The Future Is Now: Next-Gen Timber Connectors Drive Prefab

Simpson Strong-Tie have launched its new range of MASOZ mudsill anchors - a key part of the pivot away from stick-built framing to offsite construction.

Wed 22 May 24


The next generation of connectors could hold the key to accelerating the pivot away from stick-built framing – supercharging the push to build faster, cheaper, and safer to meet global climate commitments. 

Now, Simpson Strong-Tie, one of the world’s largest suppliers of structural building products, is looking beyond traditional cast-in-place anchor bolts, developing new products that allow wall panels to be seamlessly aligned wall panels without protruding bolts – including its new MASOZ mudsill anchors.

Launched at the International Mass Timber Conference in Portland earlier this year, the new range of mudsill anchors follows MASA, a mudsill anchor that eliminates the need for 3-inch square plate washers. What’s more, it has been designed for sheathed wall panels and has the potential to shake up offsite manufacturing and mass timber construction.

“As more builders switch from stick-built framing to offsite fabrication, traditional mudsill anchors for sheathed wall panels are proving too labour intensive for the application,” according to Randy Daudet, Strong-Tie’s Product Manager for Mass Timber/Offsite Products, who added that the new connectors “allows panels to be installed without the hassle of aligning sill plate holes with protruding anchor bolts.”

Hans Blass is a professor of timber engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is world-renowned for his work on innovative and reliable structural timber connections. Footage courtesy of @woodsolutionsaustralia.

For its measure, timber connectors play a crucial role in the drive towards offsite fabrication, bridging timber-based wall and floor panels and ensuring a tight bond that can withstand external pressure – including massive earthquake activity.

In March, Andrew Dunn, the organiser of the TimberConstruct conference in Melbourne, toured Simpson Strong-Tie’s headquarters in Stockton, California, before touring its purpose-built Tyrell Gilb Research Lab.

“Simpson Strong-Tie is one of the exhibitors that will showcase its range of connectors and fasteners at TimberConstruct,” he said.

As one of 15 Asia-Pacific delegates, Mr Dunn toured the 35-year-old lab, which includes a massive shake table reinforced to a 10,000-square-foot Strong Floor. According to Mr Dunn, Simpson Strong-Tie was one of the partners involved in the TallWood project, which saw connectors tested 100 times as part of California’s world’s largest seismic test:

“The result was a new type of rocking wall system, using a 3-metre-wide panel spans the tower’s height and anchored to the world’s largest outdoor shake table via Strong-Tie’s steel rods.”

Inside the Tyrell Gilb Research Lab, Mr Dunn said the floor is three feet thick and designed to withstand 300,000 pounds in load, with more than 10 million tons of reinforced concrete in the walls and core.

“Why so much concrete? For two reasons,” he said: one, greater flexibility when testing heavy loads, and second, the actuators need a significant reaction time when testing specimens through earthquake simulation…if the reaction mass of the lab floor was not so large, cyclic tests could transmit vibrations through the rest of the building.”

Simpson Strong-Tie’s MASOZ Mudsill Anchors

For MASOZ, the new anchors are installed inside the form board (outside the wall), allowing the panels to be placed without aligning sill plate holes with protruding anchor bolts. With strategic nail hole and bend-line locations, the versatile design allows MASOZ anchors to work with up to 1/2-inch thick sheathing in flush or overhanging conditions and F1 loads compared to code-prescribed 1/2-inch anchor bolts. 

Screenshot 22 5 2024 111216
MASOZ installs on the inside of the form board (outside of wall), allowing panels to be placed without aligning sill plate holes with protruding anchor bolts. (Photo Credit: Simpson Strong-Tie)

Form-board alignment features — a compound bend at the intersection of the top of the form-board and concrete, along with notches at the outside edge — facilitate installation. Nail holes include Simpson Strong-Tie’s patent-pending raised embossing to allow installation using a nail gun without positive placement.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


Related Articles