New process makes for quick construction

Cross-laminated timber speeds construction, gains fans in U.S.

Dangling from a crane in downtown Whitefish, MT, a 40-foot-by-8-foot wooden floor plate weighing 4,400 pounds slowly swings into place — not your typical piece of construction material.

But it is precisely the type of material that a new company, Innovative Timber Systems, aims to showcase as the first commercial construction project of its type in the United States.

The goal is for a 5,000-square-foot, two-story building to be erected within five days this week in a narrow lot behind the Great Northern Bar.

"We're on pace," said Innovative Timber Systems founder Pete Kobelt, looking on as most of the first level came together after less than two days of work. "We're feeling pretty good about it right now."

"As you can see, it's clicking together like a Lego set," said Andy Hamer, owner of the Sawbuck Do Jang, the business that will occupy the building.

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