A Complete Guide to Laminated Wood structures

In an upscale neighborhood in Calgary, Alberta, featuring $2 million homes, aesthetics were important for residents who did not want steel guyed structures. The solution was a dozen unguyed, 52-foot-long glulam structures, engineered by our team of experts.

In another Calgary neighborhood, Bell Structural Solutions worked with one of the area’s largest electric transmission providers to replace steel lattice towers with laminated wood structures. Community members wanted structures that would blend in more with nature. Best of all, the switch ended up saving the utility provider more than $1 million.

In the electric utility industry, due to aesthetics, sustainability, cost, and lead time, laminated wood structures are oftentimes preferred over steel.

And now, as businesses express the desire to move towards more environmentally-friendly products, laminated wood structures are also starting to become more prevalent in the telecommunications industry.

But when telecommunications companies are faced with the choice between laminated wood structures and alternative materials, such as steel or concrete: what are the main differences, and how should they choose?

Laminated Wood Structures are the preferred choice for multi-tenant and small cell towers.

What are laminated structures?

Laminated wood structures are manufactured with multiple layers of wood (either Southern Yellow Pine or Douglas Fir), glued together, designed to handle virtually any load and in any length. They are the only engineered structures that can be climbed with hooks and drilled with standard tools, and they can be made as multi-piece structures for storage, transportation, and installation purposes.

Laminated wood structures boast the versatility and sustainability of wood. They can be easily modified in the field, are ideal for multi-tenant and small cell structures, and can be engineered from 25 to 180 feet.

Laminated Wood Structures: ideal for multi-tenant and small cell towers

Laminated Wood Structures are the preferred choice for multi-tenant and small cell towers.Here’s why.

  1. Long Lifespan. Maintained engineered wood structures can last upwards of 100 years, and they won’t rust, scale, or corrode like steel structures.
  2. Height. Engineered wood structures can be designed for heights upwards to 180 feet.
  3. Climate positive and renewable. Wood is the only building material in the world that is climate-positive, meaning it doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  4. Easily customizable (and can be camouflaged)! With unlimited design flexibility, our structures are catered to your specific needs, including the option to manufacture in sections for easy delivery, installation and fewer costs. We can also engineer your structure to be camouflaged to fit your community. (Want a telecommunications structure to look like a tree? We can do that)!
  5. Safer and stronger Engineered wood structures can handle virtually any load and are safer near power lines. They naturally reduce antennae fatigue, and can be climbed with hooks.
  6. Lead time and on-site delivery Laminated wood structures can be available in 16 to 20 weeks.
  7. Fire protection Fire protection can be added to any structure.
  8. Forest management Laminated wood structures come from managed forest lands. Bell is committed to the management of forests, promoting long-term sustainability and a positive environmental impact.

How are laminated structures used?

Laminated wood can be used for transmission structures, distribution structures, tangent structures, joint-use structures, telecommunication structures, unguyed angles, unguyed dead ends, guyed angle structures, switch structures, and substation structures.

What’s more: most laminated structures are embedded directly into the ground, which eliminates the need for a concrete foundation and indicates additional cost savings.

Laminated vs. steel structures

Laminated telecom structures also meet ever-increasing land-use requirements that often call for full tension dead end structures, unguyed angles, and engineered structures in which guying is expensive or not an option, according to the APA.

Learn More About Bell Structural’s Laminated Wood Prices & Solutions for the Telecom Industry

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