S.C. hotel believed to be state's first built with CLT

A new hotel in Mount Pleasant, S.C., is believed to be the first in the state to use what one Clemson professor sees as a building material of the future.

"I see this project as the beginning of a trend, the first hotel in our state to utilize what I believe will become the building system of the 21st century," said Dr. Patricia Layton, director of the Wood Utilization + Design Institute at Clemson University, which develops and promotes wood-based materials as an alternative to steel, concrete and other products currently used in nonresidential construction. 

The system, cross-laminated timber, is an engineered wood system typically consisting of three, five or seven layers of dimension lumber oriented at right angles to one another and then glued together to form structural panels, reports Moultrie News.

Designed for strength, dimensional stability and rigidity, the panels offer a viable alternative to concrete, masonry and steel in building structures with 10 or fewer floors.

The hotel is a Home2 Suites by Hilton. The facility is scheduled to open September 2017.

The project is by Spartanburg-based OTO Development with Hendrick Construction of Charlotte as general contractor. It incorporated cross-laminated timber into its floor system for the corridors.

"We chose cross-laminated timber for this application because it is a more sustainable product," said Bruce Collins, OTO's director of development. He said OTO is committed to build all its hotels to LEED and/or state green building standards. "OTO is always seeking out the most innovative products and processes to meet our construction goals."

"Cross-laminated timber is a product with strong environmental credentials," Layton said. "It is made of wood, a renewable resource which can be harvested and replanted in sustainably managed forests. And using wood significantly reduces a building's carbon footprint."

Other benefits of cross-laminated timber — which is lightweight but exceptionally strong — include design versatility, ease of use, fast installation, improved thermal performance and minimized waste. It provides a thinner profile than conventional framing, which is a plus where floor-to-floor heights are a challenge. The product is also fire-resistant.

"OTO Development utilizes wood framing in many of our projects, and it is the dominate structural type for our hotels that are on the west coast," Collins said.

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