Katerra has announced that Nick Milestone, the former chairman of the Timber Research and Development Trade Association (TRADA), is joining the company as its director of mass timber to focus on fully integrating Katerra’s mass timber production within its end-to-end process.

Nick and his team will also help establish one model to efficiently service Katerra’s end-to-end new build, AEC professional services, and third-party sales of cross-laminated timber (CLT), while supporting full production at its Spokane Valley factory.

Nick was previously with William Hare Group and B & K Structures, the largest mass timber construction business in the U.K.

We spoke with Nick to learn more about his new role and his vision for the mass timber market in both the U.S. and Canada.

WF: What is your vision for developing & growing Katerra’s mass timber and CLT business?

Nick : I’m focused on fully integrating our mass timber production within Katerra’s end-to-end design and construction offering. Our team will help solidify one model to efficiently service Katerra’s end-to-end new build, AEC professional services, and third-party sales of CLT, and in turn support full production at our Spokane Valley CLT factory. The use of CLT can be combined effectively with both structural steel and glulam framed structures to create optimized and efficient building structures dependent on our clients’ preferences. Our goal is to develop the most advanced mass timber building systems in the world, and to make them more widely available, more efficiently produced, and of higher quality than ever before.

WF: How is mass timber improving architecture in a sustainable and impactful way?

Nick: CLT offers a unique combination of efficiency, strength, safety, aesthetics, and environmental benefits to deliver value across the entire construction ecosystem. It’s five times lighter than concrete but has a similar strength to weight ratio which allows for reduced bracing requirements and gravity load. CLT’s ability to store embodied carbon allows us to reduce total building emissions, our recent CLT and Catalyst project LCA report lays that out.

It also reduces construction times. CLT’s prefabricated nature generally results in construction times 20 percent faster than conventional building systems both in production as an off-site prefabricated component and the onsite assembly. That increases the ROI for developers by shortening the timeline to a building’s revenue generation, and the aesthetic appeal drives faster occupancy and greater lifetime value.

WF: What future do you see for mass timber and CLT?

Nick: Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is fundamentally changing the way we design, manufacture, and build. Katerra’s investments and innovations will help CLT become the backbone for future

generations of high-performance, low-carbon buildings. Our application of technology — like biometric and geometric scanning and advanced panel algorithms for layup placement – will help optimize the production process and fuel Katerra’s contribution to the available supply of mass timber in North America. The market needs mass timber to succeed in order to meet ever-increasing housing and climate demands. I hope to see the North American mass timber market accelerate as the European market did, and to make it easier to create beautiful, high-performance buildings with this more sustainable and cost-effective product.