSU says a 4-foot-by-20-foot cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel, made up of five layers of 2-by-6 boards glued together at right angles, came crashing down after it delaminated at one end. No one was in the building at the time.
 
The university says it plans on hiring an engineering firm to find the specific cause of the failure, and will then determine whether or not it has to re-evaluate the risks of other CLT elements in the building. CLT placements will continue when the evaluation is completed. There are no plans to switch to more conventional building materials.
 
The CLT panels used in the building were manufactured by D.R. Johnson, who specializes in CLT manufacture and glue-laminated beams from Douglas fir and Alaskan yellow cedar. They're the first U.S. company to receive APA/ANSI certification to manufacture structural CLT panels.
 
OSU vice president of marketing Steve Clark stressed to the Gazette-Times that the school has the utmost confidence in CLT. OSU hopes the upcoming three-story building, which will house its College of Forestry, will serve as a compelling showcase for Oregon's wood products industry.
 
CLT can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has fueled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world's growing population. 
 
Due to its benefits for carbon capture and reduced CO2 emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. Proposals for new projects include a 500,000-sq-ft skyscraper in New Jersey, a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver.  An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion.