Mass timber, which includes cross-laminated timber (CLT), is a building material that is gaining popularity in North America. Mass timber is a family of engineered wood products (EWPs) which use small wood members to produce large wood panels, beams and columns engineered to minimize the natural inconsistencies found in wood so that it can be used for structural building components.
According to Gary Kaplan, president of AXA XL’s North America Construction business, “The construction industry is seeing significant benefits working with Mass Timber. It’s a sustainable building material that can be prefabricated, requiring fewer workers and less safety concerns. It can speed up construction time. And, from a design perspective, mass timber construction has a lot of curb appeal. From a risk perspective, it can be challenging. But when a broker like Arthur J. Gallagher comes to us on behalf of a client, like major commercial contractor Swinerton, we knew we needed to take on the challenge to find a solution appropriate to the risk.”
“Mass Timber is environmentally friendly and as a renewable resource has a smaller carbon footprint,” Mr. Kaplan added. “Addressing this insurance challenge for our clients certainly also aligns with AXA XL’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts to reduce our own carbon footprint and support those organizations who are looking to do the same.”
“The insurance industry has long been wary of the risks of wood construction. Wood, even engineered wood, is still combustible and presents a higher combustible load than standard non-combustible building materials.,” said Joe Vierling, Profit Center Head for AXA XL’s Builders Risk business in North America. “Fortunately, given our clients’ attention to risk management and the growing availability of technology that can help monitor buildings during construction, we’re confident we can successfully extend capacity to cover carefully managed mass timber construction risks.”
According to Mr. Vierling, he and his team will be providing coverage and capacity to experienced contractors that have successfully delivered mass timber projects, using proven materials supplied by experienced manufacturers. These projects will employ the latest monitoring technology and fire suppression systems to complement the contractors robust risk management programs.
Read more about the Benefits and Risks of Building with Cross Laminated Lumber.
The AXA XL insurance companies offer Builders Risk insurance to protect large and complex building projects against first-party property damage during construction.
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