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Community and Q&A

Integrating Mass Timber and MEP Systems in commercial projects

Xavier_Obando | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I am interested in expanding the use of mass timber in our commercial projects. However, one concern frequently in design discussions is the interaction and detailing between mass timber and MEP systems. Could anyone share insights, details, or best practices for accommodating HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems -mainly for fully electrical buildings, so think VRFs, ERVs, and typical lighting and fire impression systems?

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  1. Expert Member


    Can you be a bit more specific about your concerns. Mass timber is a structural system. The components - posts, beams, floor systems - are much like the concrete it often replaces. What difficulties do you anticipate?

  2. benwolk | | #2

    Ideally you want to have your MEP systems fully designed and detailed using BIM software (Revit, Archicad, etc) so that the factory can plan and cut the larger holes in the panels if needed to reduce field work. You want to have the system carefully laid out if you are planning on exposing the mass timber floors as you won't be able to hide the services easily. Best practices are to design the HVAC to reduce ductwork runs as much as possible. I suggest watching some of the more detailed youtube videos about mass timber projects. Take a tour of ones under construction if possible. You can also hire someone like the Timberlab ( to do pre-con services so you can take advantage of their real world experience with the system to improve your designs.

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