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2014-2016 Research Projects: Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities

Project: Wind and rain resistant design for coastal cross laminated timber buildings

Principal Investigator

Scott Schiff, Clemson University

Project Number


Research Description

High winds and water intrusion cause substantial damages to coastal buildings and structures during storm and hurricane events. Cross laminated timber (CLT), an emergent building system, has the potential to enhance the resiliency of coastal structures; it is used in Europe and Canada to build sustainable and resilient buildings. However, little is known about the performance characteristics of CLT in a humid subtropical climate such as South Carolina’s. With an increased desire to build environmentally conscientious buildings, consumers may be attracted to CLT, and engineers and architects will require research on the strengths and design specifications of the material in order to use it in the construction of wind-, rain-, and flood-resistant buildings.

The proposed research will create a method to determine the design wind loads for particular CLT structures. Using wind tunnel studies, investigators will determine how projected building features must be designed to withstand wind loads. Investigators will incorporate results into methods to improve the suggested “best practices” as appropriate. In addition to engineers and architects, this information will be beneficial to contractors and insurance organizations, and indirectly to building consumers.

The objectives of this project are to (1) determine the effects of CLT panel projections on wind loads and pressures, (2) develop usable information on CLT panel wind loads and codify that information for use in the wind design of CLT buildings, (3) determine appropriate wind loads for each layer of CLT building cladding systems, and (4) provide suggestion on means of improvement of CLT building envelope design as appropriate.

Contact for Questions

Scott Schiff (