Last Friday I was invited to an open house at CLT Outaouais in Ripon, Quebec – just one hour drive from Ottawa. Very impressive set up in an old warehouse – there they are producing European quality CLT panels. With wood imported from Austria. But they are starting to use poplar from the surrounding area to make it from scratch right there. They had some cool videos on display that showed some of their first installations and there was good interest from contractors.
The photo below shows a vacuum press, where the layers of wood are glued together. The pieces are laid down in the machine as you can see in the photo, covered with a gigantic rubber blanket and then the air is succeed out. This puts pressure on the element from all 6 sides, not like a typical press that would only allow pressure from the top down.
With thousands of installation in Europe, CLT is still quite unwon in Canada – and with everything new there are hurdles. The current building code in Ontario doesn’t cover the structural design of CLT panels. My building permit application is still under review and earlier this week we got the structural comments – 21 items. The only good thing is, that I am my own client, because I would not know how to explain this to a client that I have just convinced to build with CLT and is eager to start construction.