The mass timber business case studies prepared by WoodWorks – Wood Products Council and Conrad Investment Management address the financial performance of US developments constructed with mass timber. Created for the developer/investor audience, each case study discusses qualitative influences and provides quantitative data to examine investment success, challenges and lessons learned.
The goal of this WoodWorks initiative is to substantively communicate the business case of mass timber buildings across a series of building product sub-types. The first package, released on 12/09/2020, includes two speculative office developments.
WoodWorks is actively working to collect more data and provide additional business case studies, which will include multifamily and other building product sub-types. Check back in the future for updates.
These case studies would not have been possible without the support of the developers/owners who shared their data. We are grateful to these firms and individuals, who have supported this endeavor to promote a deeper understanding of mass timber’s value to investors, developers, the community, and occupants of mass timber buildings.
Cost and Value-Added Benefits
Cost estimating mass timber systems requires a holistic approach to compare costs and yield savings. A direct comparison of the price of a mass timber structural frame to the price of a steel/concrete frame will not provide an accurate overall project cost comparison. Mass timber has the potential to shave time off construction schedules and has other benefits that can impact the overall construction costs.
Mass timber is a custom prefabricated structural system and the costs can be optimized by close coordination between designers and builders. WoodWorks’ Mass Timber Cost and Design Optimization Checklists guides coordination between designers and builders as they estimate and make cost-related decisions on mass timber projects. The pre-design section of the checklists has tips for developers/owners related to assembling a design/builder team and contracts, as well as a list of potential benefits of building with mass timber. Mass timber has intangible value-added benefits, such as a differentiated aesthetic and environmental advantages, that can appeal to prospective tenants/ buyers, real estate investors and society at large.
Mass Timber Project Maps & Team Building
WoodWorks has two great resources to view mass timber projects in the US. The most comprehensive map of projects is our Building Trends: Mass Timber Map, which is updated quarterly and includes mass timber projects in design, under construction or built across the country.
For a deeper dive into select mass timber projects, visit the WoodWorks Innovation Network (WIN). The WIN site includes details on the designers, builders and manufacturers involved in these projects, and offers developers/owners an easy way to connect with mass timber experts.
Other Resources for Developers/ Owners:
- How Can a Developer/ Owner Get Started with Mass Timber? (2-pager) WoodWorks, a ULI Greenprint Innovation Partner
- Mass Timber Spec Offices: Developers Share Business Case on Real Deals Webinar
- Mass Timber Construction Management Program, WoodWorks
- Mass Timber: Shifting Labor from Jobsite to Shop (2-pager), WoodWorks, a ULI Greenprint Innovation Partner
- Mass Timber Building Insurance, WoodWorks Initiative
- Innovation Fireside Chat Series: WoodWorks, Innovative Wood Buildings: High Value | Low Impact, 2020 ULI Virtual Fall Meeting (webinar recording available for all ULI members)
- Mass Timber’s Expanding Presence in the Commercial Building Industry, January 2020 article Urban Land Institute
Wildfire Resiliency + Timber Innovations:
- Wildfire Resiliency + Timber Innovations Webinar (coming soon)
- Firebreak: Wildfire Resilience Strategies for Real Estate (report available for all ULI members)
- ULI Sustainability Outlook 2021 (report available for all ULI members)
- Embodied Carbon in Building Materials for Real Estate (report available for all ULI members)
- Understanding the Role of Embodied Carbon in Climate Smart Buildings, Think Wood