THE origin of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) stems from the manufacturing process of aeroplane propellers, along with other high-strength aircraft components made from Spruce veneers during the Second World War.

The term ‘veneer’ is synonymous with plywood and gained prominence in the 1970s. The last 20 years have played witness to the emergence of LVL as the pre- eminent timber building material in modern construction practices.

Initial Australian LVL manufacturers started with modulus of elasticity (MOE) of 13,200 MPa, approximating an existing US grade of 1.9E. This ‘recipe’ became the de-facto ‘commodity’ LVL grade and new LVL entrants matched this grade.

In 1997, SmartFrame LVL began to be marketed as LVL 13, similar to MGP and Glulam (eg. MGP10, GL13). SmartFrame LVL 18 was added shortly after.

‘Boutique’ LVL products have emerged with lower MOEs (9,700 MPa to 11,000 MPa), which use lower grade Radiata veneers.

Consistent characteristic strength values from SmartFrame LVL over many years have allowed a promotion from a grade of 13 to 14. This new grade can be made on an economic and environmentally sustainable basis indefinitely. The increase in characteristic strengths allowed the 36 mm LVL to be reduced to 35 mm to match seasoned timber.

SmartFrame are therefore proud to announce the arrival of SmartLVL 14 to its family of Engineered Wood Products.

SmartLVL 14 now achieves equal to or better properties to that of F17 under table 2.4 of AS1720.1. Therefore, SmartLVL 14 now has the added benefit of being more consistent, uniform and available in longer lengths than its hardwood alternative.

SmartLVL 14 by Tilling Timber is clean and green, achieving an E0 rating under AS/NZS 4357.2:2005 and is harvested from PEFC endorsed sustainable forestry sources.

So what does this mean for specifiers?

Architects, engineers, builders and estimators are able to specify SmartLVL 14 where traditional F17 timber may have been placed, making it convenient to specify one product for the project instead of two.

The consistency, strength and green credentials of the product, not to mention the lack of waste during SmartLVL 14 production, all combine to provide a cleaner, greener, stronger and longer product — saving time and money in design, supply and labour costs on your project.