New CLT Tool Improves and Simplifies Mass Timber Design

The new EQUILBIRUM software will help accelerate the use of cross-laminated timber systems in global projects.

Wed 06 Sep 23


A new set of free, early-to-use design tools will help engineers streamline cross-laminated timber systems (CLT) design.

Last week, EQUILIBRUM launched the CLT Structural Design Tool after receiving funding from the USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Grants and the US Softwood Lumber Board.

The new tool, peer-reviewed by New Zealand-based design and engineering company Holmes, is supported by a panel of leading North American CLT manufacturers who reviewed the data.

Wood Central understands that the tool, designed for the North American market, can also be applied to global projects and allows users to input predefined layups using macros or via manual input quickly.

As a condition of the grant, EQUILBIRUM has committed to updating the data for two years and is inviting engineering firms, material suppliers, architects, and others interested in CLT systems to embrace this software.

EQUILIBRIUM was also involved in the Oregon State University Forest Science Complex – which featured an atrium made from CLT concrete composite floor panels, towering glulam columns and the first use of mass plywood panels anywhere in the world. (Photo Credit: Josh Partee)

Supported by an Excel-based structure, the new software will help calculate various applications, including roofs, floors, and walls.

Once the layup and user-provided information is supplied, the tool automatically populates data from calculations and design checks.

EQUILIBRUM’s Associate Principal Matt Kantner said, “CLT’s use as a structural material in buildings is increasing exponentially. We wanted to create a tool for engineered design that keeps pace with the industry.”

This tool takes the guesswork out of CLT design – by verifying relevant design criteria such as strength (cold and fire) and serviceability (deflection and vibration). 

Mr Kantner said, “Designs can be performed quickly, and calculation reports are easily printed.”

“It is straightforward, approachable, and transparent, which makes it a great tool for seasoned mass timber engineers and newcomers alike.” 

The new software coincides with surging demand for CLT

In June, Wood Central reported that the market for mass timber is expected to triple over the next decade.

Fuelled by North America and Europe, Australia, Japan, China, and India are also major growth markets for mass timber construction.

In March 2023, Wood Central reported that Australian-based CLT Toolbox had launched a new structural design software for mass timber buildings.

Founded by CEO Adam Jones, a former Future Green Leader of the Year award recipient from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), CLT Toolbox is also focused on making timber design simpler than concrete and steel, aiming to eliminate embodied carbon emissions in construction.

After a limited ‘beta release’ in April, CLT Toolbox confirmed yesterday that a beta launch in Australia and New Zealand is imminent.

Footage courtesy of @CLT Toolbox.

Mr Jones also hosts the WoodSolutions podcast ‘Timber Talks’ and co-hosts the ‘What You Will Learn’ podcast.

He told Wood Central that CLT Toolbox is currently working towards partnering with the mass timber supply chain and the university sector to provide fourth-year engineering students with pathways to join the industry.

CLT Toolbox has already opened an office in Ethiopia and is opening an office in Indonesia later this year.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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