Building Structures

Green Design

LEA considers green design and sustainability concerns at the onset of every project. Our work with mass timber is the perfect example of that principle at work. Advancements in wood product technology, coupled with the high accessibility of this renewable resource in North America, have spearheaded a resurgence in the use of mass timber and with it, come a great number of benefits, including:

  • Above requirement fire resistance: during fires, exposed mass timber chars on the outside, protecting the interior wood due to the formation of an insulating layer around the perimeter. This causes it to last over 3 hours, well above the 2-hour building code requirements.

  • Sustainability: studies have discovered that building with timber produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any other alternative. It is also estimated that the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in a roughly 10-storey building has the same emission control effect as taking more than 2 million cars off the road for one year.

  • Strength: mass timber buildings roughly weigh around one-fifth of comparable concrete buildings, which in turn gives mass timber high strength-to-weight ratio and great performance during seismic activities.

  • Cost efficiency: since its prefabricated and only assembled on site, mass timber buildings are roughly 25% faster to build and cause 90% less construction traffic. This creates shorter project timelines and safer construction sites.

  • Reduced need for fixtures: many designs try to feature the mass timber heavily by leaving large parts exposed which saves on the time and cost of finishings like painting and drywall.


A rendering of the structural wood CNL building.

Notable examples of our mass timber experience includes our work with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), where we created suspended floors and roofs of mass timber consisting of glue-laminated timber columns, beams, and joists supporting cross-laminated timber (CLT) slabs; and our upcoming work on The Arbour at George Brown.

LEA is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, the most widely used green building rating system in the world.