Specifier Review
Structural Timber – the solution to the sustainable housing demand

Structural Timber – the solution to the sustainable housing demand

Structural Timber the solution to the sustainble housing demand

With the government’s commitment to the lowering of CO₂ emissions in construction, together with numerous announcements that all new homes will be zero carbon rated by 2020, thermal insulation and lower air leakage requirements will increase dramatically.

There are now two targets to meet for houses – as well as the Target Emission Rate (TER) at 6% reduction in CO₂ for residential and 9% for commercial, dwellings also needs to meet a Target Fabric Energy Efficiency (TFEE) measured in kWh/m2/year.

For architects and specifiers this improvement is attainable by adopting the tried and tested ‘fabric first’ principles, especially when the structural timber provider is integrated early enough in the project process to allow efficient and effective design.

But how do professionals ensure design translates to the ‘as built’ performance?

Selecting the appropriate structural timber system to deliver thecorrect performance specification within budget is no mean feat and with so many new engineered timber systems coming to market, keeping abreast of industry innovations can be time consuming.

Timber Frame and panel solutions have vastly improved since the original ‘stick built’ frames and now single and twin closed frame panel systems are widely manufactured, with more sophisticated systems coming to market using factory fitted windows and cladding solutions. The complete panel is manufactured to exacting standards thereby eliminating the margin for error in the onsite assembly process – ensuring airtightness and the delivery of U-values as low as 0.09 to 0.14 W/m2K using a standard 270mm deep panel.

Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS ) are an advanced method of construction, offering superior insulation, structural strength and airtightness. SIP systems are used in floors, walls and roofs and have been developed around composite (or sandwich) panel techniques, creating a product with excellent structural and thermal characteristics.

SIPS consist of two parallel faces – usually Oriented Strand Board, sandwiching a rigid core of Polyurethane (PU) foam or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), making them lightweight, quick to erect and free from problems of compression shrinkage and cold bridging. SIPS deliver U-values as low as 0.08 to 0.14 W/m2K using standard panels ranging from 100m to 200mm deep.

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) – an engineered timber panel more commonly used in larger commercial construction and is particularly favoured for educational, leisure and retail buildings. CLT is a structural two-way spanning timber panel that can be used to form walls, roof and floor panels as well as shear walls. It is produced by laminating and finger jointing soft wood timber lamellas at 90° to the layer below, this can encompass between 3 and 27 layers.

CLT is extremely stable, making it optimum solution for medium rise housing, as it has little shrinkage or movement post construction. It has proven multi-storey capability, up to 9 floors in the UK and a structural capacity beyond this. Typical walls for 5-6 storey construction are often in the region of 100-140mm thick. The benefits in construction are numerous – from reduced loading on foundations and infrastructure services, to impressive thermal, acoustic and airtightness performance over more traditional materials.

All of these structural timber systems, as offsite construction solutions, offer speed of build, strength as a core structural component and importantly sustainability – having the ability to meet and even exceed Building Regulations and if the brief demands, in some cases deliver Passiv Standards.

The choice of structural systems and the variations within the manufacturer’s portfolios are vast – requiring a focused approach to keep up with the latest innovations. Timber Expo, as the UK’s only national timber event, caters for all those working within in the construction sector and appeals to anyone looking to work with the world’s leading low carbon, sustainable and renewable building material. All of the systems outlined above will be on display at Timber Expo and many will be explored in detail via the embedded Timber Focus seminar programme – all of which is free to visitors attending the event.

Timber Expo takes place on 7 & 8 October at the NEC, Birmingham. Visiting architects, engineers, contractors, local authorities, house-builders and specifiers to the event will be able to see the full range of timber technologies and wood products available on the global market, and the widest display of new and innovative applications for timber within the built environment.

Structural Timber the solution to the sustainable housing demands

Register free today www.timber-expo.co.uk/book

To exhibit and gain exposure to a focused audience and take part in the Timber Expo Buyers and Specifiers Forum – open to exhibitors only, visit:

www.timber-expo.co.uk/exhibit-or-sponsor/exhibitor-packages or email loretta.sales@timber-expo.co.uk


Timber Expo caters for all those working within in the timber sector and appeals to anyone looking to work with the world’s leading low carbon, sustainable and renewable building material. It is a two day event featuring the latest products, innovations and developments – not just from the UK but from an increasingly exciting and diverse international market.

Delivered by BM TRADA, Timber Expo is the only event on the UK construction calendar dedicated exclusively to timber, its associated technologies and its many applications. Now in its fourth year, Timber Expo has become the main annual meeting place for timber professionals and through an unrivalled exhibition, conference and seminar programme, demonstrates how timber delivers a stronger, more attractive and sustainable built environment.

Timber Expo gathers together the sector’s most influential organisations, individuals, commentators and business leaders in one spot. The event also includes the in depth Timber Focus conference, Toolbox Talks seminar sessions and the highly successful Timber and Specifiers Buyers Forum – a relaxed and focused way to connect with new business contacts within the built environment sector, including; designers, engineers, contractors and major clients.

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