In Brief

A new way of designing and constructing Tall Wood Buildings.

The report describes a new structural system in wood that represents the first significant challenge to concrete and steel structures since their inception in tall building design more than a century ago. The introduction of these ideas is driven by the need to find safe, carbon-neutral and sustainable alternatives to the incumbent structural materials of the urban world. The potential market for these ideas is quite simply enormous. The proposed solutions have the potential to revolutionize the building industry, address the major challenges of climate change, urbanization, and sustainable development and to significantly contribute to world housing needs.

This webiste introduces a Mass Timber solution for tall buildings called FFTT including:

A definition of Mass Timber which includes several existing large scale panel products in the current marketplace including Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL).

A differentiation between Mass Timber and light wood frame.

The structural details of FFTT as a “strong column – weak beam” balloon-frame approach using large format Mass Timber Panels as vertical structure, lateral shear walls and floor slabs. The “weak beam” component is made of steel beams bolted to the Mass Timber panels to provide ductility in the system. Concrete is used for the foundations up to grade. No further concrete is necessary in the system unless selected for architectural reasons.

How FFTT is non-proprietary structural solution developed by the authors of this report. Other systems will be possible and introduced as these ideas become more prevalent.

How FFTT is adaptable to various architectural forms including office and residential uses and has been conceptually engineered to 30 storeys in height for the high seismic areas like Vancouver.

The website details how FFTT addresses:

The structural characteristics of Mass Timber that enable these solutions including how;

  1. On a weight to strength ratio, engineered wood products generally match, and in some cases exceed the performance of reinforced concrete;
  2. Building engineered wood high-rises will be possible once further analysis and testing is carried out ;
  3. Mass Timber behaves very well in fire and is significantly different in fire performance to that of light wood frame.

Life safety issues including fire protection and building code compliance;

Building envelope issues including thermal performance, water ingress protection, building movement;

Durability and longevity;

Acoustic and vibration performance;

Cost effectiveness;

Constructability and construction schedule;Market and consumer expectations.

Why this is important

Climate Change: FFTT is a structural solution that has a much lighter carbon footprint than functionally equivalent concrete and steel systems.

Cost Competitiveness: FFTT (Mass Timber) is a cost competitive alternative to concrete for high-rise construction to 30 storeys.

Economic Diversification: The FFTT approach and future alternative Mass Timber approaches offer a Value Added option for the Canadian economy, building on the foundation of our sustainable forestry stock.

Rapidly Renewable Resource, Forestry Diversification and Market Opportunities: Mass Timber includes CLT that can capitalize on our current forest stock. It also includes an LSL alternative to CLT. LSL is made from fast growth species offering a more rapidly renewable alternative to solid engineered wood solutions.

National and Global Demand: The trend of increasing urbanization around the world demands alternative safe techniques to build tall buildings in a carbon neutral manner.



+1 (604) 336-4770


Michael Green at McFarlane Green Biggar
Equilibrium Consulting
BTY Group


Funding for this ‘Case Study’ project was provided to the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) on behalf of the Wood Enterprise Coalition (WEC) by Forestry Innovation Investment (FII). Any results, findings, conclusions or recommendations are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of the CWC, WEC-it’s partners, FII or the Province of British Columbia.

Second Edition  produced by Michael Green Architecture