Project contact is Cristiano Loss at the University of British Columbia
This research aims at developing novel multi-material deconstructable hybrid connections for mass timber prefabricated buildings. Connections will be conceived in order to (i) meet multi-objective structural performance, (ii) favour modular construction, (iii) favour quick erection of buildings, (iv) quick disassemble and possible reuse of the timber members, and (v) provide seismic-resistant structural assemblies.
Timber has been used for building construction for centuries, until the industrial revolution, when it was often replaced by steel and concrete or confined to low-rise housings. In the last thirty years however, thanks to the development of mass timber products and new global interest in sustainability, timber has begun to make a resurgence in the building industry. As building codes and public perception continues to change, the demand for taller and higher-performance timber buildings will only grow. Thus, a need exists for new construction technology appropriate for taller mass timber construction, as well as for fabrication and deconstruction practices that respect wood’s inherent sustainable nature. With this in mind, this research program aims to develop a new hybrid shear connection for mass timber buildings that allows for easy construction, deconstruction, and reuse of the structural elements.
This report includes results of Phase 1, which focused on connections consisting of partially threaded 20M and 24M steel rods bonded into pockets formed in CLT and surrounded by thick crowns of high-strength three-component epoxy-based grout. A total of 168 specimens were designed and fabricated, and push-out shear tests carried out with a displacement-controlled monotonic loading protocol. Strength and stiffness values were assessed and effective failure modes in specimens identified. These latter, along with the recorded load-deformation curves, indicate that it is possible to develop mechanics-based design models and design formulas akin to those already used for typical dowel-type fastener timber connections. Additionally, the specimens were easily fabricated in the lab and quickly fastened to the test jig by means of nuts and washers, suggested such connections have a strong potential for prefabrication, disassembly, and reuse.
Project contact is Lech Muszynski at Oregon State University
The aim of this project is to remove this vulnerability by thoughtful conceptualization of basic strategies for optimizing the design of mass timber buildings for successful post-use material recovery/reuse and end-of-life climate benefit. Research questions will include:
1. Is demolition of decommissioned mass timber buildings a viable end-of-life option at all?
2. Can deconstruction be conducted by following construction steps in reverse order?
3.What may be the extent of damage inflicted to the connection nests, connected edges and surfaces of MTP elements during a deconstruction?
4.Can original connection nests be safely reused in structures re-using deconstructed MTP elements?
5.What is the impact of techniques and technologies selected at the design, production, and construction stages on the EOL options and carbon cost of deconstruction,
6. What is the carbon impact of deconstruction on reuse or recycling of MTP elements?
7. Do the existing deconstruction companies in the Pacific northwest have capacity to process mass timber panels that could not be reused?
8. What is the carbon costs of transportation and repurposing/recycling of MTP elements for non-structural uses?
The study investigates the environmental benefits of reusing Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of a single-stored Coffee shop built in 2016 in Kobe city was calculated, considering different CLT reuse ratios, forest land-use and material substitution possibilities. The results showed that as the rate of reused CLT panel increases the total GWP decreases. Moreover, in all cases, the option with smallest GWP is when the surplus wood is used for carbon storage in the forest, revealing the importance of a growing forest for increasing the environmental benefits of timber utilisation. The results suggest the systematic reuse of CLT panels offers a possibility to increase the carbon stock of Japanese Cedar plantation forests and further mitigate the environmental impact of construction.
Mass timber products such as cross-laminated timber have increased in popularity in the past decades. Their relative novelty, however, means that there is little actual experience of what happens to the products at end of life. Despite promoting the use of natural capital, biotic materials are not often covered in discussions on construction in the circular economy. Equally, it is unclear what model is most appropriate for construction to incorporate circular thinking. Different actions for circularity are reviewed against sustainable construction ambitions, and a simple model with basic circular actions is proposed as a means to review mass timber construction. Suggestions for how to adapt mass timber systems to include circular methods are presented, including design for combined manufacture and assembly and disassembly, the identification of future markets, improving the durability of timber buildings and acknowledging the wider system value of forestry.