T3 Minneapolis - Project Completion and Site Visit

By Justin Brown,
Structural Engineer

StructureCraft has recently completed installing the timber structure for T3, a 7 storey 220,000sqft office building in downtown Minneapolis.

T3 is the first modern tall mass timber building in the USA, and presented unique challenges from design development to erection on site.

Many members of our team played a part in the successful delivery of T3: business development, project management, engineering and drafting. To fabricate the NLT mass timber panels for this project, we set up a remote shop in Winnipeg, with our team there creating a production line which produced over 1100 panels using 1.4 million linear ft of 2x8. An image of T3 during construction is shown below.

I have been involved on this project as a structural engineer and have been fortunate enough to make visits to both the Winnipeg shop and the T3 Minneapolis site. To test some of the unique connection designs we developed for this project, we performed full scale testing of connections in our Delta shop. Fabrication of panels in Winnipeg began in summer 2015 and I visited in September 2015. Led by StructureCraft superintendents and carpenters, hired local labour learned to fabricate our Nail-Laminated timber panels. Precision was necessary as the Winnipeg team delivered over 1100 NLT panels with unique screw reinforcement and notches to within 1/4" tolerance. T3 NLT panels varied from 10' – 40' in length, were SPF #1/2 2x8 and 2x4 dimension lumber. The production line and efficient storage of the panels in the Winnipeg shop is shown below.

I visited the T3 Minneapolis site on March 10, 2016. Timber construction was on the 6th floor, with NLT panels, glulam beams and glulam columns all concurrently being installed that day. Under the supervision of StructureCraft carpenters, hired local union labour learned the intricacies of Tall Wood construction. Work was progressing efficiently on the 4thNLT floor slab, and I was able to see the beauty of our unique connection ideas, erection methodologies and attention to detail. All of the office time spent last fall challenging our own ideas in the pursuit of the most efficient timber structure was showing its rewards as glulam columns, beams and NLT panels were safely and methodically placed one by one into place. Efficient beam-column connection details developed through testing allowed quick-connect placement of the beams, with pick times under 5min/piece. NLT panels landed on top of the Glulam beams and were connected with long reinforcing screws to create a structural diaphragm. The image below is Lucas Epp (Engineering & 3D manager) and myself discussing the plans during our engineering inspection.

Below is a GoPro video showing the quick NLT panel installation.

Seeing a successful day on the T3 site is a testament to the entire StructureCraft delivery team working together. Many hours were spent in Delta planning the Winnipeg shop, determining panel sequencing and receiving from Winnipeg to Minneapolis and the organizing the pre-installation of connection steel and reinforcing screws to European glulam. The truth is in the finished product, and I was very proud visiting Minneapolis seeing the unique building we were erecting.

The video below is drone footage of T3, providing perspective on how large the building truly is.

Before leaving Minneapolis, I stopped by the eight-story wooden Butler Brothers building that was erected in 1908 (shown below).

The Butler building is a testament to the longevity of wooden structures and their history. Mass Timber buildings are on the rise again, and StructureCraft is proud to be a leader in the industry.