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.
April 3-5, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is widely perceived as the most promising option for building high-rise wood structures due to its structural robustness and good fire resistance. While gravity load design of a tall CLT building is relatively easy to address because all CLT walls can be utilized as bearing walls, design for significant lateral loads (earthquake and wind) can be challenging due to the lack of ductility in current CLT construction methods that utilize wall panels with low aspect ratios (height to length). Keeping the wall panels at high aspect ratios can provide a more ductile response, but it will inevitably increase the material and labor costs associated with the structure. In this study, a solution to this dilemma is proposed by introducing damping and elastic restoring devices in a multi-story CLT building to achieve ductile response, while keeping the integrity of low aspect ratio walls to reduce the cost of construction and improve fire resistance. The design methodology for incorporating the response modification devices is proposed and the performance of the as-designed structure under seismic is evaluated.