The Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, British Columbia, with 6 tall storeys and a total height of 29.5 m, provided a unique opportunity for non-destructive testing and monitoring to measure the ‘As Built’ performance of a relatively tall mass timber building. The mass timber structural system consists of glulam columns and beams with cross laminated timber (CLT) floor plates and shear walls. Vertical movement of selected glulam columns and CLT walls and the moisture content of the innovative mass timber roof were monitored as these components are unique to mass timber buildings. Indoor temperature and relative humidity conditions were also measured. The mass timber CLT and glulam elements are susceptible to longer-term differential movement as they slowly dry after manufacturing and construction. The paper describes instrumentation and discusses the measurement results for two years following the topping out of the structure.
The monitoring indicated that the wood inside the building could reach a moisture content (MC) close to 4% in the winter in this cold climate, from an initial MC of around 13% during construction. Glulam columns were dimensionally stable in the longitudinal direction given the MC changes and loading conditions. With a height of over 5 m and 6 m, respectively, two glulam columns directly measured by sensors each showed vertical movement below 3 mm (i.e., 0.04%). The cumulative shortening of the six glulam columns along the height of the columns (24.5 m) is expected to be approximately 11 mm. This did not take into consideration any potential settlement or deformation at connections between glulam columns, or effects of reduced loads on the top two unoccupied floors. The CLT wall panels were also dimensionally stable along the height of the building, with cumulative vertical shrinkage of about 19 mm (i.e., 0.07%) from Level 1 to Level 6. In contrast, the 5-ply CLT floor slabs made up of wood in radial and tangential grain shrank in thickness by about 5 mm (3.0%) on average. With regards to the performance of the mass timber roof, the CLT roof panels started out dry and remained dry due to the robust assembly design and the dry indoor conditions. In one area the plywood roof sheathing was initially wetted by the application of a concrete topping below a piece of mechanical equipment, it was able to dry to the interior within a few months. Overall the monitoring study showed that the differential movement occurring among the glulam columns and the CLT wall was small and the mass timber roof design had good drying performance.