SUMMER 2022 | £4.95
STRUCTURAL TIMBER The latest in structural timber building design and technologies STRUCTURALTIMBERMAGAZINE.CO.UK
SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATING MASS TIMBER INTO BUILDING DESIGN
Dr Pablo van der Lugt
How mass timber can improve the built environment and play a part in a healthy circular economy
Laminated Veneer Lumber
The least well known of the glue laminated systems but primed to take the design spotlight
One of the most critical points of a timber building can be solved with innovative ‘system solutions’
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Welcome to the latest issue of Structural Timber Magazine. This issue we concentrate on what has become something of a newer catch-all phrase for engineered timber technology – we are now fully in the era of ‘mass’ timber.
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For many years, CLT, glulam and LVL was reported on as engineered timber or simply, solid wood. But in keeping with everexpanding (and often confusing to many) terminology, mass timber seems to have become the preferred term. Speaking to Dr Pablo van der Lugt inside, he explained how accelerating the understanding and adoption of mass timber has huge potential to transform the built environment. Also, being based in the Netherlands and with an international outlook, Pablo makes it plain that the UK has much to learn from overseas markets on the use of mass timber. The pros/cons and use of timber ‘at height’ is an argument that doesn’t need rehashing here but across the globe, mass timber is being used increasingly, with USA and Australia forging ahead with tall timber buildings. For some insight into what tall timber – in a hybrid environment – can do, Bethel Teferra, Senior Consultant at Ramboll, explains how a modular regenerative high-rise tower could be symbolic of future cityscapes with mass timber as a key component. Structural timber of all types was given a boost recently. More inside on the several changes to Approved Document B, with the
key change permitting the use of structural timber in buildings up to 18m in height, the timber industry – led by the Confederation of Timber Industries – has lobbied hard and consistently for this. Elsewhere this issue you will find an in-depth feature of an unsung mass timber technology. Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is gaining traction as a material and as Peter Wilson points out, some readers may not be aware of how much. The five-storey Black & White Building currently being completed in London and designed by Waugh Thistleton, is a beech hardwood LVL structure and the “simplicity of this fully engineered, precision-built timber construction belies its ground-breaking innovation.” Finally, hot of the judges’ desks are the shortlisted projects for the Structural Timber Awards 2022. Remember to book your tickets and tables for a bumper evening in Birmingham on 12 October. Once again, huge thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.
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P26 POSITIVE CHANGE
As Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA points out, recent changes to ‘Fire Safety: Approved Document B’ will have significant impact on timber construction.
COVER STORY - XILONOR Little over a year since production commenced at the new Xilonor cross laminated timber (CLT) factory, the first large project in Lugo, Spain is receiving its finishing touches with the UK market now a huge focus.
P28 STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2022
The finalists have been announced for this year’s Awards and with an incredible mix of projects and timber technology on offer, who is in the running for a prestigious prize?
P36 THE NEXT STAGE IN THE NEW TIMBER AGE
Peter Wilson, architect and founding director of the Mass Timber Academy explains more about why LVL is on the rise in the UK.
P40 MAKING NET ZERO NORMAL
UK INDUSTRY NEWS A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including: TDUK, Edinburgh Napier University and NMITE sign new strategic partnership, Donaldson Timber Systems achieve BOPAS Plus and dRMM get funding for new research into whole life carbon and mass timber.
TIMBER: THE OPTIMUM SOLUTION Mass timber has a pivotal role to play in improving our built environment. Dr Pablo van der Lugt, sustainability expert, senior lecturer at Delft University of Technology (Environmental Technology & Design) and author of the acclaimed Tomorrow’s Timber, spoke to us about some of the reasons why.
As the AIMCH R&D project comes to an end, Project Director, Stewart Dalgarno, reflects on its achievements and predicts what’s next for the housebuilding sector.
P42 OLD SHED, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Mowat & Company Architects have designed a new facility for the Whitney Sawmills, where visitors can be welcomed and browse a large selection of British timber.
P44 REGENERATIVE HIGH-RISE
Bethel Teferra, Senior Consultant at Ramboll, illustrates how a modular, sustainable high-rise tower that evolves with a city’s needs could be a future engineered timber reality.
P48 A ‘SYSTEM’ SOLUTION
Our regular column collects some views and opinion from a range of industry insiders, covering a few topical issues affecting the timber sector and the wider construction world. We hear from Nathan Beattie, Simon Corby, Andrew Goodwin, Richard Knight and John Spittle.
P50 KNOW YOUR MATERIAL
• Members of Structural Timber Association. • Extensive experience of applying STA guidance and research. • Determination of category of frame needed. Protecting people and property since 1982
FIRE ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS
• Advice on appropriate solutions to reduce the risk of fire spread to surrounding buildings. • Use of advanced computer modelling techniques to analyse timber frame proposals and provide a cost effective solution.
According to Rothoblaas Engineer Ernesto Callegari, the ground connection continues to be one of the most critical points of a timber building.
Rachel Pattison, Associate, Price & Myers, believes the timber sector needs to work collaboratively through research and knowledge sharing to address industry misconceptions.
The multi-disciplinary team comprises both chartered and graduate engineers, with specialist experience in fire protection and fire engineering, and experienced fire safety professionals with backgrounds in local authority fire and rescue services. For further information visit our website:
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COVER STORY XILONOR
SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATING MASS TIMBER INTO BUILDING DESIGN The natural qualities of Galician timber are a key part of the equation in raising the standard of CLT, but without a well-developed manufacturing process no timber will produce a high grade CLT panel. At Xilonor, planks known as lamellas are assigned strength classification via an automated mechanical process. This allows the average modulus of elasticity for each layer to be accurately determined for every panel, something which is simply not possible where lamellas are classified visually.
01 Little over a year since production commenced at the new Xilonor cross laminated timber (CLT) factory, the first large project in Lugo, Spain is receiving its finishing touches with the UK market now a huge focus. During this critical launch period, the Spanish manufacturer has successfully delivered over 100 projects. These range from tiny structures for exhibition displays, through small and medium residential properties meeting Passive House standard, right up to large multi-storey blocks both public and commercial as well as private. Production capacity is now approaching 30,000 cubic metres of CLT per year, and the plant has reached a position where it can take on virtually any project however large or complex. Processing
Pinaster and Radiata pine harvested within a 60km radius of the factory, Xilonor is already manufacturing with true consistency and has achieved a rate of production exceeding initial expectations. Maximising the utility of available resources with careful selection and tight quality control, the properties of Galician Pine are well suited to CLT manufacture, averaging a density of over 500kg per cubic metre which compares favourably with the more common spruce which is frequently perceived as a more viable species for mass timber products. This key characteristic brings benefits in various forms including the possibility to use fewer fixings to meet structural requirements which in turn means cost savings, less design complexity, and shorter installation times. Also linked to density is fire resistance, the higher it is the better a timber will tend to withstand structural failure through exposure to fire. Ongoing laboratory testing is revealing just how well Xilonor CLT performs, with encouraging results.
Xilonor opted also for a high specification hydraulic press, ready to evolve with emerging developments. High pressing capacity means the raw timber can be trimmed less aggressively, and lamellas can be pressed into position both vertically and laterally. Hydraulically controlled pads then hold the pieces in position while the panel is formed, and the PUR glue cures. This increases the percentage of raw material that is ultimately usable while further reducing production waste. Delamination testing has shown the panels far exceed industry requirements thanks largely to the standard of pressing, up to 10 times the pressure of an equivalent vacuum press. Lateral pressing ensures gaps between lamellas are minimal, further enhancing the mechanical resistance of the finished panel. The Bienestar A new public building destined for social functions in Lugo, Spain, showcases mass timber construction in a building that will be enjoyed by the local community. This building seamlessly integrates mass timber with more industrial and technologically advanced materials. A collaboration
COVER STORY XILONOR between PEMADE, Santiago University department specialising in timber engineering and sustainable forestry, together with gAU Architects who took on the development and final execution of the project. Lugo council had two predominant criteria for the building, primarily that the ground floor space would be flexible and easily adapted to a broad range of uses including recreation, training, and activities of community and social value. The remaining space would be distributed on a first floor and would be divided into a series of rooms destined for social work and administrative activities. A second prerequisite was that the building would be highly efficient and use the most sustainable materials available, namely it should achieve nZEB classification. This requires near zero energy consumption and would become a driving factor in the early decision to select timber and specifically Xilonor CLT for the main structure of the project. The ground floor consists of three zones, firstly the entrance and vestibule area where reception is located. Also found here is access to the upper floor with a broad staircase and single elevator. The remaining two areas are expansive rooms which feature mobile partitions allowing the space to be fully unified to form a large single hall. Defining this interior space from conception is a series of porticos that strikingly exhibit the timber structure of the building, made from a combination of 260mm 8-layer CLT beams with a depth of over one metre, resting upon GL24 vertical posts at 2.5 metre centres and spanning the full 10m width of the building. These deep section CLT beams allow the inner space to be completely free of supporting elements, making optimal use of the available area while maximising adaptability. This feature forms the heart of the structure, forging the design of the entire building’s layout and is mirrored in the upper floor with CLT beams of a smaller 0.7m section bearing a lesser load. A row of large triple-glazed windows fuses the building with the exterior surroundings on each floor, bringing an influx of light into every corner while uniting the community and the space within. Floor level windows allow the exterior space to the east
02 wing on the ground floor to extend into the main hall, making it possible to adjust the layout to suit functions of any nature. The light in communal spaces is directed such that it highlights the timber elements, bringing the woodgrain to the fore in a subtle display of modern timber engineering. 100mm 3-layer CLT slabs form the floor decking of the first level, while a lighter 80mm 3 layer forms the roof. 10m long 100mm CLT panels compose the lift shaft, which was assembled prior to being erected vertically into position. This helped minimise complexity and led to a reduction in the number of fixings required. The staircase is constructed from 160mm 5-layer slab with treads and risers cut from 280mm GL24. This element was machined and assembled at the Xilonor factory, to then be craned directly into position on site. The use of mass timber as opposed to more conventional building materials meant significantly less weight throughout the structure, which then permitted shallower foundations, a reduction in the section of the beams, pillars, floor slabs and walls while allowing the space to be fully exploited. Furthermore, the use of timber in all primary structural elements allowed the buildings envelope to be far more energy efficient with minimal thermal bridging, making the nZEB target more easily reached. Heating is achieved via simple heat pumps, which regulates underfloor heating while a series of radiators supplement temperature control. This along with a heat transfer air exchanger helps maintain a comfortable environment year-round. Next for Xilonor is a significant increase in production capacity up to 60,000 cubic metres per year. The site has extensive room for expansion where additional operations can be implemented. Projects on the horizon
03 include numerous residential and public buildings, and a very exciting in-house development at the Merseyside UK headquarters. A series of explorative projects including the Kew Gardens Tree House exhibition where three designs will be manufactured and installed at Kew for the 2023 season are also in the pipeline. “CLT remains a largely unknown material, even among timber construction professionals, and we want its full potential to be realised,” says Sen Perez, Xilonor UK Manager. “Only through open conversation where no question is a bad one will we discover the true versatility of this material.” With a logistics platform bringing bulk shipping vessels directly into the UK, Xilonor can manage any volume of project from just a few cubic metres up to any volume necessary. Transport costs are kept significantly lower this way, and the entire process is taken care of by the UK part of the business. Xilonor welcomes diverse enquiries with a direct and personal approach. Design & Engineering: PEMADE Architect: gAU Arquitectura e Urbanismo SLp
Installation: Maderas Besteiro
Photography: Cover - Alvaro Lopez
CLT Manufacture and Supply: Xilonor
For more information visit: www.xilonor.es Follow Xilonor on Linkedin www.finsa.com
IMAGES: 01-03. The use of timber in all primary structural elements allowed the building’s envelope to be far more energy efficient making the net zero building target more attainable
UK INDUSTRY NEWS
B&K Structures (BKS) has demonstrated its commitment to health and safety standards, by being awarded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Order of Distinction Gold Health & Safety Award for the 20th consecutive year.
Speaking on its accomplishment is Paul Daubney, Health and Safety Advisor at BKS: “We are committed to ensuring safe working environments for all of our employees at BKS. Health and safety is something that never stops evolving, and you have to be active to guarantee that you operate at the highest level. My role as a full time Health and Safety Advisor is quite unique to BKS, with many businesses choosing to use third-party consultants instead. It allows me to be fully immersed in every sector within our business, which is why I believe we have been so successful.”
Receiving almost 2000 entries each year, the prestigious RoSPA Health & Safety Awards are recognised globally for rewarding businesses that uphold exceptional safety performance standards. As construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the UK, BKS has established itself as a leading example within the industry by once again achieving success.
In addition to having a fully dedicated health and safety role, BKS’ continued success at the RoSPA Awards has also been attributed to its experience and extensive library of procedures and protocols, as explained by Gurjit Purewal, Health, Safety & Quality Assistant at BKS: “The entry process for the RoSPA Awards is detailed but using our extensive procedure library alongside live working documents, we’re able to
B&K STRUCTURES RECEIVES HEALTH & SAFETY AWARD
DONALDSON TIMBER SYSTEMS RECEIVES BOPAS PLUS
Leading UK timber frame manufacturer, Donaldson Timber Systems (DTS) has become one of the first manufacturers to achieve Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme Plus (BOPAS Plus), a durability assessment for advanced, offsite build systems. Building on the original BOPAS scheme, BOPAS plus has been developed to introduce a greater focus on the preparedness of the offsite sector to drive digitisation and collaboration in the construction industry. DTS is one of only three businesses in the UK to hold the new accreditation. The DTS Sigma®
II system, was one of the first offsite build systems originally to be accredited by BOPAS in 2013. BOPAS is the industry benchmark to demonstrate quality and durability to funders, lenders, valuers and purchasers, giving them the confidence that homes built using offsite construction will have a life of at least 60 years. The accreditation process involves a rigorous assessment, including a two-stage review; a detailed interview with Lloyds Register and a full day audit, where the business is required to provide tangible evidence on the plans in place to deliver on its five-year plan. Rod Allan, Managing Director, Donaldson Timber Systems said: “BOPAS plus is a fantastic achievement for the business, and will help to ensure that we have a clear differentiator when promoting our Sigma® II build system to the market. An increased use of our Sigma® II system will reduce the energy required by customers to run their homes, as well as very low embodied carbon from the construction of the home. BOPAS plus will help to provide our clients and the industry with the confidence that our system has been thoroughly assessed and is highly durable.”
demonstrate a current approach to health and safety with real depth of knowledge.” Andrew Goodwin, Managing Director at BKS, commented on the importance of the RoSPA Awards: “Regarding health and safety, it is very difficult to measure when things are going well, but easy when they aren’t. This is why the RoSPA Awards are vital, as the recognition gained from achieving this latest award exemplifies our continued commitment to health and safety.” www.bkstructures.co.uk
Andrew Donaldson, CEO of the Donaldson Group added: “We expect to see a much greater uptake in modern methods of construction in the coming years and anticipate the demand for offsite construction will continue to increase to help address the housing crisis and the drive for net zero. This accreditation further demonstrates the integrity of the offsite method and its longevity. It’s not just a positive for Donaldson Timber Systems and the wider Donaldson Group, but for the offsite sector as a whole.” BOPAS is recognised by the principal mortgage lenders as providing the necessary assurance underpinned by a warranty provision, that the property will be readily mortgageable for at least 60 years. DTS was formerly known as Stewart Milne Timber Systems prior to its acquisition by the Donaldson Group in 2021. www.donaldsontimbersystems.com
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UK INDUSTRY NEWS NEW STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO SET TIMBER SKILLS AGENDA
It is also my belief that the specifiers of the future will need a better understanding of timber if they have any chance of hitting the ever more demanding carbon targets for construction. Our partnerships with Napier and NMITE will help set the timber skills agenda going forward and will provide the underpinning specification knowledge needed to achieve this.” NMITE Chief Academic Officer, Professor Beverley Gibbs added: “NMITE champions student-centred learning and a curriculum fuelled by real-world challenges, and our approach is distinctive in higher education and attracts a wide range of learners. Consistent with NMITE’s core principles, these courses have been conceived and will be delivered in partnership with external stakeholders. Partnering with TDUK and Edinburgh Napier will create the enabling conditions to stimulate collaboration across the industry vertically (seed to end product) and horizontally (architecture, construction, digitalisation) whilst showing an upcoming generation of professionals how rewarding a career in timber can be.”
Timber Development UK (TDUK) has signed a strategic partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) to improve knowledge and skills in timber design and construction. The partnership will see Edinburgh Napier University produce a written library of technical documents which will be made free to all TDUK members. It is widely recognised that there is a ‘knowledge gap’ for specification of timber products among trainee architects, engineers and related studies. To close this gap, TDUK and Edinburgh Napier University are working together to create a knowledge library consisting, from launch, of 150 reports authored by leading wood science and timber specialists. The library will cover information about timber supply, design considerations and building techniques with the goal of providing architects, specifiers and engineers with all the information they need to put timber at the heart of projects.
This will be a rolling contract which will see the library expand and develop each year with the aim to create the largest, most comprehensive technical timber information resource in the UK – if not the world. In addition, the Knowledge Database will be used to underpin and inform a set of short practical courses being developed by NMITE’s Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) in partnership with TDUK. The ‘Timber TED’ (Technical Engineering & Design) courses will create comprehensive and flexible upskilling and reskilling training for modern methods of timber construction. Learners will gain specialist timber construction knowledge and skills for the built environment, focusing on “better, faster and greener” delivery. TDUK Chief Executive, Dave Hopkins explained: “With ESG pressures mounting in boardrooms, it is clear that increasing the use of timber in architecture and construction can provide a very positive contribution towards achieving our net zero goals.
The first phase of the Knowledge library is due to go live in the autumn of 2022. The TED short courses – aimed at engineers, architects and technical design and sales operatives within timber manufacturing firms – will start in September 2022. Commenting on the Knowledge Library, Kirsty Connell-Skinner, Sustainable Construction Partnerships Manager at Edinburgh Napier University said: “This partnership demonstrates Edinburgh Napier’s commitment to timber engineering education. With increasing momentum to tackle the climate crisis, ensuring our future workforce is skilled in the benefits of using timber solutions is vital. “This knowledge library further enhances earlier investment by HCI Skills Gateway in a national timber competency framework and will give students access to information about supply, design and techniques to encourage more use of timber in construction projects.” www.timberdevelopment.uk www.napier.ac.uk
TIMBER CLADDING THAT MAKES A STATEMENT
Teddington Cricket Club | London, England Photography © Ben Tynegate
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UK INDUSTRY NEWS PEFC APPOINTS NEW CEO
The PEFC Board of Directors recently announced that it has appointed Michael Berger (pictured) as PEFC Secretary General/CEO replacing long-time CEO Ben Gunneberg. At the close of 2021, Ben Gunneberg stepped down from his role at PEFC, after serving more than 20 years as the organisation’s Secretary General and CEO.
BINDERHOLZ FACILITY PRIMED FOR PRODUCTION
In early August 2021, construction on binderholz’s solid wood panel Plant II began in St. Georgen bei Salzburg, Austria, marking the development of the site into the most modern and powerful solid wood panel plant in the world. Production at the new Plant II is scheduled to begin in late 2022. This will result in additional capacities for 3-ply solid wood panels in the format 5000 x 1250 x 12 - 60mm for the
“Michael will be an engaged, responsive, and dedicated leader for the PEFC alliance,” said Eduardo Rojas Briales, PEFC Chair. “With his team-oriented, people-centric management style, his focus on collaboration and innovation, and his remarkable expertise and technical knowledge, we are confident he will guide PEFC in the next phase of its evolution.” Dr Berger was selected after an open and intensive process, managed by an external recruitment company. He has worked at PEFC since 2011, most recently as Acting Secretary General/CEO. Michael has over twenty years of experience in environmental and quality management, sustainable supply chain development, and management systems. After his studies in Economics and PhD in Forestry, he worked as a management consultant in different sectors, before serving as a Technical Expert for accreditation bodies and at a leading sustainability consultancy in Germany. Michael was also a lecturer in Corporate Social Responsibility at the School for Forestry and Sustainable
Resource Management at the Technical University Munich in Weihenstephan. “I am honoured and humbled by the trust the PEFC Board and our members are placing in me,” said .Michael Berger. “I am looking forward to working with colleagues in member organisations globally, our excellent team at PEFC International, and all other stakeholders that want to join us on the PEFC journey. “Demands on forests have never been so high. The need for timber is increasing, but forests are also critical climate change mitigation champions and biodiversity hosts. We need to meet and exceed society’s changing expectations of forests. We will strengthen our capacity and collaboration with members and partners to better demonstrate the positive impact that credible certification has on forests, people, and local economies. As an innovative service provider, we will collectively deliver meaningful impact on our journey towards a low carbon economy.” www.pefc.org
European market that will be able to close the supply gap in Europe. Additionally, it will intensify production of profiled 3-ply solid wood panels to become even more efficient and extend the product range for international customers. This investment comprises a fully automated production plant. The production hall with an area of 180 x 40m and a height of 2m will be home to a two-storey production facility as well as the fully automated two-row high-bay warehouse made of solid wood. The first floor will be comprised of a hybrid structure made of reinforced concrete and binderholz cross laminated (CLT) BBS, while the upper floor as well as the high-bay warehouse will be solid wood constructions. Compared to the previous production processes in Plant I, Plant II will boast many future production innovations. The entire production logistics of the high-bay warehouse, for instance, will be controlled using two storage and retrieval machines. The new plant’s concept attaches high
importance to resource efficiency and optimised energy input. Special focus was put on the production of the cover and centre lamellas. The high-bay warehouse’s total of 60 towers, totalling 27m in height, consist of CLT BBS XL walls, into which glulam beams are hooked. The glulam beams are partially screw-press-bonded with the CLT BBS XL panels to be able to establish the tower’s necessary stiffness. A total of 2,300 m2 of CLT BBS and 1,300 m3 of glulam were used for the high-bay warehouse. Quality grading the cover lamellas will be taken care of by a Woodeye Scanner with a feed rate of 400 m/min. The production procedures for cover and centre layers have been updated to meet the latest state-of-the-art technology. These new processes are intended to improve product quality as well as resource utilisation. www.binderholz.com
UK INDUSTRY NEWS STORA ENSO AND MODVION TO EXPLORE WOOD WIND TURBINE TOWERS Stora Enso and wood technology company Modvion are partnering to establish wood as the material of choice for wind turbine towers. The collaboration’s purpose is to demonstrate the vast possibilities in using timber in demanding constructions. Swedish wood technology company Modvion develops demanding designs made from LVL. Stora Enso is a leading supplier of LVL Thanks to their patented module system, Modvion has been able to develop wind towers at decreased manufacturing costs and more efficient transportation for installations of tall towers. The operation is part-financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Västra Götaland region and the EU program Horizon 2020 EIC Accelerator. Taller towers
reach stronger winds, leading to more cost-efficient energy production. “We are proud to enter into partnership with Modvion who, like us, strive to push boundaries and demonstrate the possibilities with wood,” said Lars Völkel, Executive Vice President, Division Wood Products, Stora Enso. “As one of the largest sawn wood producers and private forest owners in the world we play an important role in the transformation to a greener society. By contributing our expertise to Modvion we can further help make a difference in mitigating climate change and supporting the EU’s drive to increase renewable energy production.” Using wood can reduce the CO2 emissions for the tower by 90% while also storing
carbon dioxide that has been taken up by trees during their growth. The wood used for advanced constructions such as wind turbine towers can be reused in new woodbased products which provides further long-term climate benefits. “The commitment of Stora Enso to replace fossil-based materials with renewables is a perfect match for Modvion,” said Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion. “To solve the climate crisis, we need more renewable energy as well as increased use of sustainable, wooden constructions. Together with Stora Enso we can enable both.” www.storaenso.com www.modvion.com
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UK INDUSTRY NEWS end-user experience. An Expert Stakeholder Advisory Group will include industry leaders on whole-life carbon, post-occupancy evaluation, design and delivery of mass timber, and policy to ensure the study’s continued alignment to the latest guidance and regulations.
MASS TIMBER FUNDING FOR dRMM
The work will build on the assessment methodologies already available and circulated within the industry, including the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets; the LETI Carbon Alignment ratings; the RICs guidance on whole life carbon; the RIBA Post-Occupancy Evaluation primer; and the TDUK paper on carbon assessment in timber buildings. Amanda Sturgeon, CEO, Built by Nature, said: “With strong data and robust information, we can continue bolstering the case for mass timber adoption, especially among investors, insurers and policy makers. This is a high-potential project, given its combined climate and social value implications and its future scalability – a strong match with Accelerator Fund criteria. Availability and amplification of this data set and methodologies will be vital and Built by Nature and its network realise the importance of supporting this work.”
dRMM has been awarded funding from the network and grant-making accelerator Built by Nature for ‘Measuring Mass Timber’, a research study into the whole life carbon and quality of life impacts of mass timber buildings. Built by Nature, a network and grantmaking organisation with a mission to accelerate the timber building transformation in Europe, has awarded a €131,250 Accelerator Fund grant to dRMM, the Quality of Life Foundation and Edinburgh Napier University to create a replicable methodology to assess whole life carbon and quality of life impacts of timber buildings in the UK. The assessment methodology will create an open-source set of performance data from five existing timber buildings of varying types in the UK. The data set will comprise
whole life carbon assessments, wellbeing indicators such as air quality and overall experiential aspects, and other project data including comparisons with industry benchmarks. The project aims to help drive the accelerated adoption of timber and mass timber construction among mainstream designers and support policy advocacy. Project summary reports outlining the methodology and the final findings will be disseminated with the aim of fostering broader collaboration within the building sector and advancing the conversation around timber construction in the UK. dRMM will oversee and guide the study, acting as project lead and unifying the two main research streams – whole-life carbon and post occupancy evaluation – to work seamlessly as an integrated exercise. Edinburgh Napier University will champion the study’s whole-life carbon focus, whilst the Quality of Life Foundation will oversee the data gathering around wellbeing and
Robert Hairstans, Head of Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures, added: “There is a clear tension between the drive for a sustainable future and mainstream construction. No longer can the business model and procurement practices result in lowest cost/lowest quality forms of delivery using carbon intensive materials that don’t take full account of the health and wellbeing of building occupants and the planet. Quality of life and embodied and operational carbon should be central to the decisionmaking process at design phase. This Built by Nature fund will enable the derivation of an alternative approach to defining the true value of specifying mass timber construction challenging the unsustainable construction norm.” www.drmmstudio.com
UK INDUSTRY NEWS TIMBER CRUCIAL TO CARBON REDUCTION SAYS EAC
Professor Michael Ramage (University of Cambridge) decried the ban noting that modern timber systems can and do deliver sufficient fire resistance within the primary structure, and how ‘one government policy [the ban] is making another government policy [net zero], untenable.’ Confederation of Timber Industries chair Alex Goodfellow said: “Timber is already a £10billion supply chain in the UK, which supports 350,000 jobs. It provides economic prosperity in every region of the UK, green employment, thousands of healthy, safe, warm, and beautiful low-carbon homes, and is helping create a sustainable construction industry. By using more wood we can achieve quicker, higher quality, and safer construction, as timber lends itself to modern methods of construction by being manufactured offsite with factory precision, and extend the use of existing building, with light-weight timber structures able to lend additional stories.
Using timber has been recognised as a crucial route to decarbonising our built environment in a new, landmark report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC). The EAC has called on the government to complete a policy roadmap to scale up the use of timber in construction by the end of 2022 – at the latest – warning the UK is already falling behind their EU counterparts when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from the built environment. Over 14 months of inquiry MPs heard from a wide range of experts on the best strategies to decarbonise the built environment – an area which is directly responsible for a quarter of the UK’s total carbon emissions – at a total of 177 MtCO2e – and strongly influences up to 42%. Their report, ‘Building to net-zero: costing carbon in construction’, warns that despite the commitment of the UK Government to achieve a 68% reduction in the UK’s carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, there has been little to no leadership from Government on this issue. To date, policies from the Government have focused entirely on operational
emissions, those relating to day-to-day use of a building such as heating, while the embodied carbon emissions which arise from a building’s construction – despite sitting at some 40 to 50 MtCO2e – more than the aviation and shipping industries combined – remain ignored. Evidence from a range of experts, including the UK Climate Change Committee, leading academics, researchers, architects and engineers showed that using timber in place of concrete, masonry, and steel is one of the most successful strategies to reducing embodied carbon in the built environment. Researchers repeatedly highlighted the carbon saving potential of timber, saying that by replacing “a concrete frame and all brick and block houses with timber frame houses, you can reduce embodied carbon by about half,” and highlighting the need to grow the skills to support this shift. A lack of distinction made between the cladding and primary structure within the ban on the use of combustible materials in the external walls of buildings above 18m was found to be particularly damning for the industry, causing a ripple effect which has set back all forms of timber construction.
Timber Development UK Chief Executive David Hopkins said: “Wood is the only sustainable structural material which can enable substantial decarbonisation of the built environment based on existing business models and proven technology. It can provide vast carbon sinks in our rural areas and carbon stores in our cities. There is widespread industry agreement that using more timber in place of carbon-intensive materials, such as steel, masonry, and concrete, is the best route to reducing carbon emissions from the built environment. This report reflects that and calls on the Government to do more.” Structural Timber Association Chief Executive Andrew Carpenter added: “From Seattle to Stockholm to Sydney, timber frame systems are already the default choice for construction across almost all building types – small to tall. What we need now is greater consistency from the UK Government to give confidence to businesses to expand and take on investment. There are a range of policies which the UK Government can employ, many of which were outlined in this report. You only need to look across the Channel to the likes of France, which has mandated that all new public buildings must contain 50% natural materials.” www.cti-timber.org
UK INDUSTRY NEWS BM TRADA REVAMPS TIMBER LABORATORY BM TRADA, specialists in testing, inspection and certification services, has unveiled its modernised timber laboratory following an extensive refurbishment and investment. Part of Element Materials Technology, BM TRADA’s three-month long revamp at its High Wycombe facility includes a complete overhaul of the laboratory’s layout. The space is now divided into two dedicated areas, with one room designated for timber inspection and timber species analysis, and the other room for woodworking and timber testing. Alongside the new layout, the laboratory has been stripped down and a host of new equipment has been installed. This includes new storage, dust extraction units, boil tanks and water baths for woodwork testing; and microscope testing kits to analyse timber specimens.
The organisation has also fitted new tools and rigs for fastener and fixing testing for structural timber connections, which will be operated by Element Material Technology’s Warringtonfire brand; as well as a cast iron engineering table for measuring the straightness of wood samples and inspecting for timber distortion. Ben Sharples, Commercial Lead at BM TRADA, said: “We decided to refurbish our timber laboratory following an increase in demand for timber testing and certification requirements. We are also anticipating a sharp rise in demand for Warringtonfire’s new fastener and fixing testing for structural timber connections, due to the looming UKCA marking deadline. “As well as timber construction, we’ve witnessed more demand for timber species verification from a wide variety of markets. We house one of the largest libraries of timber specimens, known as a xylarium, in the country at High Wycombe. With our new laboratory and equipment, we can continue improving on this service and providing even more accurate advice and knowledge on different types of wood.”
In addition to the new test equipment, the refurb project also brings a significant saving from energy usage. New LED lighting has been installed throughout the laboratory, which will reduce energy consumption by up to 75% over the course of the year. Ben added: “As part of the largest global organisation in testing, inspection and certification, one of our key commitments is on being as sustainable as possible. Our investment into new lighting will not only create a better working environment for our colleagues, but drastically reduce our energy output and carbon emissions too.” www.bmtrada.com
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UK INDUSTRY NEWS HUGE BENEFITS FOR WEST FRASER RECYCLING PROGRAM
INTERNATIONAL TIMBER UNVEILS VISUALISER UPGRADE International Timber has upgraded its visualiser tool with a host of new features, meaning that it is able to help more customers than ever to select, view and explore products in situ to see how they might work for their projects.
At its Cowie site in Scotland, West Fraser is working in partnership with a leading third-party provider of recycling and resource recovery to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill while also achieving substantial cost savings. As the UK’s number one producer of net carbon negative engineered wood-based panel products, West Fraser understands the importance of having sustainable operations. With a strong commitment to the environment and the communities in which the company operates, there is a dedication to recovering as much value as possible from the resources used to produce its products while working to minimise waste and greenhouse gas emissions. West Fraser operates state-of-the-art MDF and particleboard production lines at its Cowie site. In 2021, more than 3,200 tonnes of waste were removed from the site as part of its recycling programme. Compared to the previous year, the recycling rate at the Cowie site has improved 10%, with 62% of waste now recycled on-site. This is expected to increase to 66% by the end of 2022. A high proportion of the waste generated at Cowie comes from West Fraser’s use of recycled wood during its manufacturing process for its MDF and particleboard products. To remove any scrap materials
that would interfere with the manufacturing process, the wood is screened before use, which generates a variety of dry mixed recycling waste. To make the collection of this waste more efficient, larger recycling bins are now being utilised and have been strategically placed across the site. As a result, vehicle movements on site have been reduced by 11% and often take place at night, resulting in fewer potentially hazardous interactions with site personnel and reducing impact on-site activities. Together, these strategies have enabled a 37% reduction in waste and savings of more than £24,000 in transport and disposal costs, while also reducing vehicle emissions. Compliance management and safety are also important considerations of the program. Audits are regularly undertaken to maintain compliance to waste regulations and help ensure safety of employees and contractors visiting the Cowie site remains a top priority for all those involved. Looking to the future, West Fraser and its recycling partner are exploring other ways to continue diverting wastes from landfill, including specialised equipment that recovers light plastics and films to further enhance the opportunities to recover recyclable materials from West Fraser’s waste stream. uk.westfraser.com
The latest update to the tool has added different house and building types to the visualiser, meaning users can now pick the build closest to their current project. The tool, which was launched earlier this year allows users to plan and review a range of cladding and internal timber finishes. Users can now add items currently in place such as walls, doors, sills, or roofs so that they can get as close as possible to the actual project, or if they want to see what a small section could look like on a big project. The visualisation tool also allows the user to view cladding in various positions, both horizontal or vertical, next to a window or around a doorway. In addition to these new features, more cladding types have been added to the visualiser including coated cladding. Paul Martin, Managing Director of International Timber, said: “The new additions to our visualiser tool are fantastic, and allow our customers to picture what their project could look like even better than before. Customers being able to select more cladding options, whilst also being able to view them on so many different types of buildings, mean that our tool is better than ever.” Bernie Roberts, National Product Manager for Cladding Solutions said: “These updates are great for our customers and give them even more tools to pick the right cladding solution for them. Our team have been hard at work developing the updates for our visualiser, which has been a great success since launching, and hope that even more customers can benefit from it.” https://designer.internationaltimber.com
UK INDUSTRY NEWS SUSTAINABLE EXPANSION AT BLUESTONE NATIONAL PARK RESORT Bluestone is witnessing a significant increase in bookings from pre-pandemic levels with the new development plans catering for a growing demand for luxury lodge accommodation for short breaks in areas of natural beauty. The Wales Tourism Business Barometer also shows visitor numbers were up 25% compared to prepandemic levels, with restaurants, pubs and cafes enjoying a busy Jubilee bank holiday weekend as 38% of hospitality businesses experienced more customers than usual.
The first timber frames for 80 new lodges has arrived at Bluestone National Park Resort as the latest figures show 75% of Welsh tourism businesses saw an increase or maintained visitor levels over the May half term. The delivery of the first timber frame is part of a £23million expansion development.
“We know there’s growing demand for a sustainable luxury tourism product in Wales and we’re confident we can meet the need for an ecologically sound product in natural surroundings,” said Marten Lewis, Head of Sustainability at Bluestone National Park Resort. “Sustainability is a key aspect across all the decisions on the design and build. Along with the promotion of health and wellbeing, sustainability has always formed an integral part of Bluestone’s
business operations and will continue to do so as we move forward.” Timber and other sustainable materials have been used in the design and construction of the ‘Platinum’ lodges which will be heated by air-source heat pumps. Welshpool-based SJ Roberts Construction will be the main contractors during the project, while the timber frames will be manufactured by sister company Lowfield Timber Frames with the remainder of the supply chain being carefully selected to ensure a quality build is guaranteed, while aiming to use as many local suppliers as possible. All timber used is PEFC-certified, with full chain of custody. The new lodges are the fourth phase of expansion plans for the resort near Narberth in Pembrokeshire, which currently has 344 existing lodges, cottages and studio apartments across 500 acres of rolling Pembrokeshire countryside. The lodges will be officially opened in the summer of 2023. www.bluestonewales.com
UK INDUSTRY NEWS PASQUILL SUPPORTS THE SERPENTINE PAVILION 2022
Pasquill, the leading provider of roof trusses and floor joists has supported the design and build of the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion commission. Each year, Serpentine opens its doors to some of the world’s greatest architects, enabling experimentation and freedom of expression through the construction of a temporary structure. This year, Theaster Gates, a Chicago-based artist with the support of Adjaye Associates, MiTech Engineering, AECom and Stage One, designed ‘Black Chapel’. To support the vision, which was fuelled by a need to “redeem spaces that have been left behind”, Pasquill provided its posi-joists in black to enhance the aesthetic. This was a unique project for Pasquill as typically, posi-joists are used in floors in residential buildings. In the Serpentine Pavilion, they are used to form the walls and will be an exposed feature. Peter Hartley, Design Office Manager at Pasquill, said: “This was a very exciting and unique project for us to be a part of. We
were contacted and asked to get involved in January of this year. One of the first things that was different about this project was the limited exposure to plans and drawings, which meant we had to ensure we were able to provide a quick turnaround upon seeing them, from specification to delivery. “We provided our posi-joists, which tend to be used for floors. For this structure, they form the walls and are visible from the inside. Due to this we encountered challenges that we don’t tend to face. Firstly, the posi-joists are quite long in length, and secondly, the customer requested everything to be painted black. “We had to ensure that all timber and connector plates were painted prior to the arrival onsite. This was a fantastic challenge and we’re thrilled to have supported the efforts to bring this spectacular structure. This is the first time we’ve had a request for painted posi-joist. Thanks to the relationship we’d built with Stage One, we arranged for all materials and components to be sent directly to them, so that they could take the lead on painting and staining to ensure
the desired aesthetic. On completion, we retrieved the products and began to assemble.” Each year, the Serpentine Pavilion is erected for three months during the Summer and then moved to another location in the UK. One of the key advantages of using Pasquill’s posi-joists, although an unusual product for this application, was the low embedded carbon and easy, efficient method of manufacturing; this set it apart from other, more typical wall supporting systems. Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, said: “We are honoured to undertake this remarkable project with leading visual artist Theaster Gates. One of the most significant voices working today, Gates’ praxis combines formalism, conceptualism and powerful impact felt throughout the communities in which he works and beyond. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Black Chapel as a platform for engagement, spirituality, and togetherness.” www.pasquill.co.uk
UK INDUSTRY NEWS INVESTMENT INCREASES CAPACITY AT NATIONAL TIMBER SYSTEMS SPECIALIST National Timber Systems (NTS), the specialist engineered wood products division of National Timber Group, is increasing its offsite manufacturing capacity this year through a £1.5million investment by the group. NTS products include gable and party spandrels, trussed rafters, engineered joists, floor and roof cassettes, and an innovative ‘rapid fit’ room in the roof panelised roof system.
Richard Jarvis, NTS Operations Director said: “The investment from National Timber Group is allowing us to add more truss presses, truss and joist file driven saws and lasers. This is improving our capacity to supply high quality products and reducing lead times for our customers across the country. The first quarter of 2022 was a record in terms of turnover, and our order book is at the highest level it has ever been. Our turnover target for 2022 is £48million.” NTS was formed in 2019 combining the design, manufacturing, and logistic capabilities of well-established companies Arnold Laver and NYTimber, both part of National Timber Group. Currently 240 people are employed across the four NTS sites at Sheffield and Catterick in Yorkshire, Hebburn in the North East, and Bristol in
the South West. Rob Barclay, National Timber Group CEO said: “NTS is one of our high growth divisions and it is important we continue to support this and their growing customer base. Following a £500k investment in the relocation of the Bristol site in 2021, the search for an additional new site for NTS is underway.” www.nationaltimbersystems.co.uk
GLIDEVALE PROTECT JOINS FORCES WITH COUNTRYSIDE TIMBER FRAME Leading UK building products manufacturer Glidevale Protect has announced it has entered into a long-term supplier agreement with Countryside Timber Frame, a division of Countryside Partnerships.
well as Protect VC Foil Ultra, the air and vapour control layer. This combination of wall membranes will help to improve energy efficiency, increase airtightness and manage condensation risk to support Countryside Timber Frame in creating healthy and sustainable homes.
The agreement will see Glidevale Protect supplying specialist construction wall membranes for use across Countryside Timber Frame’s three UK timber frame manufacturing sites, located in the North West and East Midlands. The manufacturing facilities produce both open and closed panel systems for use across Countryside Partnerships’ new housing developments and social housing collaborations across northern and central England. The formal supplier agreement will strengthen Glidevale Protect’s successful working relationship with Countryside Timber Frame which has seen the two companies collaborate on a range of projects over the last 16 years.
Graham Cleland, Managing Director at Countryside Timber Frame commented: “Supply chain collaboration is a vital part of our plan to build homes that are not only of exceptionally high quality but also have energy efficiency at their heart with a low-carbon footprint. Our investment in our timber frame manufacturing capabilities is helping us achieve this aim and as we embrace more modern methods of construction, we need to ensure that our supply chain partners not only have the best product solutions but also share our values.
Already a tried and trusted solution, Glidevale Protect will supply its low emissivity, reflective membranes, namely the insulating Protect TF200 Thermo external wall breather membrane as
“Glidevale Protect is a trusted partner with a clear commitment to developing solutions not only to help deliver more energy efficient and sustainable buildings but also to add value to our factory manufacturing process, with a product and service offering that meets our needs. We look forward to continuing our work with Glidevale Protect and to demonstrate the benefits
timber frame construction can bring to housebuilding.” Glidevale Protect is a subsidiary of Building Product Design Ltd, one the UK’s leading forces in the development of building ventilation solutions and specialist building products. Ben Gerry, Commercial Director at Building Product Design, added: “A housebuilder working together within the supply chain is key to unlocking best practice and we are delighted to strengthen our existing relationship with Countryside Timber Frame by embarking on a new, long-term formal supplier agreement. As well as developing our product range, we are also building on our expertise in the offsite construction market and we are excited to collaborate with one of the biggest names in housebuilding.” www.glidevaleprotect.com
THE OPTIMUM SOLUTION
01 Mass timber has a pivotal role to play in improving our built environment. Dr Pablo van der Lugt spoke to us about some of the reasons why. Based in the Netherlands, Dr Pablo van der Lugt, sustainability expert, senior lecturer at Delft University of Technology (Environmental Technology & Design) and Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions and author of the acclaimed Tomorrow’s Timber, has built considerable momentum throughout Europe as a leading advocate of timber in construction and accelerating the understanding and adoption of engineered ‘mass’ timber. This is in addition to promoting the benefits of timber and the part it plays in the circular economy, biophilic design and our health and wellbeing.
02 With huge potential to transform the built environment, timber is increasingly seen as the premier carbon-friendly construction material, far outstripping carbon intensive materials such as concrete and steel. “We are in a unique moment in time which sets the stage for a potential major shift towards mass timber construction,” says Pablo. “The climate crisis, housing deficit, and latest advancements in mass timber building construction systems, based on increased digitalisation and robotic manufacturing, set the right preconditions for a mass timber building revolution. “Although the percentage of mass timber buildings in various Western European countries is still relatively low, there are clear signs that this is rapidly changing with several countries and urban areas ramping up their timber building ambitions to meet their climate and circularity ambitions. For example, the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam has committed to 20% timber use in new residential buildings by 2025,
which is a major increase from the 2-3% the urban region is at now. The ambition is to grow further to about 50% in 2030.” The UK has much to learn from overseas markets on the use of mass timber across the built environment. Although Scotland has long been ahead of the rest of the home nations in its building of timber frame homes, northern Europe – Sweden, Finland and Germany in particular – have successfully developed a timber building culture for decades, leading to high percentages of timber buildings. “I see a lot of momentum in the Dutch and UK market,” says Pablo. “With a lot of interest in increasing the amount of mass timber buildings to meet climate and circularity goals, but also the perceived health effects – timber buildings provide a very pleasant indoor climate, and an increasing body of research has revealed that the visual application of natural materials including timber in a building can lower stress levels and increase wellbeing through biophilic design.
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MASS TIMBER can the use of mass timber play in reducing embodied carbon levels? Pablo explains: “Based on sustainably sourced European softwood (which is abundantly available – in Netherlands 99% of all the imported pine is coming from sustainable managed European forests with PEFC or FSC-certification), the built environment is a second carbon sink (1m3 of softwood stores about 1tonne of CO2 for the lifetime). If mass timber is then also used to substitute CO2 intensive materials such as concrete or steel then there is even a third CO2 benefit (in general 1 tonne of softwood, substituted for concrete/steel, leads to a CO2 reduction of 1.5 tonnes CO2). In total the combined benefit of ‘climate smart’ forestry, sustainable timber replacing other materials, could mitigate over 20% of European greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”
03 “But we need a level playing field in each country for timber building – which often means that building codes and regulations which disadvantage light building methods such as mass timber building, need to be adapted. For example, throughout Europe the stored carbon in mass timber products – the so-called Construction Stored Carbon – is not accounted for in the required Environmental Product Declaration which determine the environmental impact, claiming the CO2 is emitted again during end-of-life. However, if constructed well, the lifespan of mass timber buildings is far longer than the IPCC horizon of 100 years, and mass timber can be easily reused — the elements will not be burnt as they simply constitute too much value, storing the CO2 for even longer. “Once governments and the European Commission further acknowledge the combined potential for sustainable forestry and timber buildings as two constructive vehicles to mitigate climate change and increase circularity, the right policies can be implemented to stimulate, instead of hamper, mass timber construction.” Certainly, here in the UK, the adoption of mass timber has been hampered by the fallout from the Grenfell Tower disaster and building regulation
04 recommendations that have limited the use of structural timber in buildings over 18m – after early notable successful tall timber UK projects – what can architects and building designers do to try and persuade regulators that mass timber has benefits beyond 18m, with many tall timber projects being planned and built globally. “This is a real pity, as in the past the UK has been leading in mass timber construction, including some taller buildings, such as the work of Waugh Thistleton architects,” adds Pablo. “To increase the use of timber many regulatory obstacles need to be overcome which have been warped by the other material industries. What really helps is if (local) government understands the many benefits of mass timber for fast and clean construction through prefabrication (lower CO2 and NOX emissions, less nuisance, quicker building time) but especially low carbon building (buildings as carbon sinks) and start to set local targets for timber utilisation to meet climate goals.” The future of mass timber is a healthy one with CLT, glulam and LVL providing opportunities for zero carbon developments and there is a growing realisation that reducing embodied carbon is an important element of hitting net zero targets – what role
A common criticism of the construction industry is that it is conservative, set in its ways and reliant on traditional sitebased practices with deeply ingrained supply chains and historical prejudices. As generations change, so do mindsets. But are climate pressures enough to swing more interest towards specifying timber systems? “We need to turn things around,” says Pablo. “First get rid of the many misconceptions about mass timber building and show that they are incredibly pleasant to live in, better for health, better for the environment but very beautiful and stylish as well – providing new design possibilities. A mass timber building can be extremely modern and high end. We need to show that mass timber building is not only a climate solution but it’s cool and sexy, in a similar way as the image of electric cars has shifted, the same needs to happen with mass timber buildings. But for this we need keep informing the audience through smart, targeted communication campaigns — design competitions, demonstrations, documentaries — reaching the right target groups.” www.builtbn.org www.ams-institute.org/about-ams/team/ research-fellows/pablo-van-der-lugt IMAGES: 01. Dr Pablo van der Lugt 02-03. Mass timber is central to a cleaner, healthier, stress relieving and innovative built environment 04. Tall timber is a global building phenomenon with Mjøstårnet in Norway at 85m and 18 storeys, the world’s tallest timber building
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STRUCTURAL TIMBER ASSOCIATION
Industries (CTI), called for a risk-based approach from the Government and to focus on ‘cladding over structure’.
As Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) points out, recent changes to ‘Fire Safety: Approved Document B’ will have significant impact on timber construction. On 1 June 2022, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published intended changes to Approved Document B, which is designed to offer guidance on fire safety and precautions that support the wider Building Regulations for England. These guidelines are designed to keep people and property safe, including both occupants and residents, visitors and fire-fighting personnel, and must be adhered to fully. A number of changes have been made to Approved Document B, which will come into force on 1 December 2022. A key change, that directly relates to structural timber, is the permittance of the use of structural timber in buildings up to 18m in height. Initially, changes were proposed by the Government to reduce the combustibles ban to 11m, however this has been rejected due to the negative impact this would have on the adoption of structural timber, deciding that a more measured approach was required. The industry, led by the Confederation of Timber
These new changes certainly help to further strengthen critical fire safety guidance and the STA fully backs the Government’s safety in construction agenda. There is now even more clarity and reason for a ‘timber first’ approach – building with structural timber safely up to 18m. The opportunity to use structural timber is vast and we first need to start with addressing the nation’s housing stock, where dwellings can be built efficiently in timber frame. Here, the Government confirms what we already knew to be true – timber use in construction is safe, and is the most logical material to adopt in the road to net zero. Speaking on this, The DLUCH said: “Our approach will allow the continued use of structural timber in the external walls of residential buildings below 18m if these materials are used safely in accordance with the requirements of the Building Regulations.” Essentially, this should provide insurers and investors with the confidence and the devolved UK Governments encouragement to progress with projects and developments that utilise structural timber structures. With the DLUHC and the Scottish Government’s net zero strategies both placing a firm emphasis on reducing the embodied carbon of buildings, it’s imperative the construction industry – which contributes 39% of global carbon emissions, 11% of which is embodied carbon alone – looks to adopting more sustainable materials
For more on the STA, their members or becoming a member yourself visit: www.structuraltimber.co.uk
quickly. For England, the road to 2050 does not allow for as much adoption time as one may think, and the urgency of increasing the use of timber in construction cannot be understated. For Scotland, the timescale is even tighter, with a target set by the Scottish Government of 2045 for achieving net zero and a pressing target of cutting emissions by 75% by 2030. They also stated that any new homes applying for a building warrant from 2024 will lead the way in meeting these new standards and targets; constructing homes that no longer contribute to climate change. In stark comparison to other materials, timber is the standout performer when it comes to embodied carbon. The carbon sequestration characteristics of timber mean that as a construction material it is the most environmentally beneficial to support the drive to net zero. The versatility of timber makes it the ideal material for offsite construction, increasing the speed of build while also reducing the negative carbon impacts of onsite construction. The STA’s overarching mission is to enhance quality and drive product innovation through technical guidance and research, underpinned by our STA Assure programme. The STA have decades of experience and continues to implement this knowledge towards promoting the adoption of timber in construction. In addition to seminars and events, the STA invests heavily in the research and testing of structural timber systems and associated products to alleviate any concerns and misconceptions about the material and its use in construction.
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For more details on Fire Safety: Approved Document B visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-approved-document-b
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Hundegger UK is pleased to announce the opening of its New UK service centre in Snetterton Norfolk. The service centre is the first step to support Hundegger’s many UK customers on a local level with the supply of parts and services.
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Daniel Blades has been appointed the Managing Director of Hundegger UK and said: “I am excited to be part of the continued growth of Hundegger. Hundegger have always offered machines and servicing of a world class standard and I aim to bring the same level of continued commitment and support to our customers both new and old around the UK and Ireland.” Hundegger has a population of more than 150 machines in the UK and Ireland, in applications from processing cut components for timber roof trusses and timber frame, to I-Joists, glulam, Kerto and many machines installed for the machining of green oak structures. Chris Osborne Head of Sales for UK and Ireland added: “Hundegger have had a remarkable run of sales since the beginning of 2020 confirming more than 80 machines throughout the UK and Ireland in this time. Many users are now owning multiple machines in their networks. This is some testimony to Hundegger technology and the positive difference we are making to our customer’s businesses.” Hundegger are happy to show potential customers how the Hundegger Cambium software can present real life results from their production files. The results will provide the volume of material to be used, time taken and importantly with high timber prices, the % of waste and timber yield, and how the number of timber lengths will be reduced – all powerful information to understand how your timber cutting is performing. www.hundegger.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2022
OUR 2022 FINALISTS
Maccreanor Lavington The New Refectory, Ibstock Place
The judging is over and the finalists have been announced for the Structural Timber Awards 2022. With an incredible mix of projects and timber technology on offer – here is a reminder of what will be in the running for a prestigious Award.
All roads now lead to the gala presentation evening at the Birmingham National Conference Centre (NCC) on 12 October where the Awards will be presented before a packed audience of over 500 national business leaders and high-profile decision makers from the construction industry. Featuring compelling examples of what can be achieved using the most natural and sustainable of materials, the 2022 Structural Timber Awards will celebrate outstanding projects and inspiring individuals.
This year saw over 130 entries showcasing how many outstanding, pioneering projects, products and people the timber sector contains. This year’s judges had the tough job of shortlisting entries into each category and have been overwhelmed with the high standard and variety within every category. Typical judge’s comments included: “This is an outstanding project, delivering on a whole range of client and design team ambitions. The determination to make exemplary use of locally grown timber has been carried through with some panache and a serious understanding of the structural and durability properties of the species used.” Overleaf you can find the projects and people that have been picked out as outstanding and potentially ‘best in class’ for 2022 by our judges. All the finalists are of the highest quality but who do you think will win?
2022 STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS Join in the celebrations later this year at Birmingham NCC on 12 October to celebrate architectural achievements and engineering ingenuity in timber construction. As a major event in the timber calendar this is an event not to be missed and is always a fun, relaxed and enjoyable evening of celebrations and a high-profile networking opportunity. Tickets are available for just £165 +VAT and includes complimentary drinks reception, three-course meal, awards ceremony and entertainment. The event presents a fantastic opportunity for you to host and entertain key clients. If you would like to book tickets to attend the 2022 Structural Timber Awards visit: www.structuraltimberawards.co.uk/book
STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2022 THE 2022 STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS FINALISTS ARE... Social Housing Project of the Year Beattie Passive and Canna Developments Cwrt Canna for Newydd Housing Association Paramount Structures Tre Ifans Ramboll UK Beechwood West
Loosehanger Oak Oak Framed Extension in Essex Paul Archer Design Milton Pavilion
B&K Structures, HTS & Studio RHE The Gramophone Works
Ramboll UK Beechwood West SIP Build UK Self Build Sustainable Home Hampsthwaite
B&K Structures, Engenuiti & Whitby Wood Greenwich Design District (C2 & D2)
Skyhooks Engineering Galstones Farm
De Matos Ryan The Alice Hawthorn
Tony Holt Design Greenane, Higher Langham
Eckersley O’Callaghan and Hybrid Structures The Black & White Building
Private Housing Project of the Year
Education Project of the Year
Adam Knibb Architects Tarn Moor
Atomik Architecture & Eckersley O’Callaghan Thorpe Lodge, London
Citu Climate Innovation District Dallas-Pierce-Quintero Forest Houses Donaldson Timber Systems Stonewood Partnerships, Orchard Field Edward Williams Architects Chobham Road Development Eurban, Maich Swift Architects + Stora Enso Rhossili House Fraser/Livingstone Architects Simon Square G-Frame Structures, Micah T Jones Architects + Stora Enso Lammasfield Farm Neat Arhitects The Cabins
Carpenter Oak Ltd Radley College Chapel Roof Constructional Timber Homerton College - Dining Hall, Buttery & Servery dRMM Studio Wintringham Primary Academy Engenuiti, KLH and David Miller Architects (DMA) Crosfields Senior School Building Glulam Solutions Ltd. Merkinch Primary School, Inverness Price & Myers LLP & Tim Ronalds Architects The Spencer Building, Worth School Tate+Co Architects York St. John University Creative Centre WIEHAG GmbH Eton College ESAC
Ramboll UK Beechwood West
Invisible Studio / Xylotek Westonbirt Abboretum Community Shelter
Custom & Self Build Project of the Year
Healthcare Project of the Year
A’Bear & Ball Architects LLP Plot 154 Graven Hill
B&K Structures and Stora Enso Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
Gauld Architecture / ConstruktCLT Cherry Cottage - Tiny House Glosford SIPS Fuggles Pocket Hayhurst & Co Green House
Commercial Project of the Year
ConstruktCLT, Robert Myers, Bowles and Wyer, Studio Allen Florence Nightingale Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show & St Thomas’ Hospital Moduloft Eco barn Country Lodge Nursing Home Modular Eco Barn
Elliott Wood The Department Store Studios EURBAN, Saunders Boston Architects + Ramboll Oundle School Sports Centre + Swimming Pool HESS TIMBER & TMJ Interiors
1-3 Grosvenor Square – Arrivals Court
Heyne Tillett Steel Brunel Engine Shed Hybrid Structures and Ramboll Elephant and Castle Pavilion Hybrid Structures, Ramboll & Expedition Engineering Brent Cross Pavilion
Retail & Leisure Project of the Year Constructional Timber Lords Cricket Ground - Compton & Edrich Stands Constructional Timber St Phillip’s Church Elliott Wood Lincoln Cathedral Connected EURBAN, Saunders Boston Architects + Ramboll Oundle School Sports Centre + Swimming Pool G-frame Structures, Kingsley Hall Church + Community Centre, Kilo Architects, MUF Architecture/Art Kingsley Hall Livewell Centre Historic Environment Scotland Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing Hybrid Structures, Ramboll & Expedition Engineering Brent Cross Pavilion
STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2022 Retail & Leisure Project of the Year cont’d
Hayhurst and Co Green House
Ramboll Clifford’s Tower
Hybrid Structures and Ramboll Elephant and Castle Pavilion
Webb Yates Engineers Elephant Park Pavilion
Low Energy Project of the Year Adam Knibb Architects Tarn Moor B&K Structures, Engenuiti and Stora Enso UCL PEARL Beattie Passive Passivhaus Plus Net Zero Relocatable Homes for Cardiff Council Peter Smith, BSW Group and Beyond Zero Homes The COP26 House Engenuiti, KLH UK & ECD Architects Thornhill Primary School Footprint Architects Durley Chine Environmental Innovation Hub & Visitor Centre Hayhurst and Co Green House Historic Environment Scotland Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing
Historic Environment Scotland Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing
OB Architecture Sailor’s House Ramboll UK Beechwood West WIEHAG GmbH Sports and Aquatics Centre, Eton College
Project Manager of the Year
Habitat for Humanity Homes Kingsley Hall Livewell Centre
dRMM Studio Wintringham Primary Academy
R Pickering The Alice Hawthorn
Historic Environment Scotland Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing Studio RHE The Gramophone Works Tate+Co Architects York St. John University Creative Centre
Engineer of the Year Eckersley O’Callaghan The Black & White Building
Fairhurst with Geoff Freedman Rural Bridges Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing Hybrid Structures and Ramboll Elephant and Castle Pavilion Paramount Structures Falcon House
Beattie Passive Passivhaus Plus Net Zero Relocatable Homes for Cardiff Council
Client of the Year
dRMM Studio Wintringham Primary Academy
English Heritage Clifford’s Tower
HASSLACHER Group & Artelia UK Shell Electric Vehicle Charging Hub Fulham
Historic Environment Scotland Doune Castle: Ardoch Burn Crossing
WIEHAG GmbH Eton College ESAC
Adam Knibb Architects Tarn Moor
WB Timber Innovations Zero Energy Community Building in Oxford
Eurban Green House
Chris Webb, Morgan Sindall Trinity College, Round Church Street, Cambridge
Engenuiti Crosfields Senior School Building
B&K Structures, HTS & Studio RHE The Gramophone Works
Donaldson Timber Systems Frame Team
Architect of the Year
OB Architecture Sailor’s House
Project of the Year
Installer of the Year
Crosfields School Crosfields Senior School Building
Pioneer of the Year dRMM dRMM / Alex de Rijke London Metropolitan University & The Forestry Commission Home Grown Cabin Nordic CLT Recycled CLT OFR Consultants STA Specialist Interest Group on Mass Timber Enclosure Fire Behaviour Wood Products Latvia NordCabin
Product Innovation of the Year Akustak Acoustic Modular Wall System Innovare Systems Psi-Fast – Next Generation Panelised System James Latham The James Latham Carbon Calculator Medite Smartply SMARTPLY MAX FR B Rothoblass ALUSTART - Profile for connecting CLT and timber frame construction to concrete foundations
VOX POPS Our regular column explores some views and opinion from industry insiders, covering a few topical issues affecting the timber sector in an ever-changing business and construction environment.
Commercial Operations, Beattie Passive
Business Development Manager, Net Zero Buildings
Q: The proposed Part Z Building Regulation will focus minds on embodied and whole-life carbon across the built environment – is this a long overdue addition to construction and design thinking?
Q: The proposed Part Z Building Regulation will focus minds on embodied and whole-life carbon across the built environment – is this a long overdue addition to construction and design thinking?
NB: I think it’s a vitally important part of the build process. Reducing the embodied carbon within the build process has a major role to play in tackling climate change. One way to do this is to use timber as the major construction material. At Beattie Passive, we carry out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on every site to ensure that we track the embodied carbon. The LCAs also look at whole-life carbon, which takes into account operational carbon over a 60-year period. On average Beattie Passive is saving 56% whole-life carbon and 89% operational carbon compared to traditional build.
RK: I wouldn’t say that it’s long overdue: it hasn’t been talked about a great deal until recently and, since then, things have progressed quite quickly. The industry is focused on reducing carbon, but Part Z would be a worthwhile addition since what gets measured, gets done. Viability will still be key – it all comes back to cost and putting a value on the carbon saved. We’re likely to see changes in the way projects are approached. Rather than just selecting one material that is low in embodied carbon, suppliers need to measure building components from source. However, contractors have concluded the use of structural timber will need to expand.
Q: The debate surrounding structural timber and 18m usage is seemingly only a UK-only one. With tall timber flourishing internationally – is the UK approach likely to change any time soon? NB: I think it ultimately will do. However, like anything in the UK, we often take a blanket approach to decisions and fire safety has been at the forefront of conversation and legislation since the tragic events at Grenfell Tower. However, if designed correctly, as with Beattie Passive, the whole timber construction is encased with two A1 fire rated racking boards to provide at least four hours of fire resistance between dwellings. Q: Timber is a mainstay of housebuilding in Scotland – what can be done to raise the levels of structural understanding and use of timber in residential projects elsewhere in the UK? NB: The emphasis on building using sustainable materials, and a move away from concrete and steel, will only grow as we begin to transition into a net zero society. At Beattie Passive, we provide training courses to developers, DLOs and self-builders, where we share the knowledge of our timber patented build system. We also carry out CPDs to architectural practices continually promoting the use of timber within the built environment.
Q: The debate surrounding structural timber and 18m usage is seemingly only a UK-only one. With tall timber flourishing internationally – is the UK approach likely to change any time soon? RK: Grenfell still plays a big role in the conversation around fire risk and the use of materials, with the tragic loss of life making it an incredibly emotive issue. London and the UK is unique in Europe to have that event – outside of the UK there is a focus on the safe use of tall timber to resolve climate change and in time the UK may find a new balance between low carbon and concerns around combustibility. Q: Timber is a mainstay of housebuilding in Scotland – what can be done to raise the levels of structural understanding and use of timber in residential projects elsewhere in the UK? RK: Structural timber performs differently to brick and block and, as we are forced to seriously reduce operationally and embodied carbon, it is likely the balance will shift away from traditional build for dozens of reasons we do not consider today. This is not about finding a ‘better’ way to build homes, rather that new homes need to change to meet new performance standards and timber and offsite construction offers a different solution.
VOX POPS Simon Corbey
Director, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP)
Managing Director, B&K Structures
Q: The proposed Part Z Building Regulation will focus minds on embodied and whole-life carbon across the built environment – is this a long overdue addition to construction and design thinking?
SC: The ASBP has been working towards legislating for embodied carbon since our launch in 2011, so yes, it is long overdue. On 20 June, Jerome Mayhew MP reintroduced a private member’s bill to the House of Commons, calling for embodied carbon in buildings to be regulated and reduced. This is a reintroduction of the 10-minute rule bill introduced previously by Duncan Baker MP in February. This had to be dropped when Baker was promoted to a position within Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as 10-minute rule bills can only be put forward by backbench MPs.
AG: Yes. Part Z is long overdue, and the winds of change are here, there is no tomorrow and the construction industry has a huge responsibility to fundamentally change the environmental impact of the buildings we design, construct and operate, so Part Z will be an essential part of the governance, that will be required to deliver the future net zero ambitions.
Q: The debate surrounding structural timber and 18m usage is seemingly only a UK-only one. With tall timber flourishing internationally – is the UK approach likely to change any time soon?
AG: The UK timber industry has undertaken a considerable amount of research, development, and testing of engineered timber solutions over the last five years, and there is clear guidance and expertise that exists within the industry to deliver safe, compliant engineered timber schemes now. B&K Structures has developed a significant number of commercial, education and leisure schemes using this compliance route, several of which are above the 18m threshold. But yes, for sure, the future development of high-rise engineered timber buildings will only increase over time, through the education, guidance, and delivery of compliant engineered timber schemes. Perhaps of greater significance is the drive toward net zero and the natural environmental benefits that engineered timber schemes will undoubtedly deliver.
Q: The debate surrounding structural timber and 18m usage is seemingly only a UK-only one. With tall timber flourishing internationally – is the UK approach likely to change any time soon?
SC: I fear that this is unlikely sadly. However, the situation is frustrating a lot of developers, all of which want to reduce the embodied carbon of their builds. They recognise that building with timber is the best way to do this but are being prevented by an array of obstacles, which also include insurance. We need more data from large scale testing to help push this along. We are delighted to be working with Built by Nature, who are working across Europe to encourage more timber building. For a more detailed look at the challenges please read our Timber Accelerator Hub report. Q: Timber is a mainstay of housebuilding in Scotland – what can be done to raise the levels of structural understanding and use of timber in residential projects elsewhere in the UK?
Q: Timber is a mainstay of housebuilding in Scotland – what can be done to raise the levels of structural understanding and use of timber in residential projects elsewhere in the UK?
SC: Scotland seems to be more switched on to the climate crisis, with well-funded organisations like BE-ST (formerly Construction Innovation Scotland) and Zero Waste Scotland and housing providers like Makar that are developing systems from local materials. Wales has organisations like Wood Knowledge Wales, whose mission is to turn Wales into a high value forestry nation. Embodied carbon is now part of the Design Quality Standards for social housing in Wales. England seems to be lagging behind but a recent Innovate UK study - AIMCH with Barratt Homes – did look at the embodied carbon of timber and made comparisons to brick, and found timber offered significant carbon savings. There is no doubt that legislating for embodied carbon would change the status quo.
AG: We believe we are at the start of a natural shift away from the traditional methods of construction to more modern approaches such as panelised engineered timber and volumetric solutions, driven by a skills shortage, the need for rapid construction programmes together with client and government-set carbon targets. This is being led by forward thinking developers, specialist sub-contractors, architects and engineers who are undertaking their own research and development programmes into engineered timber construction methods. Key to the success of any timber scheme is the early engagement with a specialist contractor such as B&K Structures, to ensure an efficient and compliant timber engineered outcome.
VOX POPS Q: The proposed Part Z Building Regulation will focus minds on embodied and whole-life carbon across the built environment – is this a long overdue addition to construction and design thinking? JS: Yes, and we hope this will provide consistent and science-based rules on calculating CO2 for each product and material. Q: The debate surrounding structural timber and 18m usage is seemingly only a UK-only one. With tall timber flourishing internationally – is the UK approach likely to change any time soon?
John Spittle UK Representative, Wiehag
JS: I don’t think the debate about using timber in tall buildings is only a UK one. What is perhaps different is how the debate is approached in different countries. WIEHAG operate around the globe, providing glulam components to larger and taller structures, so we can speak from experience, of how a science-based approach is used to address the many valid questions and concerns. For instance, for the 86m Ascent Block in Milwaukee, a three-hour fire test was carried out on the glulam elements, and the successful conclusion of this enabled the design to be approved. In the wake of the Grenfell disaster, it sometimes appears that the UK government is taking an unduly simplistic, media-pleasing approach to this subject such as the presumption that only non-combustible materials are safe to use in construction – these materials can fail in fire too! The UK has led the world for the last decade in pushing the boundaries with engineered timber products, but now seems intent on regressing back to traditional build, despite the climate emergency. Therefore, it’s hard to see ‘all timber’ high-rise structures happening in the UK soon, until the perceived issues of fire and insurance are properly addressed and resolved, or there is a radical change in government. Q: Timber is a mainstay of housebuilding in Scotland – what can be done to raise the levels of structural understanding and use of timber in residential projects elsewhere in the UK? JS: Education is one of the key factors. In the UK, most engineers are only trained on steel and concrete, so university’s need to offer more timber-based engineering courses. Getting more young people onto proper apprenticeships in trades such as timber erectors – this is also vital because a huge chunk of the ultra-experienced workforce will be retiring in the next few years. Educating insurers and ensuring timber frame dwellings are not penalised because of timber construction and educating the end user. For those who say they do not want a timber frame house, I always argue that people are happy with their houses having timber roofs, timber floors, timber internal walls and timber spandrel panels. So why not the inner skin of the outer walls? The timber industry also needs to ramp up its lobbying of government to counter that of competing products. Apart from offering financial incentives for low carbon structures, the government could legislate that all its new social housing be built using offsite systems like timber frame or light gauge steel frame. This would enable the timber frame providers to invest and ramp up their capacity. Currently the unpredictable nature of the market prevents this. English housebuilders like traditional build because they can turn it on and off easily and at short notice, as demand quickly changes in this sector, using a vast bank of subbies and suppliers. But with timber frame they must commit on a longer-term basis to a smaller pool of providers. Perhaps the skill shortage on-site will help push them more to offsite systems?
GET INVOLVED Do you have an industry issue you want to get off your chest? If you want to be part of a future Vox Pops panel or have any suggestions for questions and topics drop us a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors to OFFSITE EXPO 2022 will be able to meet many timber industry exhibitors and experts and will also be able to take part in the specially curated CPD Masterclasses. A dedicated timber stream has been developed and will be presented by industry specialists, focusing on key industry innovations. These are FREE. Simply register at: www.offsite-expo.co.uk and arrive early to get your seat.
To find out more visit www.structuraltimber.co.uk @STAtimber
LAMINATED VENEER LUMBER
THE NEXT STAGE
IN THE NEW TIMBER AGE
01 Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is the least well-known of the glue laminated systems (the others being CLT and glulam) but is arguably the one most likely to take the spotlight by the end of this year. Peter Wilson, architect and founding director of the Mass Timber Academy explains more.
Before environmentally sensitive and climate change aware readers turn the page at the mention of ‘glue lamination’, we need to have a grown-up discussion about modern adhesives and their use in combination with the principal renewable construction material we have available to us: wood. In parallel with extensive R&D in the manufacture of mass timber, adhesive technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, with MUF and PUR being the most commonly used in laminate systems today. Put simply, these are solvent-free formulations with zero adhesive-related formaldehyde emissions in the finished wood products.
Like glulam, LVL is formed from layers of wood in which the grain in every layer runs in the same di-rection. Unlike glulam, however, LVL’s layers are only 3mm thick and are produced by putting a long blade against a rotating log to peel a continuous veneer that is subsequently glued and pressed into boards or beams. There are two advantages to this over CLT or glulam – the resulting LVL products have significantly greater strength than their two mass timber siblings, plus they make far more efficient use of the raw timber (i.e. greater yield from each log than if they were sawn into boards). Some readers may not be aware of LVL projects in the UK, but there are some remarkable examples, not least the five-storey Black & White Building currently being completed in London’s Shoreditch area that is attracting considerable attention from commercial developers. Its prefabricated beech hardwood LVL post and beam structure supports a CLT core and slabs, but the apparent simplicity of this fullyengineered, precision-built timber construction belies its groundbreaking innovation. Sitting on a very tight site and erected at remarkable speed with no major plant and with practically no
LAMINATED VENEER LUMBER
03 noise and no waste, its optimisation of material delivers a powerful sustainable agenda with only 410 kgCO2e/m2 embodied carbon (A1-A5). Designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects, the practice is currently completing a major Horizon 2020 ‘Build-In-Wood’ research project for industry-wide publication in September, whilst recently starting a four-storey LVL commercial building on-site in Milan that is intended to demonstrate the findings from their investigations. The practice had previously utilised Pollmeier’s Baubuche product in its design for the remarkable Vitsoe Factory in Leamington Spa. This project was very much a hybrid of hardwood LVL with CLT and steel used for their respective efficiencies in the building’s elegant and highly rational structural de-sign. The same might be said of the Black & White Building, but here the efficiency is achieved without the inclusion of structural steel. Much more is likely to written about the innovative use of engi-neered and modified timber products in this project and we may well look back on its completion as being as ground breaking for LVL as was the practice’s 2009 nine-storey Stadthaus in London’s Murray Grove for the extensive use of CLT in the evolution of tall mass timber buildings. Softwood LVL has of course been widely used in domestic housebuilding projects and provides much of the day-today, bread-and-butter use of LVL but, notably – in board form – also in larger commercial structures such as the widely regarded Cheshire Oaks superstore for Marks and Spencer where Steico’s 57mm LVL X grade flooring panels provided one-hour fire resistance without addition treatment and its 33mm panels used elsewhere
04 in the building where 30-minutes fire resistance was required. It’s post and beam credentials can be seen in the 2012 visitor centre and restaurant at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s House in the Scottish Borders, where its straightforward post and beam use by LDN Architects in the building’s portal frames provide visible simplicity to its structure. Over the past 15 years or so, considerable exploration of the different LVL products and their respec-tive structural properties has taken place. At small scale, the 2005 temporary Serpentine Pavilion in London by renowned Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, working with ARUP engineers
was an ingenious structural feat using traditional techniques such as mortice and ten-on joints to interlock 427 LVL elements in a self-supporting gridshell structure. The opposite end of the structural engineering spectrum saw the emergence in 2011 of the Metropol Parasol (locally referred to as ‘las Setas’) in Sevilla. Designed by Jurgen Meyer H Architects and ARUP, this enormous gridshell fabricated from Metsä Wood’s glued Kerto-Q product remains the largest LVL structure in the world, its massive scale sheltering a covered market and archaeological excavations and protected by a thickly sprayed intumescent coating, the latter unfortunately concealing the true nature
LAMINATED VENEER LUMBER
05 of the structural product employed. More recently, Pollmeier’s Baubuche beech hardwood LVL product has been used to great advantage in two performing arts centre in the UK to deliver the roofs of large span, columnfree auditorium spaces. At Wells Cathedral School, Eric Parry Architects working with Momentum Consulting Engineers and Inwood Developments in 2016 created the visible and acoustically-beneficial inverted LVL diagrid above the Cedars Hall recital space. The one-way spanning structure is made up primary and secondary LVL ribs, the whole supported on only four columns at the corners. Two years later, Haworth Tompkins Architects, Price and Myers engineers and Constructional Timber employed the Baubuche product to exemplary effect in the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre at the Perse School in Cambridge. Here the externally and internally visible roof structure uses 126 identically sized members connected at 75 node points to create a two-way spanning diagrid laid out at a 45-degree angle over a 10 x 24m grid. Both this and the Cedar Hall have undoubtedly set the bar for new theatre and performing space roof structures. But why the emphasis on the use of hardwood as opposed to softwood LVL? Essentially this product has massive structural strength benefits compared to softwood glulam and, as mentioned earlier, delivers a more highly efficient yield from the log
its veneers are sourced from than is possible in the manufacture of CLT and glulam. Because it can be produced in long sheets as well as beam and column form, its potential to be curved and twisted in two directions at once offers considerable design potential to conceive and construct building forms never previously possible with wood. But the opportunity lies not only in the creation of new building forms, but in LVL’s potential to for designers to rethink and reshape the way in which we build out towns and cities. Two of the world’s leading LVL manufacturers are busily exploring these possibilities: Metsä Wood and Stora Enso are not only talking the talk, but they are also walking the walk, the latter constructing its ‘Wood City’ in Helsinki, the largest sustainable urban wooded district in Finland and a demonstration to the wider world of the efficiency and high quality that can be achieved with LVL. Over the next few years, LVL demand in Europe is forecast to have a projected average annual growth rate of 6+%. This substantial LVL consumption increase will likely be driven in the main by several key factors, including growing LVL usage rates and volumes in domestic house construction both as beams and headers as well as I-Joist flanges – builders’ needs to shorten building erection times, to avoid expensive on-site equipment (e.g. cranes) and to reduce the cost of on-site labour. This base level demand will undoubtedly benefit from greater
awareness amongst architects and engineers of LVL’s properties and benefits and its consequent use in larger commercial and public projects. Amongst these benefits are the continuing advances being made in peeling and lamination technology that allow manufacturers to produce lighter and smaller LVL sections with a greater strength and longer span than sawn timber. As wood defects (i.e. strength reducing knots) have been removed and randomised within thin layers, LVL is stronger, straighter, and more uniform than traditional sawn timber. The phenomenon of shrinkage and swelling is hugely reduced, making for more dimensionally stable and accurate construction. Due to its composite nature and pre-graded veneers for stiffness, LVL is also much less likely to warp, twist or bow than tradition timber. To ensure architects and structural engineers get up to speed with LVL, Timber Development UK (TDUK) in collaboration with the Mass Timber Academy will shortly be announcing details of an in-depth online course to take place in late Autumn 2022. Look out for more details at: www.masstimberacademy.com IMAGES: 01-03. The Black & White Building has a prefabricated beech hardwood LVL post and beam structure supporting a CLT core. Courtesy Waugh Thistleton 04. Vitsoe Factory, Royal Leamington Spa. Courtesy Dirk Lindner 05. The Metropol Parasol, Sevilla is the largest LVL structure in the world. Courtesy Robin Cross
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NET ZERO NORMAL panelised MMC capacity, as a viable system of choice. As a result, we are going to see very rapid change over the next few years, with huge leaps in housing productivity, output and quality of the homes we build.
01 As the AIMCH R&D project – whose aim has been to develop, trial and scale up industrialised housing techniques ends, Project Director, Stewart Dalgarno, reflects on its achievements and predicts what’s next for the housebuilding sector. Over the last three years Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) partners have sought to prove the efficacy of adopting near to market, scalable and viable industrialised approaches to housing delivery, such as panelised offsite modern methods of construction (MMC), design standardisation, housing pattern books and advanced manufacturing to build new homes.
This flagship housing innovation programme has been a truly collaborative enterprise involving forward thinking housebuilders, stakeholders, suppliers, sub-contractors and academia. As it ends, I know that the partners who have been involved, are enormously proud at having helped take their own businesses and the housing sector forward, recognising that housing industrialisation can transform how we build homes, building a strong base, so we can transition towards net zero carbon homes and communities of the future. Because of our work, scaling up volume production of net zero carbon ready homes in a factory setting, is no longer an abstract concept. Panelised MMC methods and housing industrialisation are here to stay. AIMCH has built the framework, created the rule sets and blueprints for factory investments to scale up production, using automotive expertise and processes to accelerate
Scoring several firsts Research methods and live site trials have been rigorous. We have tested and compared MMC timber panelised materials and processes with those of masonry-built homes, looking at everything from cost, speed, labour, embodied carbon emissions, and on-site health and safety from every conceivable angle. This has culminated in a range of scalable near to market solutions, with the learnings easily adopted by other housebuilders of all sizes, the supply chain and housing associations. Of the many deliverables achieved, we have delivered several remarkable industry firsts, among which is the UK’s first zero carbon (NZC) concept home. The Z-House was built by AIMCH partner, Barratt Developments in collaboration with Salford University to meet the Future Homes Standard. Pattern books of NZC ready affordable homes, which have leveraged learnings from design for manufacture and assembly, design standardisation, product families and BIM 3D modelling, have also been produced. These will help SMEs, housing associations and new developers accelerate the speed and volume of new homes being built. And of note, is the development and investment committed to develop one of the worlds most advanced production lines for open and closed panelised timber MMC build systems, Donaldson Timber Systems (formerly Stewart Milne Timber Systems) using state-of-the-art automation and robotics.
AIMCH More to be done on the MMC agenda The AIMCH has lived up to its mantra ‘structural shell built in a day’, ready for cladding and fit out, with the ground being laid for future prefabricated components beyond walls, windows, floor cassettes and roofs to be used, especially in high value areas like bathrooms. These areas are very labour intensive, often accounting for 54% of the work on a newbuild home. Ripe for the MMC model, as prefabricated bathroom pods, providing a pod and panel building solution of the future, with increased pre-manufactured value (PMV). However, AIMCH research into standardisation identified the lack of repetition in bathroom designs, making volume production unattractive and not viable for low rise housing. AIMCH pattern book of homes, are designed to optimise standardised bathroom designs, using a kit of parts, which can provide the platform for future pod and panel hybrid MMC building systems of the future. The next challenge for the sector is to engage with future MMC pod suppliers to find pathways to greater standardisation and making hybrid MMC systems commercially attractive, using standardised pods and panelised MMC systems, suitable for volume, viable and scalable residential construction. Net zero homes and life without gas Net zero carbon homes are possible. We know that from the Z-House Concept Home. The future will be electric and the electrification and integration of homes, communities, and vehicle mobility, with a zero-gas decarbonised grid is the next big challenge. Moving forward, the focus needs to be on assembling a wider collaborative network — housebuilders, vehicle manufacturers, utilities providers, network operators, energy companies, and the community — to arrive at the most efficient way of scaling what we have learned and plugging AIMCH into an all-electric world. First and foremost, the central objective is for the wholesale electrification of new homes – ditching gas boilers in favour of air pump heating systems, integrated photovoltaic technologies, thermal and power storage and EV charging points. Within 10 years, I
02 would like to see the sector get to the point where all new homes consume only the energy they produce, each home or community acting as its own energy generator, storing power and balancing consumption/generation, so we are at least 50% less dependent on the grid network. We know that MMC can deliver fabric first solutions to reduce energy demand in perpetuity, the challenge is to plug these into integrated new energy systems at a vehicle, home, or community level, without blowing the network or incurring huge network reinforcement costs, effort, and time that the planet cannot afford. There is momentum from the sector and from government for working towards that goal. The question which needs to be addressed, however, is whether the grid can be made ready to accommodate the electrification and integration of homes, communities and cars challenge, and what structures need to be in place to allow the deployment of all-electric homes and communities of the future? On our journey towards net zero carbon, factory-built homes, we do need to be alive to any unintended consequences and we need to continue asking the right questions. For instance: What would a further rise in temperature mean? What might the embodied carbon of a battery look like against the whole life carbon of the home? I suspect that sustainable net zero carbon living will always be a bit of a balancing act. The future energy efficient innovations described in this article do come at a price. However, with ever-increasing energy costs, house buyers will come to see the value of paying upfront for a highly energy efficient home, that can generate, store, and self-consume its own power,
03 with significant off-grid reliance. I also predict a shift in market valuation where lenders and surveyors are willing to recognise this value, providing valuations and mortgage rates for these highly desirable future homes. Housing associations are seeing that paying for better fabric and an energy efficient shell will avoid them costly retrofitting and future tenant disruption to their housing stock in future years as homes require to be upgraded to be net zero carbon in the long term. AIMCH has demonstrated the path for scaling up industrialised housebuilding using panelised MMC, focused on energy efficient fabric designs, standardisation, digital working, and advanced manufacturing. The next challenge – the electrification and integration of homes, communities, cars, and energy systems, is far greater. I hope AIMCH partners can continue to play a central role in transitioning to a life without gas, creating highly valued, all-electric net zero carbon homes and communities of the future. www.aimch.co.uk
IMAGES: 01-03. The three-year AIMCH project has produced a raft of research showing the benefits of timber and offsite delivery
OLD SHED NEW OPPORTUNITIES
02 Mowat & Company Architects have designed a new reception, office and drying shed for the Whitney Sawmills, where visitors to the Sawmill can now feel warm and welcomed, whilst browsing the large selection of British Woods that the Sawmills have to offer. The sheds at the front of the site are prominent and distinctive, which was key to make a positive impression for those visiting the sawmills. At the outset, the team of project collaborators toured the site’s old buildings and decided on the best sheds for retrofitting. The design had to communicate client W H Timber Limited’s parent charity’s mission to “demonstrate the value of
03 British woods”. Larch was used for the distinctive black cladding. A chestnut column, cut directly from the adjacent woodland, reminds everyone where the sawn timber comes from. The contrast of the two leaves a lasting impression. An oak bench under a sheltered porch encourages casual conversation whilst timber is loaded up. Douglas Fir decking and ramp make the interior accessible to all over the raised insulated floor. Windows and doors in premium oak encourage customers to touch the building. A burr oak counter demonstrates unusual decorative premium timbers. Smooth desktops demonstrate how sycamore joinery has no bumpy grain. All of the products used for the build were locally sourced from the sawmill, acting as the perfect product catalogue of what British woods are available. Some of the existing frame and timber were reused for the new shed, lowering waste to landfill and encouraging a circular economy approach. The reception and office are kept warm with
a traditional log-burning fire. Cleverly, the fire burns scrap wood from the sawmill which minimises wood waste on-site and keeps carbon emissions low. The amount of carbon estimated on-site is 3.83kg/m2. “Working with a timber guru in a sawmill specialising in UK grown timber we were spoilt for choice from the outset,” says Orlando Hill, Project Architect, Mowat & Company. “The design draws on the pitched roof form of the existing storage shed. We were able to reline this with sheep’s wool insulation and natural plaster. The row of external splayed steel columns is continued with a new timber column felled directly from the neighbouring woodland.” The site’s drying shed has been refreshed, to match the visitor centre. The location on the banks of the River Wye, with a strong westerly wind, means that this old site was the perfect location to slowly dry premium timber. The air-dried timber that the sawmill supplies is the very best, aged one year for every inch of thickness. The shed was designed with two separate zones for the timber to dry. In doing so, Whitney Sawmills were able to expand their business and make more produce available to customers. The development of the sawmill has allowed the sawmill’s team to expand, bringing new employment opportunities to people in the local area. “The office itself is a celebration of wood,” says Dermot Doyle, Project Manager at Whitney Sawmills. “From concept to delivery Mowat & Company have had a very clear vision, for the project. They understood the client’s needs and preferences to produce an end result that we as a company are rightly proud of but will also be a huge benefit in raising our profile and image.” Instead of knocking down what was once there, the architects were passionate about retrofitting the old site and re-using what they could to save on material cost and waste to landfill. Incredibly, this tiny sawmill on the border of England and Wales is the perfect example of what can be made with locally sourced sustainable materials that are built to last. www.mowatandco.com www.woodlandheritage.org IMAGES: 01-03. The Sawmill is a showcase for UK timber and a sensitive architectural approach. Courtesy Ellie Walpole
PRODUCT INNOVATION NEW TIMBER LIFTING SOLUTIONS Contracted as part of the AIMCH project, Britlift undertook the task to design and supply a bespoke modular lifting beam optimised for timber roof lifting. This was an innovation within the timber roof sector that was designed and manufactured by Britlift and developed for the Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project/Donaldson Timber Systems (DTS). The main project aim was to remove the need to use 2x timbers within the structure of their roofs and replace with a lightweight steel lifting beam that is modular and with a 10-year lifespan.
Britlift designed, manufactured, tested and certified a bespoke lifting beam system specifically designed to fit and attach within the structure of the timber roof. The beam is modular and lightweight, making it easy to handle, store and secure into position on-site. Each end of the beam has an adjustable plate which is secured into the timber structure. Detailed user and maintenance/inspection instructions have been issued, which will ensure the 10-year lifespan. Reducing the non-value-added materials within the build system with a fully tried, tested and certified product was the key driver for the development. By reducing these non-value-added activities and materials within the overall build system, there is an increase in pre-manufactured value which in-turn is a key driver for access to the likes of Homes England-funded projects. Britlift are mechanical engineers specialising in the design, manufacturer, test and certification of bespoke lifting
equipment/loose lifting items, and the leading lifting equipment supplier to the offsite/MMC sector. www.britlift.com/roofliftingbeam www.britlift.com IMAGES: 01. The beam is modular and lightweight, making it easy to handle, store and secure into position on-site
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‘Regenerative High-Rise’ blends exactly this flexibility and functionality and aims to redefine conventional uses and lifespans of high-rise buildings in cities worldwide. Constructed from a hybrid timber mix, the high-rise shows how tall buildings can be both versatile and green at a time when climate change is a pressing concern and requires a drastic rethink of the built environment. So how does this modular structure work? What are the various uses for this type of building – and perhaps most importantly, how can it be made more accessible?
01 Bethel Teferra, Senior Consultant at Ramboll, illustrates how a modular, sustainable high-rise tower that evolves with a city’s needs could be a future reality and include engineered timber as key component.
Modular houses may have been around for a while, but modular high-rise with flexibility in function is a relatively new concept. Imagine a high-rise building made up of modular units that can be slotted in-and-out, with spaces for living, working and playing – a building whose functions evolve according to a city’s needs, built with sturdy and sustainable materials and a building that’s adaptable, practical and eco-friendly. Created by Haptic Architects and engineering firm Ramboll, the
The high-rise structure aims to find the optimum between two key constraints: flexibility in function and sustainability credentials via the use of timber and other similar offsite production structural elements. To equally satisfy the two constraints is a true balancing act as the requirement for large spacious layouts imposes the need for higher capacity structural elements, whereas sustainability is driven by minimalism. Consequently, the highly loaded tower columns supporting large spans with critical load-path are proposed in recycled steel, sand timber-composite and modular options for frames defined within three-storey ‘villages’. The core-wall (framing the lift shaft) gives the high-rise structural lateral stability, using the Lateral Force Resisting System (LFRS) via a precast and steel-brace solution that provides sufficient lateral-stiffness against building sway, enabling the building to resist environmental loads arising from wind and seismic activity. Being an offsite manufactured solution, the precast central-core provide sufficient stiffness and sustainable solution, given its durability and low-carbon footprint.
02 Overall, the vertical elements including LFRS consist of a 20-40-40 timber-steelprecast ratio. The floor divide has a ‘hard floor/ soft floor’ concept. The hard floors at every third level work as a diaphragm mechanism to transfer lateral load to LFRS in the overall structural system. These transfer-floors are proposed to have the flexibility to support the construction of up to three-storey ‘villages’ which consist of ‘soft-floors’ and other modular plug-and-play frames. Hence, for the diaphragm horizontal elements, cross laminated timber (CLT) floor construction with recycled steel beams is proposed. The steel beams are used to reinforce the CLT overall, to compose a robust floorsystem that resists the above modular three-storey floor occupancy loading as well as assist to meet its serviceability limits. The horizontal elements have a timber-steel proportion of 80-20. This timber-composite mix benefits the high-rise with not only its low carbon footprint, but also imbues it with a warm aesthetic. The flexibility of the ‘hard floor/soft floor’ concept is a highlight of the ‘Regenerative High-Rise’. The innovative
03 structural and MEP design aims to serve multi-purpose occupancy including hotel, residential, office, retail and entertainment, but the high-rise’s flexibility in design means it could also extend beyond these functionalities too, if needed. For example, such buildings could be used to cater to unexpected demands for flexible space as we’ve seen during the recent COVID-19 crisis, which at its peak brought about a sudden large need for extra hospital rooms, medical treatment centres, testing facilities and quarantine spaces. In such cases, buildings with flexible functionality would be best suited to meet great societal needs, whilst also having a positive impact on the need for sustainable and economical building solutions. The project utilises offsite construction and is inspired by Scandinavian prefabricated housing. While prefab homes have existed for some time, modular towers are a new and innovative concept, and the global construction market may be slow to adopt new technologies compared to fast-moving industries like information technology, automation, financial markets.
Construction markets vary from region to region, depending on factors such as economy, resources and natural environment. Contractors, engineers and architects’ familiarity in the design and delivery of offsite construction solutions, as well as familiarity of skilled labour can be key aspects to widespread adoption of offsite methods. While professional institutions endeavour in continual education of engineers and architects and stimulate wider discussion on latest innovations, another idea to drive offsite to wider market can be that companies specialising in these technologies could actively seek opportunities to enter emerging market economies. Likewise, innovative and adoptable holistic-building design solutions that are aspiring such as advanced modular construction solutions contribute to the advancement of the field – like the regenerative high-rise. www.uk.ramboll.com www.hapticarchitects.com IMAGES: 01-03. Modular, sustainable high-rise with a timber/hybrid approach is a vision of city regeneration. Courtesy Forbes Massie Studio
HOMEGROWN TIMBER of locally grown larch as this improves the structural performance of a material that would otherwise not be suitable for bridge construction. The main span of the bridge is currently the longest single span timber ‘glue and screw’ arch built to date.
TWO DOUNE ONE ACROSS
The arches support a more traditional post, beam and joist deck arrangement, added to which the guarding on either side of the bridge has been developed as a series of three-dimensional forms constructed from lengths of larch connected into panels and mounted onto oak primary support rails. The design ingenuity of this responds to the bridge’s cranked plan and greatly enhances the sculptural impact of the arches’ geometry.
01 New timber bridges in the UK are still relatively rare phenomena, especially ones fabricated from material extracted from local forests or woodland. A new development at Doune Castle proves what can be achieved with homegrown timber. When a new timber bridge emerges that is not only visually striking in its design but constructed from timber sourced from within spitting distance of its site, you know change is in the air regarding outdated perceptions of UKgrown timber’s usefulness. You may never have been to Doune Castle, but you will almost certainly have seen it: its imposing structure has featured in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, ‘Game of Thrones’ (as Winterfell) and ‘Outlander’ (as Castle Leoch). The Castle’s attractiveness to national and international visitors has increased to the point where the infrastructure of the site and the adjacent historic village was under unsustainable pressure, as there were no obvious pedestrian links between it and Doune Village. This has now changed. Finance from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund
(RTIF) in 2019 enabled a collaboration between Stirling Council, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the Kilmadock’s Community Development Trust and Kilmadock’s Community Council to plan several important projects. The most significant of these is the recently completed pedestrian bridge crossing the Ardoch Burn by the Mill of Doune and the associated paths to/from it. So, what makes the bridge so remarkable? First, it is configured as two asymmetrical arches of 20m and 10m respectively to span the fast-flowing water. The bridge’s deck stretches over the 10m run-offs either side of the crossing to connect the high points, extending its overall length to 50m. Second, the bridge is cranked on-plan and it is the combination of these two factors that make its timber engineering so innovative in design. The bridge structure is made from short pieces of timber – locally-grown larch – that are 50mm wide and up to 250mm in depth and laminated in 1500 or 2000mm lengths. The fabrication method uses a ‘glue and screw’ method to vertically connect the deep boards by gluing and screwing between each row of laminates to form a single solid mass of timber. This empirically tested technique allows arches with a flatter profile to be constructed and the application of this laminated structural solution is particularly suited to the use
The principal timber used in the construction of the bridge is homegrown Scottish larch, sourced from woods that sit to the north-east of Doune in the Moray Estate. After felling, the timber was cut locally to the sections required using mobile saw-milling equipment before being visually graded for kilning. Once dried, the material was planed and CNCmachined to the precise dimensions required for fabrication. Both structural arches were manufactured offsite before delivery to site and their final lifting into place as complete structural elements. The finished bridge construction is likely to require very little maintenance during its lifespan. Designed by Historic Environment Scotland architect Gary Treacy, engineered by Fairhurst with Geoff Freedman Rural Bridges and constructed by Beaver Bridges Ltd, the new pedestrian bridge at Doune Castle is not only a visually striking demonstration of innovative structural design employing locally-grown and milled timber, but also stands as an exemplar of the merits of offsite manufacture, foregoing the need for on-site scaffolding in a challenging location. The pedestrian bridge at Doune Castle proudly displays the symbiotic benefits that context-driven design thinking and procurement can bring to the UK’s culturally- and environmentally sensitive landscapes. www.historicenvironment.scot
IMAGES: 01. The new bridge is a timber connection and homegrown timber innovation. Courtesy Historic Environment Scotland
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TIMBER CONNECTIONS requires a ‘system’ solution, in which different materials and different technologies are involved to reconcile the necessary requirement of durability with the need for rapid and troublefree installation. Metal profiles can greatly contribute to this. We are very proud to have been the first to produce ALUSTART a single profile with CE marking according to ETA, capable of ensuring durability and at the same time transferring all the stresses of a timber building to the ground. Based on this premise, I will highlight how various problems can be solved using an innovative metal profile system:
A ‘SYSTEM’ SOLUTION
• Construction site problems: an
interposed metal profile can act as a ‘compensator’ between the execution tolerance of the reinforced concrete casting and the timber wall, acting as a ‘template’ for marking out the plan and levelling the walls.
• Static problems: the metal curb does
01 According to Rothoblaas Engineer Ernesto Callegari, the ground connection continues to be one of the most critical points of a timber building and can be solved in an innovative way. Ground connection is one of the most critical points of the building, as it consists of a discontinuity of materials, a geometric discontinuity and where timber can potentially come into contact with water from different sources. In recent decades, buildings have become increasingly complex, so it is no longer sufficient to apply a few simple rules to ensure the required performance – this is particularly evident in the ground connection of timber buildings. Our modern buildings have become complex systems to which we are demanding increasingly higher performance – and complex systems cannot be treated with simple solutions. Ensure passive protection The possibility to raise the entire ground floor, is not necessarily the only possibility: for example, it is possible to align internal and external floors, but creating a ventilated cavity on the external side of the wall, using a floating
floor. In this case, the water run-off surface is moved to a lower level than the timber wall, while still ensuring the continuity of the floors. Another very common method is the reinforced concrete curb: the timber walls are installed on top of a small reinforced concrete elevation, raising the installation surface. Personally, I have used this method extensively in my design experience, but I have recognised all its limitations, especially from the point of view of the construction site. Let me explain: the pre-cut timber structure and in-situ concrete are two worlds in terms of installation tolerances. Although for reinforced concrete an installation tolerance of 1-2cm is perfectly acceptable, in the case of a CNC pre-cut timber structure, those same 1-2cm can be a serious problem, resulting in extra costs for the customer. Evolving ground connection technology In recent years, pre-engineered systems using ‘metal curbs’ have been developed, they can be a good opportunity to manage in-situ tolerance, creating a separation between concrete and timber. However, it is important not to consider these products as a miraculous solution which, on its own, solves all the problems: the correct design of the ground connection
not merely transfer the weight of the wall to the ground but is very well suited to being used as a ‘single’ connection system, both for seismic or wind shear and tensile stress and for wind action perpendicular to the wall. The advantage is that all other connections (angle brackets and hold-down) can be eliminated.
• Thermo-hygrometric problems: it is
important that the metal profile does not introduce a thermal bridge; for this reason, the use of an optimised geometry of the profile, able to avoid air movement by convection in the lightening chambers, can be of great help.
• Regulatory issues: EU and UK
legislation prescribe precise procedures for the certification and CE/UKCA marking of construction products. A pre-engineered and certificated metal profile can solve this issue, providing the designer with all the information needed to carry out the structural verifications of the metal profile.
Remember – prevention is better than a cure – and prevention means accurate planning, trusting in expert builders and using materials and technologies that are certified and produced by reliable companies. https://www.rothoblaas.com IMAGES: 01. As buildings have become more complex so has the technology involved in their construction
PRODUCT INNOVATION TIMBER MACHINERY DEMONSTRATIONS Leading machinery distributor Daltons Wadkin is holding its annual Wood & Panel Machinery Show at its Nottingham premises from 4-6 October 2022. What will visitors be able to see? This year’s focus will be on crosscutting technology with the complete Salvador range of automatic crosscut saws on demonstration, as well as a selection of manual radial arm saws from SCM, Graule and Wadkin. Salvador – in partnership with Daltons Wadkin – have a proven track record in revolutionising timber frame manufacturing through the installation of automatic and semi-automatic crosscut saws that increase yield, reduce skilled labour, and boost productivity. From the high speed SuperPush 250
01 model with chain infeed and automatic outfeed system to the all-new range of semi-automatic SuperUp saws, the show will be an ideal destination for anyone looking to boost their straight or angled crosscutting production. The Wood & Panel Machinery Show will also include working demonstrations on other key brands and product types for processing a wide range of materials including solid wood and wood-based panels, composites, plastics, metals and more. Visitors can see Elcon vertical panel saws, SCM classical machinery, Altendorf sliding table saws, Stenner band resaws, Kimla CNC fiber laser and CNC-router technology amongst others.
02 For more information visit: www.daltonswadkin.com/oh22/ or email: email@example.com IMAGES: 01-02. The Wood & Panel Machinery Show will include demonstrations for those working with many wood-based products
KNOW YOUR MATERIAL testing, I believe we need to do more to better inform our clients. Ensuring the right members of the design team are appointed with the appropriate experience is essential for this process. It is welcoming to hear and read about current research into fire behavior of exposed mass timber buildings. On-going research like this is paramount to understanding the fire dynamics so the structure can be designed appropriately. This research will hopefully feed into new design standards and form a clear approach for the design of mass timber in the UK.
01 Understanding timber performance and the ‘where and why’ it should be specified is often clouded by misunderstanding and unfamiliarity with the material. As Rachel Pattison, Associate, Price & Myers points out, these misconceptions need to be challenged. Having had a passion for timber engineering since university and had the opportunity to work on many successful timber projects, I am keen that timber continues to form a part of the UK construction market. It is essential we use timber where practically possible to help address the climate emergency. With increasing pressures and targets from local
authorities to become net zero there are requirements for design teams to submit whole lifecycle carbon emissions at planning stage and beyond. The use of timber helps drive down the embodied carbon of a building, when carefully considering sequestration and end-of-life scenarios. As I’m sure many others in the industry have recently found, the current challenges around the use of timber including fire, insurance and durability are proving difficult and sometimes resulting in timber being disregarded or omitted from schemes. A common misconception from clients and insurers is that timber buildings are unsafe. We have found resistance from many clients in the past couple of years over the use of timber, with their reasoning largely coming down to fire and insurance concerns. This has been a detriment to a couple of projects where the use of timber would have been ideally suited. Whilst it is appreciated that new building regulations, and the behavior of mass timber in fire needs to be respected and properly accounted for through calculation or
More recently there have been some discoveries on a few cross laminated timber (CLT) buildings where there has been water ingress and CLT panels have found to be rotten. This is a huge safety concern. Quite often the cause of water ingress is largely down to lack of maintenance and/or poor workmanship on-site. A better system needs to be in place for quality control on-site and sign off from approved inspectors, architects, and engineers. New technologies should be used to be able to monitor moisture content within cavities and concealed areas. Architects and designers should follow some simple best practice detailing rules to prevent potential water ingress and durability problems in the future. Looking at how other countries, including Norway and Canada, can implement mass timber on such a large scale, I think the UK can learn a lot from them. The industry needs to come together and work collaboratively to address these issues through research and knowledge sharing. www.pricemyers.com
IMAGES: 01. Rachel Pattison, Associate, Price & Myers
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