CMSWillowbrook Doesn’t Use a Crystal Ball

CMSWillowbrook doesn’t use a crystal ball to see the future. Instead, we rely on our extensive experience in construction management to make a few predictions for 2019.

Mass Timber Framing Gets the Credit It Deserves

Oklahoma has yet to adopt mass timber framing on a large scale due to current building codes, but that may soon change. This framing style replaces steel and concrete with large, solid wood panels for wall, floor and roof construction.

Mass timber framing provides several benefits. Structural panels made from cross-laminated timer, or CLT, are exceptionally strong and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings by replacing structural concrete. Every ton of concrete emits a ton of carbon dioxide into the air, but mass timber products actually store greenhouse gases.

Mass timber also beats current fire-safety standards. When flames engulf the panels, they char on the outside. It’s like throwing a giant, solid log in a fireplace and trying to get it to catch fire without kindling.

Photo Courtesy: ARUP

Photo Courtesy: ARUP

One of the most appealing aspects of mass timber construction is the time savings. CLT and other mass timber products are prefabricated, which can reduce construction time by approximately 25 percent compared to concrete buildings.

CMSWillowbrook predicts this strong, environmentally friendly product will be used to frame Oklahoma high-rise buildings in the near future, reducing in-construction time while providing a better finished product.

Off-site Construction Will Become Commonplace

Panelized building systems aren’t new, but we see them quickly becoming the go-to method for student housing and hotels.

CMSWillowbrook built the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at Oklahoma State University using load-bearing, cold-formed steel wall panels which were pre-fabricated. Aside from avoiding costly steel construction on-site, the panels increase the speed at which a project can be completed. In the same time it would take to frame a building using steel, a company using the panelization method can erect the frame, install the windows and façade, and start on the interior walls. It saves months!

When the panelization method is planned from the beginning, CMSWillowbrook can often deliver the project for the same cost as conventional construction.

Photo Courtesy: Ecocor

Photo Courtesy: Ecocor

Wearable Technology Streamlines Communication

CMSWillowbrook is currently testing wearable technology to streamline communication, especially on large jobs. Our project managers, supervisors and superintendents are starting to ditch walkie-talkies for smart watches.

Smart watches also allow our employees to collaborate on projects. When inspecting progress, the workers simply add action items to a shared list they access with their watch. The information is instantly available to coworkers who may be hundreds of feet away, cutting out hours of time walking.

In the future, we look forward to augmented reality allowing users to overlay 3-D building plans over a job site and other advances. But we don’t see them being a widely adopted trend in 2019.

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More Changes to Come

As technology continues to change, CMSWillowbrook will set trends, rather than following the old ways, and we will uphold that value as we build your next project.  

Weston DeHart is president of CMSWillowbrook.

Larisha Hunter