Changing global weather patterns and rising insurance costs have led one modular builder to construct exclusively with cross-laminated timber.
According to a recent report by Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers, severe thunderstorms accounted for up to 70% of all insured natural catastrophe losses in the first half of 2023. Global insured losses from natural catastrophes reached USD $50 billion in H1 2022, the second-highest figure since 2011. (main pic: CLT constructed beach cottage in Great Exuma, Bahamas, built to withstand 300 km/h + winds.)
It underscores the critical need for resilient housing against extreme weather, a demand that not only impacts construction methods but also drives insurance pricing.
Addressing this need, one U.S.-based modular builder called Offsite CLT Construction, specialises in designing and building with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions such as category 5 hurricanes.
Situated in The Bahamas, they’ve partnered with a Spanish company Egoin, who specialise in mass timber projects and the supply of CLT and Glulam.
Their projects include the Bahamas’ first carbon-negative restaurant and robust beachfront homes designed to blend modern aesthetics with traditional Bahamian principles, all engineered and constructed with CLT to be resilient to 300 km/h winds.
This development comprises two identical CLT apartment blocks built above a sunken concrete parking level.
The exterior finishes conceal the CLT shell of what is Bahamas’ first carbon negative restaurant building. This structure uses 3, 4 and 5-ply pressure treated CLT panels giving the building a wind tolerance close to 320 km/h and a fire rating that far exceeds the minimum requirements of the Bahamas Building Code.
This project combines office and retail space under one roof. The CLT building was completed in less than half the time when compared with reinforced concrete.