COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. - SmartLam, the first commercial manufacturers of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the U.S., is expanding its operations and headquarters into a former Weyerhaeuser lumber mill property - quadrupling its production.
 
Going from 20,000 cubic meters of CLT annually to over 80,000 in the new facility, the company will also install a state-of-the-art equipment line and add 75 new employees. The expanded site will also help SmartLam develop new types of engineered wood.
 
“As more architects and builders learn about the performance and efficiency of CLT, demand for our products has accelerated rapidly,” Casey Malmquist, president and general manager of SmartLam, said. “We have been looking for the right location to continue to grow our company as we launched it, mindful of the available resources, positioned optimally to receive locally-sourced raw materials, and accessible to multiple modes of transportation. This site is the right home for us.”
 

ARTICLE

How cross-laminated timber buildings are built

How are cross-laminated timber buildings constructed? Adera and Structurlam take us inside Virtuoso, North America's first market multi-family CLT development.


Cross-laminated timber is a solid, large scale, prefabricated, engineered wood panel typically made of multiple layers glued to form structural panels with enhanced strength, rigidity, and dimensional stability.

CLT advocates say it can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has also 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 CLT's benefits for carbon capture and reduced CO2 emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. Proposals for new projects include a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver.  The U.S. is even on board. High-tech engineering firm Katerra will open a giant CLT factory in Washington. A 12-story CLT highrise in the works in Portland.
 
The production of CLT has the potential to create significant job growth across the Pacific Northwest, according to a study published this summer in Oregon.
 
SmartLam sources wood for its manufacturing processes from regional forest vendors within 200 miles of its Columbia Falls plant and produces more than one million board feet of CLT each month, according to officials.