Not to be confused with manufacturing (the actual bonding together of laminations), fabrication is the process of cutting, drilling or otherwise modifying structural glulam for the purpose of construction. It may also include installation of connectors, simplifying the jobsite construction process to essentially the assembly of a kit. Fabrication often involves the use of computer aided design (CAD) software and sophisticated machinery capable of cutting and drilling to extremely tight tolerances. Pre-fabricated glulam members can significantly reduce installation time and costs.
Many glulam manufacturers offer in-house fabrication capabilities. Others make use of independent fabricators, a growing niche with the advent and popularity of mass timber construction. Regardless of how fabrication is provided, the most important factor is that it be done correctly to avoid mistakes. Improperly fabricated glulam delivered to a jobsite can result in costly construction delays while waiting for replacement product to arrive.
Such mishaps can be minimized by utilizing fabricators who have been certified through the AITC Timber Fabricators Program, designed to ensure conformance to the International Building Code (IBC). Section 1704.2 of the IBC requires that special inspectors be present during the fabrication of structural load-bearing members and assemblies, including wood fabrications (section 1704.6). Section 1704.2.2 offers an exception when a fabricator has a fabrication program in place. AITC’s program is designed to fulfill this requirement allowing an AITC Certified Fabricator to avoid the costly and time-consuming requirement for special inspectors. Moreover there currently are no accredited wood fabrication special inspectors in the United States, making the fulfillment of this requirement impossible without some sort of approved fabrication program like AITC’s.
- View the AITC Certification Process Outline.
- Download the Application.
- Please contact us for fee information or with any questions.
You can also download the sample manual, complete with fill-in-the-blank procedures. For more information on glulam fabrication, see:
AITC 115 – Standard for Fabricated Structural Glued Laminated Timber Components and Assemblies