The Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, British Columbia, with 6 tall storeys and a total height of 29.5 m, provided a unique opportunity for non-destructive testing and monitoring to measure the ‘As Built’ performance of a relatively tall mass timber building. The mass timber structural system consists of glulam columns and beams with cross laminated timber (CLT) floor plates and shear walls. Vertical movement of selected glulam columns and CLT walls and the moisture content of the innovative mass timber roof were monitored as these components are unique to mass timber buildings. Indoor temperature and relative humidity conditions were also measured. The mass timber CLT and glulam elements are susceptible to longer-term differential movement as they slowly dry after manufacturing and construction. The paper describes instrumentation and discusses the measurement results for two years following the topping out of the structure.
The monitoring indicated that the wood inside the building could reach a moisture content (MC) close to 4% in the winter in this cold climate, from an initial MC of around 13% during construction. Glulam columns were dimensionally stable in the longitudinal direction given the MC changes and loading conditions. With a height of over 5 m and 6 m, respectively, two glulam columns directly measured by sensors each showed vertical movement below 3 mm (i.e., 0.04%). The cumulative shortening of the six glulam columns along the height of the columns (24.5 m) is expected to be approximately 11 mm. This did not take into consideration any potential settlement or deformation at connections between glulam columns, or effects of reduced loads on the top two unoccupied floors. The CLT wall panels were also dimensionally stable along the height of the building, with cumulative vertical shrinkage of about 19 mm (i.e., 0.07%) from Level 1 to Level 6. In contrast, the 5-ply CLT floor slabs made up of wood in radial and tangential grain shrank in thickness by about 5 mm (3.0%) on average. With regards to the performance of the mass timber roof, the CLT roof panels started out dry and remained dry due to the robust assembly design and the dry indoor conditions. In one area the plywood roof sheathing was initially wetted by the application of a concrete topping below a piece of mechanical equipment, it was able to dry to the interior within a few months. Overall the monitoring study showed that the differential movement occurring among the glulam columns and the CLT wall was small and the mass timber roof design had good drying performance.
Two of the major topics of interest to those designing taller and larger wood buildings are the susceptibility to differential movement and the likelihood of mass timber components drying slowly after they are wetted during construction. The Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, British Columbia provides a unique opportunity for non-destructive testing and monitoring to measure the ‘As Built’ performance of a relatively tall mass timber building. Field measurements also provide performance data to support regulatory and market acceptance of wood-based systems in tall and large buildings.
This report first describes instrumentation to measure the vertical movement of selected glulam columns and cross-laminated timber (CLT) walls in this building. Three locations of glulam columns and one CLT wall of the core structure were selected for measuring vertical movement along with the environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) in the immediate vicinity. The report then describes instrumentation to measure the moisture changes in the wood roof structure. Six locations in the roof were selected and instrumented for measuring moisture changes in the wood as well as the local environmental conditions.
Three performance attributes of a building for serviceability performance are 1) vibration of the whole building structure, 2) vibration of the floor system, typically in regards to motions in a localized area within the entire floor plate, and 3) sound insulation performance of the wall and floor assemblies. Serviceability performance of a building is important as it affects the comfort of its occupants and the functionality of sensitive equipment as well. Many physical factors influence these performances. Designers use various parameters to account for them in their designs and different criteria to manage these performances.
The overall objectives of this stud were threefold:
1. The vibration performance tests were to experimentally determine the dynamic properties, e.g., natural frequencies (periods) and damping ratios of the WIDC building through ambient vibration testing on:
o the bare structure in 2014,
o the finished building upon completion of the construction with occupants in 2015, and
o the finished building after 3 years of service in 2017.
2. The floor vibration tests were to evaluate vibration performance of the innovative CLT floor based on the bare floor fundamental natural frequency, 1 kN static deflection, and subjective evaluation.
3. The sound transmission tests were to determine the Apparent Sound Transmision Class (ASTC) and Apparent Impact Insulation Class (AIIC) of selected innovative CLT floor assemblies.
It is not possible or practical to precisely predict the vertical movement of wood structures due to the many factors involved in construction. It is, however, possible to obtain a good estimate of the vertical movement to avoid structural, serviceability, and building envelope problems over the life of the structure.
Typically “S-Dry” and “S-Grn” lumber will continue to lose moisture during storage, transportation and construction as the wood is kept away from liquid water sources and adapts to different atmospheric conditions. For the purpose of shrinkage prediction, it is usually customary to assume an initial moisture content (MC) of 28% for “S-Green” lumber and 19% for “S-Dry” lumber. “KD” lumber is assumed to have an initial MC of 15% in this series of fact sheets.
Different from solid sawn wood products, Engineered Wood Products (EWP) are usually manufactured with MC levels close to or even lower than the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) in service. Plywood, Oriented Strand Board (OSB), Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), and Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) are usually manufactured at MC levels ranging from 6% to 12%. Engineered wood I-joists are made using kiln dried lumber (usually with moisture content below 15%) or structural composite lumber (such as LVL) flanges and plywood or OSB webs, therefore they are usually drier and have lower shrinkage than typical “S-Dry” lumber floor joists. Glued-laminated timbers (Glulam) are manufactured at MC levels from 11% to 15%, so are the recently-developed Cross-laminated Timbers (CLT). For all these products, low shrinkage can be achieved and sometimes small amounts of swelling can be expected in service if their MC at manufacturing is lower than the service EMC. In order to fully benefit from using these dried products including “S-Dry” lumber and EWP products, care must be taken to prevent them from wetting such as by rain during shipment, storage and construction. EWPs may also have lower shrinkage coefficients than solid wood due to the adhesives used during manufacturing and the more mixed grain orientations in the products, including the use of cross-lamination of veneers (plywood) or lumber (CLT). The APEGBC Technical and Practice Bulletin emphasizes the use of EWP and dimension lumber with 12% moisture content for the critical horizontal members to reduce differential movement in 5 and 6-storey wood frame buildings.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels have potential market in North America for building mid-rise or even taller structures due to their good structural and fire safety performance, light weight, and prefabricated nature. However, to ensure long-term durability when used in building enclosures, the hygrothermal performance of CLT wall assemblies needs to be evaluated in terms of wetting and drying potential. A test wall consisting of sixteen 0.6 m by 0.6 m CLT panels made of five different wood species (or species groups) and four different wall assemblies was constructed. The CLT panels were initially wetted with the moisture content (MC) in the surface layers approaching or exceeding 30%, and monitored for MCs and temperatures at different depths over one year in a building envelope test facility located in Waterloo, Ontario. The drying behaviour of these panels was analysed and the measured MCs over time were compared to simulation results using a commercial hygrothermal program. This field study showed that most of the CLT panels dried to below 26% within one month except for CLT walls with a low-permeance interior membrane, which indicated that none of the CLT walls would likely remain at a high MC level long enough to initiate decay under the conditions tested. The simulation results generally agree well with the field data at MCs below 26%. However, it was found that the hygrothermal simulation program tended to overestimate the MC in the centre of the panels by up to 5e10%, and simulated MCs at locations deep into the CLT panels were not as responsive to changes in ambient conditions, as the measurements indicated for assemblies with high exterior permeance.
Most buildings are designed to accommodate a certain range of movement. In design, it is important for designers to identify locations where potential differential movement could affect structural integrity and serviceability, predict the amount of differential movement and develop proper detailing to accommodate it. To allow non-structural materials to be appropriately constructed, estimate of anticipated differential movement should be provided in the design drawings.
Simply specifying wood materials with lower MC at time of delivery does not guarantee that the wood will not get wet on construction sites and will deliver lower shrinkage amounts as anticipated. It is therefore important to ensure that wood does not experience unexpected wetting during storage, transportation and construction. Good construction sequencing also plays an important role in reducing wetting, the consequent wood shrinkage and other moisture-related issues.
Existing documents such as the APEGBC Technical and Practice Bulletin on 5- and 6-Storey Wood Frame Residential Building Projects, the Best Practice Guide published by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Building Enclosure Design Guide – Wood Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings published by the BC Housing- Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) provide general design guidance on how to reduce and accommodate differential movement in platform frame construction.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels have potential market in North America for building mid-rise structures due to their good structural and seismic performance, lightweight, and prefabricated nature. However, to ensure long-term durability, the hygrothermal performance of CLT wall assemblies needs to be evaluated in terms of drying and wetting potential before their widespread adoption in North America. A test wall was constructed with initially wetted CLT panels, and monitored over a year. The drying behaviour of the panels was analysed, and results were compared to hygrothermal simulations. It was found from the field data that no tested wall assemblies in the given climate prevented the panels from drying in enough time to prevent decay initiation. The hygrothermal simulation program is capable of predicting general trends, and can predict if a wall be safe, but tends to be overly conservative. Further refinement of the model for wood is needed.
Vertical movement of wood frame buildings has become an important consideration in recent years with the increase of building height in Europe, North America, and Asia up to 6-storeys. This movement is composed of wood shrinkage and load-induced movement including initial settlement and creep. It is extremely difficult to identify the relative contributions of these components while monitoring full size buildings. A laboratory test was therefore designed to do this under controlled environmental and loading conditions. Two identical small-scale platform frame structures with dimensional lumber floor joists were designed and constructed, with built-in vertical movement and moisture content monitoring systems. The two structures were first conditioned in a chamber to achieve an initial moisture content (MC) about 20% to simulate typical MC on exposed construction sites in wintertime in Coastal BC. After the two structures were moved from the conditioning chamber into the laboratory environment, using a unique cantilever system, Structure No. 1 was immediately loaded to measure the combined shrinkage and deformation in the process of drying. Structure No. 2 was not loaded until after the wood had dried to interior equilibrium moisture content to observe the shrinkage and load-induced movement separately. The load applied on the two structures simulated a dead load experienced by the bottom floor of a six-storey wood frame building. The vertical movement and MC changes were monitored over a total period of six months. Meanwhile, shrinkage coefficients were measured by using end-matched lumber samples cut from the plate members of the two structures to predict the shrinkage amounts of the horizontal members of the two structures.
The results suggested that a load must be applied for movement to “show up” and occur in a downward direction. Without loads other than the wood weight, even shrinkage could show as upward movement. Monitoring of Structure No. 1 appeared to separate the contributions of wood shrinkage, initial settlement (bedding-in movement), and creep reasonably well. The entire movement amount reached about 19 mm after six months, which was comparable to the vertical movement measured from the bottom floor of a 4-storey wood-frame building in BC. Shrinkage accounted for over 60% of the vertical movement, with the other 40% contributed by load-induced movement including initial settlement and creep (when elastic compression was neglected); the magnitude of creep was similar to the initial settlement amount. Structure No. 2 showed less vertical movement but an increased settlement amount at the time of loading, indicating the presence of larger gaps between members when the wood was dry (with an estimated MC of 11%) before loading. Depending on construction sequencing, such settlement should occur with increase in loads during construction and can therefore be ignored in design. However, this test suggested that there may be a need to consider the impact of creep, in wet climates in particular, in addition to wood shrinkage.
This laboratory test will be maintained for a longer period to observe any further vertical movement and the relative contributions of shrinkage and creep. Similar tests should be conducted for structures built with engineered wood floor joists, given the fact that most mid-rise platform buildings use engineered wood floor joists instead of lumber joists.
In order to address the lack of measured natural frequencies and damping ratios for wood and hybrid wood buildings, and lack of knowledge of vibration performance of innovative CLT floors and sound insulation performance of CLT walls and floors, FPInnovations conducted a series of performance testing at the Wood Innovation Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, BC in April 2014, during construction, and in May 2015, after building completion and during its occupation.
This report describes the building, tested floor and wall assemblies, test methods, and summarizes the test results. The preliminary performance data provides critical feedback on the design of the building for resisting wind-induced vibration and on the floor vibration controlled design. The data can be further used to validate the calculation methods and tools/models of dynamic analysis.