CLEMSON — The list of founding partners for Clemson University’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute continues to grow as two more companies have made donations to help support the advancement of the wood products building industry.

Cross Laminated Timber is comprised of wood boards laminated perpendicular to each other in three to nine layer panels. They are a sustainable solution to commercial construction challenges.

Researchers at the Clemson Wood Utilization + Design Institute are testing cross laminated timber to determine burn rates, wind resistance and structural load.
Image Credit: Clemson University

The Lendlease Corp. and Simpson Strong-Tie each donated $50,000 to help fund the Institute, which brings together foresters, architects, engineers, constructors and building industry stakeholders to design advances in wood-based products through education and training, product research and development, as well as development of technical and design solutions.

“These gifts will be used to support our institute as we go forward,” said Pat Layton, director of the Wood Utilization and Design Institute. “A representative from each company will serve on the institute’s advisory board and will work with other board members to shape the direction of the institute.”

Ben Symons, Lendlease’s general manager for communities and infrastructure, said collaboration with entities such as Clemson’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute is important.

“At Lendlease, our vision is to create the best places,” said Symons. “We accomplish this, in large part, through our commitment to innovation and collaboration — two tenets of Clemson’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute. We are pleased to share our experience in the use of cross laminated timber, both domestically and internationally, and are certain that the Institute will produce valuable results.”

Karen Colonias, Simpson Strong-Tie chief executive office, said her company is excited to have an opportunity to help promote safer and stronger wood construction.

“Simpson Strong-Tie has been a strong supporter of Clemson University’s work in wood construction for many years, with sponsored research, product donations and other projects,” Colonias said. “We are pleased to continue our support by funding the Wood Utilization and Design Institute.”

The Wood Utilization and Design Institute is a multidisciplinary entity established in 2013 to educate, conduct research and provide continuing education of stakeholders across the wood industry. Researchers with the institute currently are testing cross laminated timber to determine burn rates, wind resistance and structural load.

Lendlease and Simpson Strong-Tie join an impressive cohort of founding partners for the institute, including Huber Engineered Wood Products; Collum’s Lumber Products LLC; SmartLam; Mac Rhodes, a South Carolina timberland owner; and Weyerhaeuser Co.

The forest industry has an $21 billion impact on the South Carolina economy. More than two thirds of land in South Carolina — 12.9 million acres — is forested. The Clemson University Wood Utilization + Design Institute is strategically positioned to drive the development, demand and utilization of wood products, as well as address industry’s needs for the next generation of talent.