Limited empirical and qualitative studies focus on the detailed processes and obstacles for coordinating off-site prefabrication between builders and suppliers. This research aims to identify and address the obstacles that currently prevent the further expansion of off-site prefabrication, with a research scope on timber and mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) services in construction projects. The focal point of this research is to highlight their obstacles. A total of forty interviews were conducted and analyzed from four builders’ organizations and four suppliers’ organizations to ascertain their obstacles in coordinating the practice of off-site prefabrication. The results found the builder’s obstacles were sustainability, quality assurance (QA), mass production, CAD/BIM, technological support, commercial arrangements, system building, buffering in supply, schedule monitoring, productivity, flexibility, engagement, risks, and multiple supply arrangements. The supplier’s obstacles were design, financing and subcontracting, coordination, recognized practices, risks, multiple supply arrangements, and constraints. Moreover, the builders and suppliers had identified some ways to harmonize off-site prefabrication of timber. Some examples of timber prefabrication technology include joinery, doors and/or windows, structural floor/wall/roof frames, partitions, trusses, stairs, balustrades, and others. MEP services with in situ construction comprise the use of power sources and working coordination. The most important outcome of this investigation is that these obstacles can be addressed through collaboration and coordination. This is because there is a traditionally a lack of collaboration amongst builders and their suppliers. Furthermore, there is a lack of coordination between them in general. The research contributes to the improved timber and MEP services collaboration and coordination in off-site prefabrication, which can be referred to by other approaches of modular construction.
Timber slabs design is currently limited to grid layouts derived from prefabricated rectangular panels. The lack of adaptability of timber slabs to accommodate multiple span directions makes it difficult to compete with reinforced concrete slabs constructed on site. This paper describes an adaptive slab system composed of thin Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels and robot-fabricated beam networks for reinforcement. The beam network was developed through intricate negotiation of structural optimization and fabrication constraints, which can adapt to changes in slab span and directions. A mobile robot platform that allows for on-site assembly of timber sticks into continuous beam networks was developed. The robot platform and slab system were tested with a case study pavilion. The co-design of the robot platform and the slab system fills the gap in on-site robotic timber construction and expands the design freedom of timber buildings.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels are increasingly used in mid-rise buildings or even taller structures in North America. However, prolonged exposure to moisture during construction and in service is a durability concern for most wood products including CLT. To investigate practical solutions for reducing on-site wetting of mass timber construction, CLT specimens with a range of moisture protection measures, in six groups were tested in the backyard of FPInnovations’ Vancouver laboratory from Oct. 2017 to Jan. 2018. This study investigates the wetting and drying behaviours of the tested CLT specimens through 2-D hygrothermal simulations. The simulations are performed for base specimens (no protection measures) of group 1 (without joint or plywood spline) and group 2 (with a butt joint and plywood spline). For group 1, three data sources of material properties are used to create the models, and the data that led to the best agreement between simulations and measurement are used for creating the models of group 2. For group 2, two types of hygrothermal models are created with or without considering the differences in water absorption between the transverse and the longitudinal grain orientations. In addition, rain penetration is taken into account for the joint area. It is found that the model with considering the differences between transverse and longitudinal grain orientations shows a better agreement than that without considering such differences.
The aim of this project was to quantitatively measure the onsite installation productivity of Cross Laminated Timber in multi-storey building projects. Specifically, the work aims to improve an evidence-based understanding of expectations concerning:
1. The speed and productivity of CLT installation.
2. Assumptions when planning CLT processes onsite.
3. Benchmarks to facilitate comparisons between CLT and other forms of construction.
4. Guidance about process improvement on-site.
Multi-storey CLT buildings are relatively new to Australia and so an in-depth case study of a specific building project was the chosen method of undertaking the research. Time-lapse photography was used to gather site assembly information and the resulting footage was converted into quantitative data including the number of worker hours and crane hours used in installing the wall and floor panel areas involved. Statistical analysis was used to derive productivity rates (m2/hour), floor cycle times and other related findings, concerning the installation of CLT.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is becoming increasingly adopted into North American construction, yet little is known about the impacts of environmental exposure (e.g., to rain during construction) on its long-term performance. The lack of protocols for on-site moisture protection in North America makes it a pressing matter to determine general moisture responses of this material in order to establish a behavioral baseline for practitioners and future researchers.
A CLT floor panel sample was exposed to cycles of wetting and drying in an environmental chamber. During these cycles, physical and geometrical properties of the panel were monitored. Testing results indicate that discontinuities in the layup CLT affects the hygroscopic behavior of the product. While the panel showed high dimensional stability, it also exhibited checking, cupping, and interfacial shearing after cycling. Bending test results before and after cycling indicated a reduction of the structural capacity due to the weathering.
Practical solutions are needed for on-site moisture management of mass timber construction. Six groups of cross-laminated timber (CLT) specimens, together with reference specimens including plywood, OSB, and nail-laminated timber were assessed for their wetting and drying behaviour. The focus of this study was to assess the effectiveness of water repellents and membranes installed on CLT in preventing the wetting that can be caused by, for example, rain during outdoor exposure, installation of wet concrete topping, or sitting on a damp concrete slab. Seven water repellent products covering a range of formulations and three membranes including a self-adhered vapour-permeable membrane, a self-adhered vapour-impermeable membrane, and a lumber wrap were assessed as potential temporary moisture protection measures. Implications for moisture protection practices based on the test were summarized at the end of this report.