This paper presents an investigation of possible disproportionate collapse for a nine-storey flat-plate timber building, designed for gravity and lateral loads. The alternate load-path analysis method is used to understand the structural response under various removal speeds. The loss of the corner and penultimate ground floor columns are the two cases selected to investigate the contribution of the cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and their connections, towards disproportionate collapse prevention. The results show that the proposed building is safe for both cases, if the structural elements are removed at a speed slower than 1 sec. Disproportionate collapse is observed for sudden element loss, as quicker removal speed require higher moments resistance, especially at the longitudinal and transverse CLT floor-to-floor connections. The investigation also emphasises the need for strong and stiff column-to-column structural detailing as the magnitude of the vertical downward forces, at the location of the removed columns, increases for quicker removal.
Model building codes in the United States limit timber construction to six stories, due to concerns over fire safety and structural performance. With new timber technologies, tall timber buildings are now being planned for construction. The process for building approval for a building constructed above the code height limits with a timber load-bearing structure, is by an alternative engineering means. Engineering solutions are required to be developed to document and prove equivalent performance to a code compliant structure, where approval is based on substantive consultation and documentation. Architects in the US are also pushing the boundaries and requesting load-bearing timber be exposed and not fully encapsulated in fire rated gypsum drywall. This provides an opportunity for the application of recent fire research on exposed timber to be applied, and existing methods of analyzing the impact of fire on engineered timber structures to be developed further. This paper provides an overview of the performance based fire safety engineering required for building approval and also describes the engineering methodologies that can be utilized to address specific exposed load-bearing timber issues; concealed connections for glulam beams; and the methodology to address areas of exposed timber.