Essential Mass Timber Building Tips

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Oct 29, 2022 8:00:00 AM
Brett McCutcheon

Mass Timber Construction

Mass timber construction is booming in popularity—and there are lots of reasons why. Sustainability is a big one, and it can be a great way to design something different from your usual wood, concrete, or steel-framed structure.

If you’re thinking about entering the mass timber arena, you’ll need a few expert tips to make the most out of this building technique. You’ll also need great tools and fasteners, like the BECK LIGNOLOC® System, which is the first collated nail system made with renewable beech wood. We’ll talk more about that below, plus a few of the top tips to help you get started.

  1. Ask Yourself: Why Mass Timber?

There are lots of reasons why you might choose to build with mass timber panels. For example, perhaps your customer wants as sustainable a build as possible. Or maybe it has nothing to do with sustainability, but you need to build a structure that is lighter than concrete or steel construction.

Either way, identifying the reasoning for choosing this construction method will guide you throughout the design-build process. To use sustainability as an example, if that is what you have identified as your reason, then you’ll need to keep that at the front of your mind as you go about the rest of the process so that you can ensure that everything from the HVAC to finishes all follow the sustainability theme.

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Products and Manufacturers

Mass timber construction is really starting to gain traction as a great alternative to steel or other types of building methods—and that means a lot of manufacturers are creating new products. That includes BECK and their innovative LIGNOLOC® System. But it goes even further than fasteners.

You’ll find dozens of manufacturers creating mass timber panels and other components in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, structural properties, and even different species of wood. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with everything that is available so that you can use that knowledge to source the right products, and use the right tools, for each build.

  1. Understanding Fire Ratings

With mass timber construction, it really helps to understand fire ratings—and to know the desired fire rating of the structure that you’ll be building before you start designing. In general, thicker mass timber panels are rated to withstand fire longer, as are wall and ceiling assemblies that limit the use of voids (like dropped ceilings or soffits).

With that, thicker mass timber panels are typically also structurally stronger. Often, this means that when you’re creating a structure that is designed to have high fire resistance, you can build it with fewer spans because the stronger mass timber panels can bear more of a load. As you can see, fire ratings will be tied into the project not just in terms of material choices, but design as well.

  1. Maximize Prefabrication

One of the biggest reasons why people choose mass timber construction is not sustainability, but the fact that much of a structure can be built on a factory floor. If you know what you’re doing, this is something you can capitalize on to make sure that as much work as possible is done on the factory floor or at your headquarters, which will make the building process much more efficient. This means not only factoring in the sizes and shapes of panels that you’ll need, but also where you will need holes to run ductwork, electrical, plumbing, or even fasteners. This way, when the materials arrive on-site, there will be very little left to do beyond the final assembly.


Since sustainability is a key part of most mass timber construction projects, it makes sense to choose a fastener that fits this theme—and that’s why BECK has developed LIGNOLOC®. It’s an innovative new system of collated nails (with or without a head) that are made from beech wood. In fact, it is the world’s first renewable, sustainable collated nail system.

As a collated fastener, this is the world’s first shootable wooden nail, which makes it ideal for mass timber construction. Use this system on the factory floor or to finish mass timber builds onsite. Either way, this system gives you the same speed and accuracy as any FASCO® (a BECK member) nailer and fastener combination—but because this is a sustainable fastening system, it produces 70% less carbon compared to conventional fastener systems.

You can learn more about it here—and we recommend watching the video below for additional information.

View the LignoLoc System in Action

Topics: lignoloc, Wooden Nails, wood, mass timber construction, Eco-Friendly Construction


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