Building Across Borders: Mass Timber Projects and Collaborative Success


Building Across Borders: Mass Timber Projects and Collaborative Success

A Case Study of Cross-Border Collaboration

At International Timberframes, we're thrilled to share the remarkable journey of a successful cross-border mass timber project. We had the privilege of presenting our experiences at this year's WoodTalks during the Global Buyers Mission, where Sigi Liebmann, the visionary founder and owner of International Timberframes, and Tim Politis, the creative force behind One Line Studio, offered their insights.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the story behind a dowel laminated timber (DLT) architects studio, highlighting the essential elements of cross-border collaboration and mass timber construction. We explore the beauty, sustainability, and enduring potential of DLT while bridging borders to build a brighter future.

Cross-Border Partnerships: A Collaboration with One Line Studio

We had the pleasure of working together with an architecture company - One Line Studio - in creating their new office space in Denver Colorado. Creating a building that tests new thoughts, explores sustainable materials and techniques while finding inventive design and construction solutions was our customers quest in creating this architectural studio.

The customer was captivated by the benefits of dowel laminated timber (DLT) for its ability to serve as a structural and finished wood panel system. And liked the added benefit of the raw surface smelling like wood - heightening the human senses and absorbing reverberating sound - an ideal acoustical environment for an office.

biophilia with dowl laminated timber dlt walls and ceiling in a commercial building

We supplied One Line Studio with the exterior cedar accents and 3000 sqft of stacked Wood100®DLT panels that we manufactured. A fluted finish was used for interior walls, mezzanine floor and roof. A flat finish for the exterior roof.

Our cross-border success story would not be complete without acknowledging the crucial role played by our partners at One Line Studio. Led by the principal and owner Tim Politis, One Line Studio brought a unique perspective to the table, elevating our Wood100®DLT panels to new heights. It was the collaborative spirit that drove our partnership. The innovative design thinking and a shared commitment to excellence transformed this project, their new studio, into a true masterpiece.

Planning for Precision: Sequencing and Prefabrication

The success of any cross-border mass timber project lies in meticulous planning and precise sequencing. Digital models and 2D drawings were invaluable tools, facilitating non-verbal communication across all teams.

In the face of space constraints, we planned the loading of the truck in reverse sequence to ensure that the first panels needed on-site were readily accessible.

Having 2d drawings of the load and with the load is also helpful for shipping companies crossing the border in case of an inspection - things will move along smoother and faster.

Panalization and pre-assembly of the DLT billets before they leave our production facility also became a pivotal aspect of our project's success. We encountered the crucial question of how to lift these panels from a horizontal surface on the truck to a vertical surface on-site, all while ensuring that unnecessary strains and deformations were avoided.

Lifting plans and tools were sent together with the panels.

By planning for the installation in advance, we could proactively design solutions that would guarantee a smooth transition from production to installation, minimizing potential setbacks and optimizing efficiency.

Cross-Border Installation Challenges and Solutions

Cross-border projects come with its unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to on-site installation and when the installation is done by somebody else. However, as the saying goes, with challenges come opportunities, and our collaborative journey was no exception.

One of the key takeaways was the importance of coordination among multiple trades, as it played a pivotal role in ensuring a successful installation. We created a detailed video outlining the precise sequencing for each trade, ensuring a seamless process leading up to our panel's arrival.

However, as with any grand project, surprises can arise. At one point, steel components were installed prematurely, requiring adjustments to adhere to the sequence. Then the framing team discovered that the wall panels and the steel components were misaligned by nearly an inch. 

cross-border mass timber project with prefabricated dlt roof, wall and floor panels

We swiftly convened a Zoom meeting to address the issue. Within just half an hour, we had devised a solution. It became evident that wood, particularly DLT, was our greatest ally in this situation. Its forgiving nature allowed for on-site adjustments without significant effort, demonstrating once again why wood is an ideal material for complex projects.

One intriguing aspect of this project was the natural inclination of sub trades to draw on walls, which was not possible in that case since the DLT panels served as a structural and finished product. So numerous conversations with supervisors and clear signage ensured that nobody was drawing on the DLT walls.

This situation also highlighted the importance of how we approach construction in general - beyond the traditional tradesman mentality. Every individual involved is part of a shared vision, contributing to a common end result. It's not just about each trade coming in to do their part and leaving—it's about fostering a sense of ownership and pride in every contributor. Again, effective communication becomes the cornerstone of this approach.


In conclusion, our journey through this cross-border mass timber project has been a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and sustainability. The creation of One Line Studio's new space stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when like-minded partners come together to push the boundaries of design and construction.

We hope our story inspires others to embrace the potential of natural solid wood and the possibilities that cross-border collaboration offers.