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The University of Southern Maine is hosting a day-long discussion Wednesday between architects, engineers, builders and developers on the topic of strengthening the supply chain between lumber producers and builders. Among the topics of discussion is cross-laminated timber and other engineered lumber that stack together layers of wood in alternating directions to create an incredibly strong and resilient building material. Advocates say CLT and other engineered lumber can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. Earlier this year two companies, Montana-based SmartLam LLC and LignaCLT Maine LLC, announced plans to build CLT manufacturing plants in Maine to meet growing demand from architects and builders on the East Coast. A recent reported example is a 500,000-square-foot mass timber office building proposed in Newark, N.J., that would include an 11-story tower.
Do you think Maine is in a strong position to capitalize on an emerging East Coast market for mass-timber building materials?

05/09/18 AT 01:23 PM

05/09/18 AT 01:09 PM
Conditionally, yes, but it will depend on how aggressively plantation-grown wood gets into the market and which tree species are ultimately favored by the industry as the technology matures and experience is gained.

05/09/18 AT 12:42 PM
The short answer is "yes" — however that does come with some caveats in that only proper selection of wood from the forests will avoid deforestation and change the ecosystem. We could certainly use the jobs but with cautions taken to not destroy the natural beauty of our forests.

05/09/18 AT 12:28 PM
I would like to offer a resounding 'Yes,' however, I think we have let our roads and rails take second place and this may hamper our ability to keep transportation access and costs from being competitive.