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Economic Innovation: New CrossFit Center Features All-wood System

CrossFit Duratus is unique for many reasons – starting with its name. Duratus is Latin meaning to “endure” or “harden”. Appropriate for a fitness gym. Yet, CrossFit Duratus is not a typical gym in its product offering nor its physical structure. Rather, CrossFit Duratus is a unique all-wood building combining cross-laminated timber (CLT), with RedBuilt’s RedLam LVLRed- I joists and Red-M open-web trusses.

“This is an innovative building for its all-wood structural components,” explains General Contractor Mike Bradley of Beacon Builders. “Yet it didn’t start that way. The owner came to me requesting the most economical option; which I suggested was pre-engineered steel with exposed stick pin insulation.”

After learning more of the owner’s wishes for natural lighting along with functional requirements such as the ability to attach exercise racks to the walls, Bradley with Structural Engineer Logun Rasmussen, were able to determine that the combination of wood was environmentally friendly and the most economical.

“The true benefits of the building came from a collaboration of function, design, and economical feasibility,” says Bradley. “This included a reduced framing schedule that resulted in a seamless construction plan.”

Cost and construction schedule were essential.  It took a three-man crew – one skilled and two unskilled laborers – just three weeks to frame the 8,000 square foot building and a 1,200-square foot mezzanine. Bradley explained that the ability to frame the structure with the current labor constraints was key to the buildings cost basis along with the cycle time of the framing schedule.

“The secret is always labor,” says Bradley. “What I love about building with wood is the wood-to-wood connection and our ability to use a versatile labor force. For example, the RedBuilt Red-I joists are lightweight – which allows them to be installed with just two people. Laborers accustomed to wood framing have a broader scope of skills that are transferable.”

Rasmussen of GLR Engineers explains that the all-wood system had several other benefits. “Our connection design was simple,” says Rasmussen. “Simple because all the materials play well together using typical clips and lag bolts.”

“Selecting a system of economy was the key to this project,” describes Rasmussen. “While we were new to CLT, using other familiar wood product manufacturers made the process predictable, and the mix of products created an appealing and unique structural look.” 

“By using RedBuilt trusses and CLT, we were able to create an all-wood frame where the performance was the same as a steel structure,” says Rasmussen. “The Red-M open-web trusses have the needed strength and capacity while also being the most economical with 8-foot on center spacing – more than twice as wide than what is typical. The Red-M’s at 8’ really open up the space to make it feel open and allow for faster erection time with less labor.”

“While we’ve each had extensive experience with RedBuilt’s engineered wood products, we were a bunch of rookies in using CLT,” explains Bradley. “The owner wanted to use all wood. Logun and I were excited to use this kind of product mix and we’d do it again. ”