This project identifies drivers for, and barriers to, the increased use of prefabricated timber building (PTB) systems in Class 2 to 9 commercial buildings, such as apartments, hotels, office buildings and schools.
PTB systems in Australia are in a formative stage and yet to achieve broad acceptance in the marketplace as a conventional method of building.
Opportunities for PTB systems can use timber’s well-established benefits such as high strength-to-weight ratio; design and construction flexibility; general environmental credentials including carbon sequestration; and prefabrication’s suitability for use on brown-field, restricted access and difficult sites and developments. In addition legislative constraints have now been largely removed (e.g. through changes to the 2016 National Construction Code).
An increase in large scale mid-rise prefabricated buildings, and with the increasing nationalisation and internationalisation of the top tier building companies, suggests market acceptance will grow as PTB buildings are seen as ‘normal’.
During the last few years, the merging of timber building tradition with the application of new
technologies has produced new prefabricated building systems in Europe and North America. Mid-rise buildings present a unique opportunity to apply new timber technologies. Chile has shown sustained growth of buildings construction during the past decades but little further
development in the use of wood. To establish the feasibility of timber systems applied to the Chilean context this research considered social aspects, technical aspects and local standards related to the manufacture and construction using timber components. A project proposal is used to analyze the architectural applications of timber systems according to the Chilean context. The design considers the case of densification in the city of Santiago and investigates the possibility of developing mid-rise structures using the structural properties and features of timber systems. So far only two systems applied to mid-rise structures have been tested for seismic resistance on full scale prototypes: Midply and Cross Laminated Timber.
European experience shows that Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) can be competitive in mid-rise and high-rise buildings. Although this system has not been used to the same extent so far in North America, it can be viable wood structural solution for the shift towards sustainable densification of urban and suburban centers. For these reasons FPInnovations has undertaken a multi-disciplinary project on determining the performance of a typical CLT construction, including quantifying the seismic resistance and force modification factors for CLT buildings in Canada and the US.
In this report, a performance-based seismic design (PBSD) of a CLT building was conducted and the seismic response of the CLT building was compared to that of a wood-frame structure tested during the NEESWood project. A suitable force modification factors (R-factors) for CLT mid-rise buildings with different fasteners were recommended for seismic design in Canada and the US. The six-storey NEESWood Capstone building was redesigned as a CLT building using the PBSD procedure developed during the NEESWood project. The results from the quasi-static tests on CLT walls performed at FPInnovations were used as input information for modeling of the main load resisting elements of the structure, the CLT walls. Once the satisfactory design of the CLT mid-rise structure was established through PBSD, a force-based design was developed with varying R-factors and that design was compared to the PBSD result. In this way, suitable R-factors were calibrated so that they can yield equivalent seismic performance of the CLT building when designed using the traditional force-based design methods.
Based on the results of this study it is recommended that a value of Rd=2.5 and Ro=1.5 can be assigned for structures with symmetrical floor plans according to NBCC. In the US an R=4.5 can be used for symmetrical CLT structures designed according to ASCE7. These values can be assigned provided that the design values for CLT walls considered (and implemented in the material design standards) are similar to the values determined in this study using the kinematics model developed that includes the influence of the hold-downs in the CLT wall resistance. Design of the CLT building with those R-factors using the equivalent static procedures in the US and Canada will result in the CLT building having similar seismic performance to that of the tested wood-frame NEESWood building, which had only minor non-structural damage during a rare earthquake event.
At present in Chile it is not possible to construct buildings higher than 3 storeys using timber as structural material. This difficulty is due to high demands of regulations, in addition to cultural reasons, even though there are buildings in timber with more than 5 storeys built in 1910...
Recent changes to the National Building Code of Canada (NBC), and a trend towards more diversified housing options, have meant that many Canadian jurisdictions are acting quickly to capture the environmental, economic and social benefits of higher wood buildings. The 2015 NBC now permits wood frame construction to be 6 storeys high. Today, already 75% of Canadians live in jurisdictions that allow 6 storey wood frame construction. With the overall benefits of using wood as a building material well documented, Atlantic WoodWORKS!
studied the opportunities for 6 storey wood construction in Atlantic Canadian Centres. The research included a comprehensive market study and projections for mid-rise demand in
four major centres in Atlantic Canada, a review of recent and upcoming planning changes in major Atlantic Canadian cities and a full cost analysis, comparing wood construction to three
other construction methods in use in the Atlantic market using a real-life wood mid-rise structure built by an experienced builder.