In many mass timber buildings, CLT or nail laminated timber (NLT) floors are designed with a concrete topping to improve acoustic separation, reduce vibration or act as a fire barrier. Little research has examined the fire behavior of these floor systems, but some preliminary tests involving LVL show that they may be able to meet three-hour fire resistance ratings, which could potentially open up the use of mass timber in Type I buildings, representing a large market opportunity. This project will test the behavior of composite floors under fire loading conditions considering the following parameters: shear connector type, mass timber panel types and thicknesses and concrete thicknesses. It will also test and validate an innovative fire research methodology using radiant panels.
This study illustrates the range of possible wood construction approaches for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. As land values continue to rise, particularly in higher-density urban environments, schools with smaller footprints will become increasingly more necessary to satisfy enrollment demands. There are currently a number of planned new school projects throughout British Columbia that anticipate requiring either three-or four-storey buildings, and it is forecasted that the demand for school buildings of this size will continue to rise.
This study is closely related to the report Risk Analysis and Alternative Solution for Three- and Four-Storey Schools of Mass Timber and/or Wood-Frame Construction prepared by GHL Consultants, which explores the building code related considerations of wood construction for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. Though wood construction offers a viable structural material option for these buildings, the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) currently limits schools comprised of wood construction to a maximum of two storeys, while also imposing limits on the overall floor area. As such, the reader is referred to the GHL report for further information regarding building code compliance (with a particular emphasis on fire protection) for wood school buildings.
Project contact is Eric Wood at Morrison Hershfield
The study assesses the potential of mass timber multi-unit residential construction as it compares to traditional methods including concrete and steel in terms of cost competitiveness, cost effectiveness, financial value and ROI. The analysis will include potential limitations of existing building codes, how the codes support or constrain the use of mass timber, including impacts to affordability, and whether further industry and government support of tall wood construction is needed to integrate it into Canada’s housing supply. To inform the analysis, the study produces base case archetypes for concrete and steel structures, and then create a series of comparative archetypes mass timber structures and hybrid structures in the range of 7-12 storeys.
Across B.C. and Canada, communities are under pressure to create better-performing buildings that meet stringent code requirements while reducing construction waste. Meanwhile, consumers are demanding high-quality structures that are delivered quickly and at a reasonable price. Modern methods of construction that include prefabrication can help construction professionals create buildings that meet all these criteria.
Furthermore, prefabrication provides steady employment and is good for the economy. The market opportunities are present across Canada and in the U.S., but prefabrication is not being used to its potential due to several barriers:
Negative perception of quality
Fear of innovation
Lack of information and understanding
Unclear economic benefits
Limited industry capacity
Planning and regulatory complications
A concerted effort to address these barriers includes:
Improving products through research and development
Researching, documenting, and promoting best practices
Developing guidance documents so prefabrication is easier to incorporate
Providing national-level leadership and resources to promote innovation
Successfully implementing these recommendations will require a broad and deep national perspective, an understanding of all stages and aspects of wood construction, and the vision and skills to bring together diverse experts and stakeholders.
WhitePaper Innovation Series
This report explores the building code related considerations of wood construction for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. Though wood construction offers a viable structural material option for these buildings, the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) currently limits schools comprised of wood construction to a maximum of two storeys. Three- and four-storey schools and larger floor areas in wood construction require an Alternative Solution.
The report identifies key fire safety features offered by combustible construction materials including tested and currently widely available engineered mass timber products, such as glued-laminated timber and cross-laminated timber. A risk analysis identifies the risk areas defined by the objectives of the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) and evaluates the level of performance of the Building Code solutions for assembly occupancies vis-à-vis the level of performance offered by the proposed schools up to four storeys in building height.
As land values continue to rise, particularly in higher-density urban environments, schools with smaller footprints will become increasingly more necessary to satisfy enrollment demands. There are currently a number of planned new school projects throughout British Columbia that anticipate requiring either three-or four-storey buildings, and it is forecasted that the demand for school buildings of this size will continue to rise.
This report is closely related to the study Design Options for Three-and Four-Storey Wood School Buildings in British Columbia, which illustrates the range of possible timber construction approaches for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height.
Project contact is Frank Lam at the University of British Columbia
A continuous CLT floor/roof system that has two way bending action across multiple CLT panels will create open floor space with long spans in both major and minor directions, making mass timber construction more competitive and cost-effective. A design guide on CLT two way floor/roof system, incorporating the results from the two phases of study, will be developed at the end.
This article outlines the structural design approach used for the Brock Commons Student Residence project, an 18-storey wood building at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. When completed in summer 2017, it will be the tallest mass timber hybrid building in the world at 53 meters high. Fast + Epp are the structural engineers, working in conjunction with Acton Ostry Architects and Hermann Kaufmann Architekten. Total project costs, inclusive of fees, permits etc. are $51.5M CAD.
The research conducted will provide new climatic data which takes into account certain extreme weather events being attributed to climate change to minimize and/or prevent the risk of failure of tall wood buildings and mass timber structures. The project will offer guidance on the design for durability of tall wood building enclosures and fill existing gaps in knowledge about the extent of the effects of the future climate conditions and extreme weather events (e.g. heat waves, rainfalls, wind storms, etc.) on the resistances to deterioration of building materials, air leakage, vapour diffusion, and water ingress.