What is Mass Timber? The Future of Real Estate Development

What is Mass Timber? The Future of Real Estate Development

Mass timber construction
Mass timber is an innovative construction material that utilizes large engineered wood panels and beams for sustainable and efficient building projects.

What Is Mass Timber?

Mass timber is a revolutionary building material that combines the strength and versatility of wood with cutting-edge technology. It involves the process of gluing, and/or doweling wood products together in layers to create large structural panels, posts, and beams. These exceptionally robust components are aptly named “mass timber.”

Understanding The Concept of Mass Timber

Mass timber building with windows
Mass timber represents a revolutionary shift in the construction industry.


What Mass Timber is and Its Significance in the Construction Industry

Mass Timber represents a significant reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional construction materials more commonly used for construction taller than 4 storeys.  Currently Mass Timber technology allows buildings to be built as tall as 18 storeys. Mass Timber projects also aim to further reduce embodied carbon in other ways by lending itself to being more “Design-for-Disassembly ” ready.  Often we can reduce the carbon footprint more by using products like recycled rubber floor soundproofing instead of a concrete topping.  


What sets it apart is its ability to revolutionize the way we build, enhancing the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of our constructions. It represents a groundbreaking shift in the construction industry, incorporating advanced wood assembly techniques to create robust structural elements. This innovative approach not only enhances the strength and durability of wooden structures but also opens up new possibilities for sustainable building practices.

Environmental Benefits of Using Mass Timber over Traditional Building Materials

One of the most compelling aspects of mass timber lies in its eco-friendly nature. It has a lower carbon footprint compared to conventional building materials.  Concrete and steel produce 15% of the world’s carbon emissions, while mass Timber production consumes less energy and water.


Another great environmental advantage is that while a tree is growing it captures carbon from the air, which helps to create a healthier  living environment for people.

Structural Advantages Of Mass Timber and Its Growing Popularity in Sustainable Development

Apart from being environmentally friendly, mass timber has gained increasing recognition in sustainable construction due to its impressive structural benefits. One of its remarkable qualities lies in its impressive capacity to endure seismic forces, providing resilience against earthquakes. Additionally, what’s truly remarkable is how it behaves during a fire – it tends to burn and char consistently and predictably, often meeting or even surpassing fire safety standards.


One more notable benefit is its ability to be prefabricated, a feature that greatly shortens the time needed for construction. This means the materials are carefully prepared at a different location before being brought to the construction site, resulting in fewer vehicles on-site and minimal waste. This not only speeds up the construction timeline but also minimizes disturbance to the nearby surroundings.


The increasing adoption of it in sustainable construction is a clear sign that the construction industry as a whole acknowledges the multitude of advantages it offers. Its structural strength, environmental friendliness, and efficiency make it a powerful choice for the future of real estate development. 

Exploring the Advantages of Mass Timber Construction

Drill on top of wood
Delve into the numerous advantages of mass timber construction, where sustainability meets structural innovation

Aesthetic appeal and versatility of mass timber in architectural design

Mass timber, as a building material, offers architects a canvas of possibilities. It’s natural warmth and textured surface contribute to the creation of inviting and comfortable spaces. Whether in residential, commercial, or public buildings, it infuses an aesthetic appeal that resonates with the senses.

Its products, like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (Glulam), bring incredible versatility to architectural design. Glulam, in particular, empowers architects to create unique, unconventional shapes like curves and arches, unleashing a realm of creative possibilities. 

Moreover, it seamlessly integrates with other materials, enabling architects to venture into a diverse range of architectural styles.

Prefabricating components ensures accurate, quality construction with less on-site waste and quicker project completion, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. This opens doors for creative construction methods like modular or offsite building techniques.

Its efficiency in terms of construction time and cost.

Efficiency is at the core of any successful construction project. Economic considerations are crucial in the adoption of mass timber in construction. Although its products, such as CLT or Glulam, might come with a higher initial price tag compared to traditional materials like steel or concrete, it’s essential to take a broader perspective.

It can speed up the construction timeline, particularly when parts are pre-made away from the actual building site. This streamlined approach not only reduces labor expenses but also allows buildings to be occupied quickly.

Additionally, it’s essential to appreciate the potential for reduced operating expenses. Moreover Mass Timber can command higher rents or sales prices thanks to its attractive appearance and sustainability features.

As demand rises and more manufacturers enter, we anticipate lower costs from larger-scale production advantages in the industry. Moreover, policy incentives for green building practices can help bridge the cost gap, making it an even more attractive and economically viable choice.

How mass timber contributes to a healthier and more sustainable living environment.

The sustainability benefits of timber are profound. It can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of new construction. When it comes to the core building materials, timber truly shines as the most eco-friendly option, boasting the least energy usage and carbon emissions. It’s non-toxic and doesn’t release chemical vapors into the building, contributing to a healthier living environment for occupants.

It emphasizes the responsible use of forests. Selective cuttings involve harvesting only specific trees from a forest, ensuring that the ecosystem remains intact, and protecting natural habitats. Meanwhile, this approach safeguards against deforestation and promotes the long-term health of our forests, making it a sustainable and environmentally conscious choice for builders.

Mass timber benefits for consumers

The use of mass timber in construction has various benefits for consumers, particularly in terms of aesthetics. Some of these are as follows:

Aesthetic Appeal

The incorporation of its elements, such as exposed wooden beams, columns, walls and ceilings.  This adds a distinctive warmth and inviting ambiance to a building’s interior, also the natural textures and patterns of the wood create a visually appealing and soothing atmosphere that resonates with the human preference for natural materials.


This aesthetic charm not only elevates the overall design of the space but also creates a comfortable environment for occupants.

Biophilic Response

Human beings possess an inherent inclination towards nature, a concept known as biophilia, moreover, mass timber’s integration within the built environment aligns seamlessly with this biophilic response, fostering a sense of connection to the natural world. 


The presence of wood and other natural elements stimulates a positive emotional response, evoking feelings of tranquility and well-being. Finally, this connection to nature, facilitated by the use of mass timber, has been linked to numerous health benefits and enhanced cognitive functioning among occupants.

Health and Well-being


Scientific studies have demonstrated the tangible impact of biophilic design, particularly when incorporating natural materials like wood. Research by Tsunetsugu et al. (2007) revealed that exposure to wooden environments led to notable physiological benefits, including a 10% reduction in blood pressure, a 6% decrease in heart rate, and a 15% decrease in stress hormone levels among participants. 


Additionally, studies by Kellert et al. (2008) indicated that incorporating biophilic elements, including wood, can lead to an 8% improvement in cognitive function and a 12% increase in positive emotions, thereby positively influencing the overall well-being of individuals within the space.


Addressing Misconceptions and Concerns 

While we explore the realm of mass timber construction, it’s vital to address the common misconceptions surrounding this innovative approach in real estate development. 

Common misconceptions or reservations 

It’s important to start by addressing some of the common misconceptions and reservations about mass timber construction. 


  • Fire Hazard: Fire safety concerns have been a significant barrier to timber construction. Nevertheless, manufacturers have made substantial progress in producing engineered woods treated with flame retardants, mitigating potential fire risks. 


  • Mass timber buildings are carbon neutral: Mass Timber construction is a significant step towards carbon neutrality, but achieving true carbon neutrality requires considering a range of crucial factors beyond just construction materials.


  • Mass timber buildings absorb carbon emissions: While trees naturally capture carbon from the atmosphere, these buildings store the carbon absorbed by trees, but they do not actively absorb carbon. It’s essential to clarify this distinction to understand the environmental impact fully.


  • Deforestation of Natural Forests: Concerns are often raised about using wood for construction, contributing to deforestation. However, it’s essential to differentiate between responsibly harvesting timber from sustainable, well-managed plantations and the harmful deforestation of natural forests. 


  • Higher Cost: While there’s a perception that timber construction can be costlier than alternative materials, as Peter Bradfield, Technical Advisor at Canadian Wood, mentioned, the reality is that when we optimize designs and consider the benefits, including shorter construction times, wood often proves to be a competitive choice. 


How does Samcon address these concerns in its development projects

At Samcon, we pioneer mass timber use in our projects, addressing misconceptions to promote this innovative, sustainable building material

We take these concerns seriously, for that reason our projects prioritize responsible material sourcing, efficient designs, and sustainability. Leveraging mass timber, we dispel misconceptions and contribute to a more environmentally conscious, sustainable future.

Safety, durability, and fire resistance measures in mass timber construction

  • Safety Measures: Ensuring the safety of mass timber structures is a top priority, so safety measures, including respecting the fire code regulations, guarantee the well-being of residents. 


  • Strength and Durability: Advancements in modern technology have transformed mass timber construction, enabling the creation of highly durable wooden structures capable of lasting for generations. 


  • Fire Hazard: While concerns about fire safety are valid, the industry has made significant strides in ensuring safety. Manufacturers now produce engineered woods treated with flame retardants to mitigate potential risks. These compounds safeguard against fire, generating foam for effective suppression, ensuring the safety of its structures.

The Environmental Impact of Mass Timber Construction

Multiple trees
Mass timber aligns with environmental goals, offering a responsible and forward-thinking solution for a greener future in construction


In the ever-evolving landscape of real estate development, mass timber can be likened to the electric car for builders, ushering in a new era of construction, now just as electric cars are transforming the automotive industry by offering sustainable, energy-efficient alternatives to traditional gas-guzzlers, it is changing the way it’s built, offering a greener and more innovative solution to construction materials. 

Like electric cars cater to eco-friendly transportation, they align with the demand for sustainable construction materials.


The positive environmental footprint in Construction

Mass timber construction offers several positive environmental footprints that make it an increasingly popular choice in sustainable building practices, seeing that, let’s explore the significant environmental advantages of incorporating it in construction:


  • Carbon Sequestration: It helps capture and store carbon, making it a sustainable choice for reducing carbon emissions.


  • Lower Embodied Carbon: It has a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional building materials, promoting eco-friendliness.


  • Renewable Resource: It is sourced from renewable forests, ensuring a continuous supply without depleting natural resources.


  • Energy Efficiency: Its structures often exhibit excellent thermal properties, contributing to energy-efficient buildings.


  • Lightweight Construction: Its lightness eases construction processes and reduces transportation-related energy consumption.


  • Faster Construction: It can speed up building projects due to its efficient and precise assembly methods.


  • Reduced Waste: Minimized material waste and efficient design lead to less construction waste, benefiting the environment.


  • Aesthetic and Biophilic Advantages: Its natural appearance creates visually pleasing and biophilic design elements that connect people with nature.


Who is Mass Timber for?

Mass timber is a construction innovation that’s transforming the real estate development landscape, on the other hand, it offers unique advantages, making it an ideal choice for a specific group of stakeholders: developers, especially those interested in mid rise buildings ranging from 7 to 18 floors. Let’s delve into why it is a game-changer for this target audience.


Developers and Mass Timber: A Perfect Match

  • Cost-Efficiency: Developers are always on the lookout for cost-efficient construction methods, given that, it aligns perfectly with this goal. Initial costs may surpass traditional materials, but its streamlined construction, shorter timelines, and minimized waste ensure long-term savings. To clarify, this makes it a highly competitive choice in real estate development.


  • Sustainability: Developers are increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability in today’s real estate market. It aligns well with developers looking to create environmentally conscious and attractive buildings.


  • Aesthetics and Market Appeal: Its natural warmth and appealing aesthetics resonate with buyers and tenants alike. The visual appeal of exposed wood beams and panels adds a unique character to buildings, making them more attractive to potential buyers or renters. This aesthetic charm can command higher rents or sales prices in specific markets, contributing to a developer’s bottom line.


  • Speedy Return on Investment: Developers understand the significance of ROI. It expedites construction timelines, meaning buildings can be occupied more quickly, additionally, this not only speeds up the return on investment but also aligns with developers’ financial goals.


Midrise Buildings: The Sweet Spot for Mass Timber


  • Structural Advantage:Essential to urban development, mass timber in midrise buildings minimizes environmental impact, fostering healthier, sustainable cityscapes for future generation.


  • Design Flexibility: Midrise buildings frequently involve architectural design complexities, also, its products like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (Glulam), empower architects and developers to experiment with unconventional shapes, curves, and arches. It seamlessly integrates with other materials like glass and steel, enabling a diverse range of architectural styles.


  • Environmental Responsibility: Using it in midrise buildings minimizes construction’s environmental impact, promoting healthier and more sustainable urban development.
  • Community Impact: Midrise buildings, often situated in urban or suburban areas, have a profound impact on the local community. Eco-friendly design enhances neighborhoods, making Mass Timber an ideal choice for developers aiming to build community-centric structures.

The Future Landscape of Real Estate Development with Mass Timber

Wood Polisher
Embrace a green era where sustainability meets aesthetics, defining a resilient path for real estate development.

In the evolving realm of real estate development, the adoption of mass timber construction is gaining momentum. It’s imperative to delve deeper into this innovative approach and its implications for the future of real estate, with that in mind, let’s explore the potential transformation this construction method could bring to the industry.

Growth and adoption of Mass Timber in the real estate industry

As the trajectory of mass timber in the real estate industry indicates steady growth, more states embracing its use signal a promising future for sustainable innovation.

Potential for innovation and new architectural possibilities with Mass Timber

Transitioning from change, Mass Timber opens doors to boundless innovation in architectural design and construction. Its versatility empowers architects, ushering in new design horizons from skyscrapers to sustainable homes

How Samcon’s commitment to sustainable building practices aligns with the company’s values and vision.


At Samcon, sustainability is not just a catchphrase; it’s a core value that drives our every decision. Our commitment to sustainable building practices is rooted in our unwavering belief that we can shape a better future. 

By embracing mass timber construction, we not only reduce our carbon footprint but also contribute to the creation of more environmentally friendly living spaces, without a doubt, this alignment between our values and sustainable construction practices is at the heart of what we do.


Future projects that Samcon plans to build using mass timber


As we look ahead, we have an exciting lineup of future projects in the pipeline, with Stanley being our first project on the radar centered around mass timber construction. Stanley showcases our commitment to sustainability and innovation, pushing real estate boundaries while honoring environmental principles.


One of the most exciting developments on our horizon is the Stanley Downtown Montreal project, because this upcoming venture will not only bring stunning architecture to the heart of the city but will also be a testament to our dedication to utilizing mass timber in our constructions. Stanley Tower, a groundbreaking for-rent residence, embodies the future of real estate development with innovative mass timber construction.


Last Words

Mass Timber stands as a transformative force in the realm of real estate development, showcasing its potential to revolutionize construction practices, therefore, we’ve dived into Mass Timber’s eco benefits, structural advantages, pivotal role in greener living.


Samcon remains steadfast in its commitment to pioneering mass timber projects, driven by a profound dedication to sustainability and innovation. Join us on this journey toward a more environmentally conscious and architecturally stunning future.


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