As part of the CORRIM Phase I research, this study completed a full gate-to-gate life-cycle inventory for the production of glued-laminated timbers (glulam) produced in two regions of the United States—the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Southeast (SE)...
The main sources of lateral loads on buildings are either strong winds or earthquakes. These lateral forces are resisted by the buildings’ Lateral Load Resisting Systems (LLRSs). Adequate design of these systems is of paramount importance for the structural behaviour in general. Basic procedures for design of buildings subjected to lateral loads are provided in national and international model building codes. Additional lateral load design provisions can be found in national and international material design standards. The seismic and wind design provisions for engineered wood structures in Canada need to be enhanced to be compatible with those available for other materials such as steel and concrete. Such design provisions are of vital importance for ensuring a competitive position of timber structures relative to reinforced concrete and steel structures.
In this project a new design Section on Lateral Load Resisting Systems was drafted and prepared for future implementation in CSA O86, the Canadian Standard for Engineering Design in Wood. The new Section was prepared based on gathering existing research information on the behaviour of various structural systems used in engineered wood construction around the world as well as developing in-house research information by conducting experimental tests and analytical studies on structural systems subjected to lateral loads. This section for the first time tried to link the system behaviour to that of the connections in the system. Although the developed Section could not have been implemented in CSA O86 in its entirety during the latest code cycle that ended in 2008, the information it contains will form the foundation for future development of technical polls for implementation in the upcoming editions of CSA O86.
Some parts of the developed Section were implemented in the 2009 edition of CSA O86 as five separate technical polls. The most important technical poll was the one on Special Seismic Design Considerations for Shearwalls and Diaphragms. This technical poll for the first time in North America includes partial capacity design procedures for wood buildings, and represents a significant step forward towards implementing full capacity-based seismic design procedures for wood structures. Implementation of these design procedures also eliminated most of the confusion and hurdles related to the design of wood-based diaphragms according to 2005 National Building Code of Canada. In other polls, the limit for use of unblocked shearwalls in CSA O86 was raised to 4.8 m, and based on the test results conducted during the project, the NLGA SPS3 fingerjoined studs were allowed to be used as substitutes for regular dimension lumber studs in shearwall applications in engineered buildings in Canada.
With the US being the largest export market for the Canadian forest products industry, participation at code development committees in the field of structural and wood engineering in the US is of paramount importance. As a result of extensive activities during this project, for the first time one of the AF&PA Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic includes design values for unblocked shearwalls that were implemented based on FPInnovations’ research results. In addition, the project leader was involved in various aspects related to the NEESWood project in the US, in part of which a full scale six-storey wood-frame building will be tested at the E-Defense shake table in Miki, Japan in July 2009. Apart from being built from lumber and glued-laminated timber provided from Canada, the building will also feature the innovative Midply wood wall system that was also invented in Canada. The tests are expected to provide further technical evidence for increasing the height limits for platform frame construction in North America.
Building construction - Design
Earthquakes, Effect on building construction
Glued joints - Finger
Grading - Lumber
Preliminary simulation was carried out using hygIRC and WUFI, both 1-D hygrothermal models, to analyze moisture performance of rainscreened wood-frame walls and cross-laminated timber (CLT) walls for the climates in Vancouver and Calgary. The major results are as follows.
In order to provide baseline knowledge, preliminary comparisons between hygIRC and WUFI were conducted to investigate the effects of climate data, wall orientations and rain intrusion on the performance of the rainscreened wood-frame walls based on Vancouver’s climate. hygIRC tended to produce almost constant moisture content (MC) of the plywood sheathing throughout a year but WUFI showed greater variations, particularly when the ventilation of the rainscreen cavity was neglected. Rainscreen cavity ventilation provided dramatic drying potentials for wall assemblies based on the WUFI simulation. hygIRC indicated that east-facing walls had the highest moisture load, but the differences between orientations seemed negligible in WUFI when the rainscreen cavity ventilation was taken into account. When 1% of wind-driven rain was simulated as an additional moisture load, hygIRC suggested that the rainscreen walls could not dry out in Vancouver, WUFI, however, indicated that they could dry to a safe MC level in the summer.
The discrepancies in material property data between the two models and between different databases in WUFI (even for the same wood species) were found to be very large. In terms of wood sorption data, large differences existed at near-saturated RH levels. This is a result of using pressure-plate/membrane methods for measuring material equilibrium moisture content (EMC) under high RH conditions. The EMC of wood at near-100% RH conditions measured with these methods can be higher than 200%, suggesting wood in construction would decay without liquid water intrusion or severe vapour condensation. The pressure-plate/membrane methods also appeared to be highly species-dependent, and have higher EMC at a certain RH level for less permeable species, from which it is relatively difficult to remove water during the measurement. The hygrothermal simulation in this work suggested that such a species bias caused by testing methods could put impermeable species (most Canadian species) at a disadvantage to permeable species like southern pine during related durability design of building assemblies.
In terms of using CLT for construction in Vancouver and Calgary, the WUFI simulations suggested that the use of less permeable materials such as EPS (expanded polystyrene insulation), XPS (extruded polystyrene insulation), self-adhered bituminous membrane and polyethylene in wall assemblies reduced the ability of the walls to dry. On the other hand, permeable assemblies such as those using relatively permeable insulation like semi-rigid mineral wool (rock wool) as exterior insulation, instead of less permeable exterior insulation materials, would help walls dry. The simulation also suggested that using CLT products with initially low MC would significantly reduce moisture-related risks, which indicated the importance of protecting CLT and avoiding wetting during transportation and construction.
In addition, the simulation found that indoor relative humidity (RH) conditions generated by the indoor RH prediction models included in hygIRC and WUFI varied greatly under the same basic climate and building conditions. The intermediate method specified in ASHRAE Standard 160 P resulted in long periods of saturated RH conditions throughout a year for the Vancouver climate, which may not be representative of ordinary residential buildings in Vancouver.
The simulation in this study is preliminary and exploratory. It would be arbitrary to recommend one model over the other based on this report or use the simulation results directly for CLT wall assembly design without consultation with building science specialists. However, this work revealed more opportunities for close collaborations between the wood science and the building science communities. More work should be carried out to develop appropriate testing methods and assemble material property data for hygrothermal simulation of wood-based building assemblies. Model improvement and field verification are also strongly recommended, particularly for new building systems such as CLT constructions.