Mass timber design

Lecture: Mass Timber Design Methodology

Kautokeino School Case Study

This October, the conference Massivtre Seminar Norway was held in Oslo, gathering experts in CLT and timber construction from around the world. Our CEO Dušan Milutinović presented a case study project for a school in Kautokeino municipality in Norway.

Mass timber school

About The Project

Kautokeino school project is located in Norway. It’s a new modern, environmentally friendly school that is being built instead of the existing school. 

The school has been completed earlier this year on the site of the existing school, with significant environmentally friendly improvements, pool and sports’ hall and special school concept – dedication to Sami culture research and practice. The school embodies Scandinavian closeness with nature, love for the natural light and organic forms of buildings, derived from catching the light and use of passive house design principles.

The complete school building is CLT structure, except for the pool building and retaining walls and foundation. The school building has a total area of about 5000 sqm on two stories, both built in CLT. 

Roof and floor slabs are big-span CLT panels with spans up to 7 m. The main load-bearing structure for vertical and horizontal loads consists of CLT walls that, due to fire protection and acoustic requirements, have thicknesses up to 220 mm. Big open spaces in the building like the central atrium are covered using strong GL beams that support CLT slabs.

mass timber material

Design Methodology

The design methodology and the overall project workflow was quite successful and ended in expected time frame. 

Stages of Design Methodology were next:

Phase I – Developing project in the concept design phase – R&D DESIGN PHASE

  • Based on what is SOW providing guildies to architects for exact project
  • R&D meetings with architects 
  • Providing guide direction for architects

Phase II – Preliminary design phase – HIGH LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY 

  • Creative solutions in the line with requirements
  • R&D meetings in the house 
  • Resolving and understanding all points of the project that are unclear or critical

Insist on resolving all input data 

Phase III – Detail design phase  – TIME-CONSUMING PHASE

  • Developing final structural analysis
  • Adopting all structural elements
  • Developing all detailed connections – a creative solution 
  • Syhorinzations with architecture, MEP and all other participants of design.

Phase IV – Execution documentation – RESOURCE CONSUMING PHASE 

  • Collecting all information about production and production capability
  • Developing a production model
  • Developing production and assembly documentation
mass timber methodology

After the first, Research and development design phase in which Statement of work was defined and shared with all the experts hired, followed Preliminary design phase. 

This phase included creative solutions to the requirements and resolving of all the unclear points. It was crucial for the definition of the structural design because it leads to acceptance and lock down of the strucutral system design. 

Phases that followed, Detail design phase and Execution documentation phase, in this case lasted around three months each, with very small discrepancies between predicted time frame and time used, so the project documentation was executed exactly according to the schedule. 

Statistics, Kautokeino School project compared to KF School project

mass timber project time frame
mass timber resources


In comparison with other similar projects, it is obvious that when in the second, Preliminary design phase, more time is used, it causes better information platform for efficient project development in Detail design phase and Execution documentation phase. In that way, the whole process is more efficient and without delays, stress and therefore inevitable additional costs.

We paid special attention to the resources optimisation during the project development, which helped us to achieve the project goals by engaging as many resources as we needed in phases after two main delivery indicators – locking down of structural system and locking down the detailed model. Also, if the growth of resources used continually grows through phases, the possibility to complete all the documentation on time is more likely to fulfill the project requirements.